Ranching & Research: The Corona Range Livestock & Research Center
This past summer, our video crew toured New Mexico State University’s Corona Range and Livestock Research Center (CRLRC), also known as the Corona Ranch.
The ranch is located east of Corona, New Mexico and it covers 27,866 acres of rangeland. It is approximately 190 miles from NMSU’s main campus in Las Cruces, and is a working ranch, an extension of the Animal & Range Sciences classroom, and an expansion of the research conducted with livestock on the main campus at the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (College of ACES).
Fellow video producer, Tomilee Turner, and I spent two days traversing the various landscapes of the ranch with the assistance of Corona Ranch Superintendent Shad Cox, who has managed the ranch for more than twenty years.
During our visit we witnessed firsthand the goings on at this unique, academic working ranch, and learned about operations, enterprises, research, and outreach being conducted. We documented the daily routine of ranch manager Richard Dunlap. Part of his responsibility is to manage the livestock on the range and have them ready and available for research being conducted by NMSU faculty and students. He also repairs wells, fences, machinery and keeps the ranch operational year-round. We also videotaped a variety of livestock raised on the ranch and learned about the different types of wildlife that live on the property.
We interviewed several individuals on camera for this story, two of whom reside at the Corona Ranch, Dunlap and Superintendent Shad Cox.
One of the details shared by Cox is the financial structure and funding process of the Corona Ranch. For the most part, the ranch is self-sustaining with a two-man payroll supported by the university and some financial support garnered from the state legislature. We learned that most of the ranch’s operational budget is funded through a variety of ranch enterprises.
The heart of the Ranching and Research video is research. For this part of the story, we included statements from Cox, along with Dr. Leslie Edgar, who is the Associate Dean & Director of Research at the College of ACES. Some of the most interesting details expressed in the interviews involve the vast research opportunities at the college’s main campus facilities and those at the Corona Ranch. Students and faculty can apply their research to livestock living in a dry-lot environment on campus, as well as to livestock living in an open range at the Corona Ranch. This is one of the reasons that students seek out NMSU for their research and education.
To illustrate the student experience, we interviewed College of ACES graduate student Emily Melchior, who is currently working on her PhD and conducting research on campus and at the Corona Ranch. In her interview, she describes her research and her journey to NMSU, and why she is pursuing her doctorate at the College of ACES.
While visiting the Corona Ranch we also learned about a new research initiative called the Carbon Management and Soil Health Initiative being conducted at four of NMSU’s agricultural science centers, including the Corona Ranch. Dr. Lara Prihodko, Interim Associate Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station, shared that NMSU scientists and researchers are trying to understand how to sustainably manage the agricultural landscapes in four different areas: urban land, forest land, cropland, and rangeland, and improve the storage of carbon within those landscapes. Rangeland studies will be conducted at Corona Ranch. Agricultural science centers in Clovis, Mora, and Los Lunas are conducting studies on the other three landscapes.
We also had the pleasure of interviewing Rolando A. Flores, Dean and CAO of the College of ACES, who gave us insight on the College of ACES approach to economic and community development in the State of New Mexico in the 21st century.
For more information about the Corona Range and Livestock Research Center visit: corona.nmsu.edu.
The Corona Ranch and Livestock Research Center video series can be found here:
Corona Range and Livestock Research Center: The Nexus of Agriculture and Energy
Corona Range and Livestock Research Center: Ranching and Research
Corona Range and Livestock Research Center: Beyond Field Days
Written by: Art Ruiloba, Video Production Specialist