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CCRI has been around since 1987, when it began as an organization of farmers in northeast Texas, supported by some industry funding. Long-term cooperation between CCRI and A&M-Commerce benefits all involved — growers, the university, and the region.
“We want to be part of the agriculture research effort,” Jones said. He added that the collaboration between Commerce, College Station, CCRI and industry would create a formidable research organization.
“No single agency or institution can accomplish this by itself. We want to partner with creative people with innovative ideas and creative ways of looking at problems. When we match those people with other people with equally interesting ideas, that’s when sparks fly.”
“We see it as a good opportunity to partner,” Scholz added. He said CCRI would like to obtain a 150- to 200-acre farm within 15 minutes of the Commerce campus. They believe four or five pieces of property that fit those parameters may be available.
The University currently has some land available near campus, but Scholz said it is not suitable for crops research. “The soil type is not appropriate. We want class 1 land.”
He said the A&M-Commerce agriculture college alumni “want the farm to be part of the University.”
Jones agrees. “This will help us expand our agriculture program. We already have a fine College of Agriculture but we want it to grow.”
He also said the university can help with some of the expense of operating a research facility. “We can help keep overhead costs down by using existing resources.”
Scholz hopes to see a new research farm within two years. “After we meet at College Station, we hope to see things start taking shape. We still have a lot of work to do and a lot of agreements to consider on cost shares, etc.”
They hope agriculture will be part of the university’s growth pattern, which set a new record for enrollment this fall.
“We had 10,912 students registered for the fall semester,” Jones said. He allowed that not all those would show up, but estimates final fall enrollment will be between 10,300 and 10,400.
“This is the first time in history we’ve broken 10,000 in enrollment.”