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AgriLife agencies include A&M to align with statewide system

Texas Business reports: COLLEGE STATION – Four state agricultural agencies — three of which have served Texans for about 100 years — are adding A&M to their names to reflect their connection to the system that includes Texas A&M University.

The new names — Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M Forest Service and Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory — are among seven agencies that will change as of Sept. 1, following a vote Friday by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents.

The changes were recommended by Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp, who believed that the previous names of the agencies did not adequately benefit the statewide organization.

“There is no better set of agriculture and life sciences agencies in America, and I am confident the shared equity presented through a direct association with Texas A&M will only enhance the already strong AgriLife brand. My goal is to enhance total brand equity and value,” Sharp said.

According to the resolution adopted by the regents, “This lack of identification with the A&M System has the potential to cause confusion and to hinder A&M System and agency efforts to effectively communicate to constituents and stakeholders the mission, accomplishments and public benefit of individual agencies and how these correspond with the other A&M System agencies.”

The other agency changes include Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service and Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

Mark Hussey, vice chancellor and dean of agriculture and life sciences at Texas A&M, oversees the agricultural agencies and said the change is a boost for the science and educational programs conducted by AgriLife Research and AgriLife Extension.

“Our clientele already know of the excellent research and educational efforts of our agencies,” Hussey said. “This more obvious alignment with the A&M System will project the collaborations and cooperative efforts throughout the state.”

AgriLife Research annually conducts more than $150 million in agriculture and life sciences research in such areas as improving food and fiber production, enhancing human and animal health, and conserving water, soils, wildlife and other natural resources.

Established in 1887, AgriLife Research has 425 scientists on the campus of Texas A&M University and at 13 centers throughout the state. Research throughout the agency’s history has brought many advances to the public including the Texas 1015 onion and the TAM Mild Jalapeno pepper, which yielded a U.S. salsa industry more accepted by the general public. The agency now is at the forefront in biofuel and pharmaceutical research in addition to traditional food and fiber production.

AgriLife Extension serves people in all 254 counties with objective, research-based education programs and services in agriculture and natural resources, 4-H and youth development, family and consumer sciences, and community economic development.

Established in 1915, AgriLife Extension has more than 900 professional educators who coordinate with some 90,000 volunteers to serve families, about 600,000 youth, communities and businesses throughout Texas.

The forest service was created in 1915  to “assume direction of all forest interests and all matters pertaining to forestry within the jurisdiction of the state.” The agency employs more than 375 employees in offices across the state and is instrumental as a lead agency in wildfire and emergency response.

An agency of the Texas A&M University System, the veterinary medical diagnostic lab was established in 1969 and is composed of two full-service laboratories, in College Station and Amarillo, and two poultry laboratories, in Center and Gonzales. The lab’s primary clients are Texas animal owners, veterinarians and state and federal agencies.