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Bottoms to lead New Mexico research centers

Rick Bottoms will serve as new superintendent of New Mexico State University's Leyendecker Plant Science Research Center and Fabian Garcia Research Center.

He brings to his new post almost decade of weed science, irrigation and agronomy experience at the University of Missouri and five years working as a weed scientist and range restoration expert at the University of Wyoming.

His plans include research on invasive weeds, reflective light and irrigation efficiency modeling. Located 8 miles southeast of Las Cruces, the Leyendecker center has more than 200 acres of varying soil types for research on plant breeding, disease control, insect and nematode control, herbicide effects and production management techniques.

The Fabian Garcia center, just west of NMSU's main campus, supports greenhouse, orchard and crop research. It also contains a botanical garden and turf demonstration plots, which are used to screen new plant materials and to teach classes on landscaping, ornamental design and maintenance.

“I hope to improve the focus of our research programs and adjust the logistical dynamics between the two research centers,” said Bottoms, who will also serve as an associate professor in NMSU's of agronomy and horticulture department and an adjunct appointment with the entomology, plant pathology and weed science department.

Bottoms said he looks forward to spending time getting acquainted with NMSU's diverse mix of agricultural programs.

Before joining NMSU earlier this month, Bottoms worked for more than nine years with the University of Missouri, where he served as agronomy specialist and director of operations at the school's Graves Farm Research Center. The 78-acre facility's research focused on corn, soybeans, forage and alternate crops.

Prior to that, he directed several ground-breaking agricultural Cooperative Extension Service outreach programs for Native Americans at the University of Wyoming, including providing the federal design model for funding Extension programs on reservations. In addition, Bottoms has worked as a college and high school agriculture instructor and FFA adviser.

Bottoms earned a bachelor's degree in animal science and a master's degree in agricultural education and mechanized agriculture from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. He received his doctorate in agronomy, physiology and crop ecology from the University of Missouri.

He is also is certified as a professional agronomist, weed scientist and crop advisor.

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