Message from the Dean - Fall/Winter 2014

William B. Payne, College of Ag, Biotech, and Natural Resources, Dean
William B. Payne, Dean of CABNR

With the Holiday Season upon us, it is time to reflect upon this past year and all of the things we have to celebrate and those things for which we are thankful. For more than 100 years, CABNR has been on the cutting edge of teaching, research and outreach education in Nevada.

We are grateful for this legacy and, despite some recent challenging times, celebrate the prospect of moving the college forward in its mission to foster healthy food systems through innovation and sustainable agricultural production. Sustainable agricultural production implies sound economics, respect for the environment, and conservation of natural resources, and it absolutely depends upon continuous new innovations in science and technology.

We can also be grateful for continued growth in the college. In the past year we have added eleven faculty positions, including four in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, three in Natural Resources and Environmental Science, and four in Agriculture, Nutrition, and Veterinary Sciences. In addition, we are currently recruiting four more faculty positions.

We are excited to welcome these new faculty to campus, where they will join the many existing excellent faculty within CABNR, who continue to excel in their fields and receive state, national and international recognition.

We can also be thankful for growth in the quality and numbers of students. With more than 1260 students, CABNR undergraduate enrollment is now the highest it has ever been. Several program majors are witnessing growth. Just one example is that the number of students majoring in Agricultural Science and Rangeland Ecology has nearly doubled in the past year. Although 1260 represents just 6% of total UNR enrollment, the quality of our students is much higher than average. CABNR is home to 25% of Nevada’s National Merit Scholars. And our biochemistry program, one of UNR’s most challenging majors, is now the third largest major on campus.

I personally am thankful for the upwelling of support for CABNR that has been shown recently. Many have stepped up to help us in our mission with donations of time, expertise, and gifts. These include those in the private sector, who have offered facilities for research and internship training; those in state and federal government, who have offered subject matter expertise and facilitated grants; and those in a position to donate, who have graciously offered scholarships, endowments, and funds to improve facilities.

One example of this is a generous gift from Bently Ranch, with which we can expand Wolf Pack Meats’ capacity to process livestock as well as implementing a Grandin Livestock Handling System design. Their generosity will also allow us to rebuild a program in meat science, and has been leveraged to recruit a new joint position in food safety between CABNR and Cooperative Extension.

Other examples include a new scholarship, the Bill Helming Agribusiness & Entrepreneurial Scholarship, and increased support of the Randall Scholarship for students in environmental sciences.

I have traveled these past few months around the state meeting alumni, friends and stakeholders. I have listened to a great deal of constructive criticisms, concerns, and advice, but also heard a great deal of appreciation, hope, and encouragement for the college. I will continue my “listening tour” in the months to come. In January, I plan on attending the Cattlemen’s Update to listen to our many stakeholders concerns and views regarding the college.

One message that I have tried to convey is that, as a land grant university and state experiment station, we have a state mission. Even in urban centers, our research and education expertise in such subjects as nutrition, horticulture, and biotechnology are highly relevant. Every child should know how nutritious food and safe water are produced and delivered. We should all be thankful for secure food and water supplies, and the science and education that make them possible.

Faculty and staff of CABNR join me in wishing you and your family and friends a very happy and safe holiday season.