September 30, 2005
survivability requires meeting the wants and needs of consumers,
said Dr. Elsa Murano,
vice chancellor and dean of agriculture and life sciences.
Murano said America is still as dependent on production
agriculture as it was back in the 19th century when the
land-grant university system was created through the Hatch Act.
"The relevance of agriculture has never diminished," Murano told
the crowd at the 100th anniversary celebration of the
Texas A&M System's Chillicothe
Research Station on Thursday. "Agriculture is life. There is no
life without agriculture."
The Texas Agricultural Experiment Station here is the birthplace
of hybrid grain sorghum, which increased the acreage and
production of sorghum in the nation and worldwide threefold.
Murano said researchers and specialists associated with the
land-grant university system have always worked to meet
producers' needs. They've helped improve many things, from
feeding methods for livestock to controlling crop diseases.
Future research, however, must keep the issues of the consumer
in mind, whether it is conservation, food safety or economics.
"We can no longer afford to produce without knowing what the
consumer wants," she said. "Production agriculture must be
An important characteristic of production agriculture is it is
technology-based, Murano said. And it's the new technologies
that "will allow us to give the consumer what they want."
"We are facilitators," she said. "We must focus on what is
important to our constituents. For that reason, we have
developed (teaching, science and extension) road maps."
The science road map focuses on sustaining healthy ecosystems
and conserving natural resources; enhancing competitiveness and
prosperity of urban and rural agricultural industries; and
improving public health and well-being.
The Extension road map strives to distribute the research-based
information at the community level where Texans can put the
knowledge to use in their daily lives.
The final part of the task ahead, Murano said, is to secure and
manage resources to allow the necessary research and education
to take place.
By Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M