UPDATE (10:00 a.m.)
Officials from Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Amarillo, along with West Texas A&M University, offered more details surrounding the move of the center to the Canyon campus of the university, after officials announced the move Wednesday morning.
According to a news release from the university, funding for the $30 million center was approved earlier this month by the Texas A&M University Board of Regents. Out of the total, $20 million will come from the system’s permanent university fund, established by the state of Texas, and $10 million from Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
Officials expect the new facility to be constructed to the northeast of the Charles W. “Doc” Graham ’53 DVM, The Texas A&M University System Center, the building which hosts the VERO program as well as the university’s veterinary medical diagnostic laboratory. The building is expected to open in early 2024 and is planned to be home to about 60 employees working for the two agencies.
“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 spot,” Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp said. “We’re bringing together some of the best minds in agriculture together in collaboration right here in Canyon. This will be a real game-changer for agribusiness in Texas.”
Officials hope that through this new facility in Canyon, the Texas AgriLife agencies can expand its research programs in beef cattle, small grains, environmental quality, natural resources, pest management, crop systems, and bioenergy.
“This center has been instrumental in making a positive impact on the success of ag producers, on the youth in the Panhandle, and in increasing the health of our public,” Rick Avery, the director of AgriLife Extension, said. “This center is the home for professional development for our AgriLife Extension county agents and other key educators and specialists to learn the latest technology, best practices and methods that improve the lives of Texans. Additionally, this center serves as the primary location for agriculture producers, county judges and commissioners, and industry leaders to interact with Extension personnel. Together, we are dedicated to creating solutions for a changing world, where agriculture and health are more important than ever.”
Officials also said that they hope to increase the synergy between the agencies and university students, because of its location on the West Texas A&M University campus. Brent Auvermann, the center director for the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center of Amarillo, said that around 40 students are being supervised by faculty through the agencies.
“We expect to have greater exposure to the graduate and undergraduate students that WT has, because we rely on them so heavily for our programs,” he said. “Our programs are built and sustained by external contracts and grants. We’ve built tremendous momentum bringing those resources to the Panhandle, and we want to leverage them to accelerate the development of WT’s research portfolio while we enrich the educational experiences of her students. That synergy happens best when we are across the wall, around the corner, or just down the sidewalk from one another. We want to build a true community of practice, and we need to be face-to-face to accomplish that.”
The goal for the facility is to be used for community outreach, extension education as well as conducting, cutting-edge research, officials said after Wednesday’s announcement.
“Moving the Texas A&M AgriLife Center to the WT campus completes the synergy that The Texas A&M University System provides for our region,” WTAMU President Walter Wendler said. “The new AgriLife Research and Extension Center building will create a one-stop-shop for teaching, research and service provided by WT and Texas A&M University. What The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents have created on this campus is unparalleled 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 of our institutions.”
CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center announced it will host a press conference at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday to discuss its move to West Texas A&M University’s Canyon campus.
According to AgriLife, the research center will move to the Veterinary Education, Research & Outreach Building located at 3201 Russell Long Blvd in Canyon.
Texas A&M AgriLife provided a list of individuals who are set to speak at the conference:
- John Sharp, Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System;
- Walter V. Wendler, President of West Texas A&M University;
- Dr. Cliff Lamb, Director of AgriLife Research;
- Dr. Rick Avery, Director of AgriLife Extension;
- Rep. John Smithee;
- Rep. Four Price;
- Texas-Senator-Elect Kevin Sparks.