The Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Amarillo will move to Canyon to complete an agricultural research, education, and outreach facility on the campus of West Texas A&M University.
Funding for the new $30 million center was approved May 19 by the Texas A&M University Board of Regents. Of that total, $20 million will come from the Permanent University Fund created by the state of Texas and $10 million from Texas A&M AgriLife Research and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
Chancellor John Sharp announced the decision during a May 25 press conference at Texas A&M Veterinary Education, Research and Outreach, VERO, on the WT campus. The new facility will be constructed east of the Charles W. “Doc” Graham ’53 DVM, The Texas A&M University System Center, which includes VERO and the Charles W. Graham DVM Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, TVMDL, building.
“We’re here today to announce something that only the Texas A&M University System could have accomplished. We’re bringing all of our resources together in one place,” Sharp said. collaboration right here in Canyon. It will be a real game-changer for agribusiness in Texas.”
Construction is expected to be completed in early 2024 at the northeast corner of the WT campus. The building will accommodate around sixty employees working for the AgriLife Research and AgriLife Extension agencies.
Maintain a strong Texas A&M AgriLife presence in the Panhandle
Texas A&M AgriLife has 13 centers across the state that house both AgriLife research and AgriLife extension staff who support districts and regions.
“Texas A&M AgriLife Research is headquartered in College Station, but we are a statewide institution of Texas, and our centers are imperative to ensuring that each region of the state conducts research in its unique environment. said Cliff Lamb. , Ph.D., director of AgriLife Research. “Here in the Panhandle, we look forward to expanding our research programs in beef cattle, small grains, environmental quality, natural resources, pest management, cropping systems and bioenergy. “
AgriLife Research has led the nation in six of the past eight years in agricultural research spending, with more than $223.5 million in fiscal year 2021, Lamb said.
“Much of this is dedicated to supporting Texas produce, reflecting our agency’s dedication to growers and ensuring a thriving industry across Texas,” he said.
Rick Avery, Ph.D., director of AgriLife Extension, said the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Amarillo has a long history of service and highlights the importance of AgriLife’s mission – to create solutions. to agriculture and natural resource issues by the state – cutting-edge research, then ensuring that the information is useful and extended to the great state of Texas.
“This center has been instrumental in positively impacting the success of agricultural producers, the youth of the Panhandle, and improving the health of our audience,” said Avery. “This center is the professional development location for our county AgriLife Extension agents and other key educators and specialists to learn the latest technologies, best practices and methods that are improving the lives of Texans.
“Additionally, this center serves as the primary location for agricultural producers, county judges and commissioners, and industry leaders to interact with AgriLife Extension staff. Together, we are committed to creating solutions for a changing world, where agriculture and health are more important than ever.
Complete the agricultural orientation of the university
WT President Walter V. Wendler said the move complements West Texas A&M University’s sincere focus on agricultural issues across the Texas Panhandle and beyond.
This new building on Russell Long Boulevard will be consolidated with the VERO building; the TVMDL building; and the WT Agricultural Science Complex, which contains the Happy State Bank Academic and Research Building, the Caviness Meat Science and Innovation Center, the Piehl-Schaeffer Pavilion, and the Bath Event Center.
“What the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents has created on this campus is unprecedented in regional higher education across the country,” Wendler said. “The opportunities made possible by this partnership will advance the research and outreach missions of all our institutions.”
The move further solidifies WT as a regional research university, the overarching goal of its long-term plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.
This plan is powered by One West’s historic $125 million global fundraising campaign. To date, the five-year campaign — which launched publicly on September 23 — has raised around $110 million.
Synergy for education, extension and research
Brent Auvermann, Ph.D., center director at the Amarillo facility, said AgriLife Research and AgriLife Extension will be strengthened by the synergy that relies on expertise, organization, programming, outreach and student participation due to the close proximity of both facilities and staff.
“We expect to have more exposure to graduate and undergraduate students than WT has because we rely on them so much for our programs,” he said, estimating that around 40 students are already supervised by the AgriLife Research and AgriLife Extension professors at all times.
Additionally, Auvermann said the co-location of AgriLife Research’s globally recognized program will help grow WT’s agricultural research portfolio.
“Our programs are built and supported by external contracts and grants,” he said. “We have created tremendous momentum by bringing these resources to the Panhandle, and we want to leverage them to accelerate the development of WT’s research portfolio while enriching the educational experiences of its students.
“That synergy happens best when we’re across the wall, around the corner, or just down the sidewalk from each other. We want to build a real community of practice, and we have to be face to face to achieve that.
Auvermann said putting all of these tightly-knit organizations next to each other strengthens the integration of Texas A&M AgriLife’s land-grant mission with WT’s education and research missions.
“This building will be the Texas A&M Embassy in the Texas Panhandle,” he said. “We want the new Texas A&M AgriLife Center in Canyon to be used for community outreach and outreach as well as cutting-edge research, just as our current facility is today,” he said.
In Amarillo, the Texas A&M AgriLife Center welcomes more than 3,500 people each year who complete nearly 11,000 education contact hours.
“We will continue to host events, raise awareness, and advance science and engineering in support of Panhandle agriculture. We will just do better,” Auvermann said.