AgriLife Extension hires new range specialist at San Angelo

Writer: Steve Byrns, 325-653-4576, s-byrns@tamu.edu
Contact: Dr. Morgan Russell, 325-653-4576, Morgan.Russell@ag.tamu.edu

SAN ANGELO – Dr. Morgan Russell has joined the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service as the new range specialist.

Dr. Morgan Russell has been hired as a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service range specialist. (Courtesy photo)

Dr. Morgan Russell has been hired as a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service range specialist. (Courtesy photo)

She is headquartered in the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center located north of San Angelo on U.S. Highway 87.

Russell, who began her job on Jan. 13, has responsibility for the leadership and coordination of AgriLife Extension’s range education component in 28 West Texas counties, said Dr. Robert Lyons, assistant department head with the Texas A&M University department of ecosystem science and management.

“We are very pleased Dr. Russell has joined us here in West Texas,” Lyons said. “She has the background, knowledge, enthusiasm and drive needed to successfully assist our county staffs in meeting the needs of their clientele.”

Lyons said the scope of her responsibilities will include providing technical expertise, training and teaching materials for AgriLife Extension agents, specialists, clientele and organizations for effective management of the rangeland resource.

“Native range makes up the bulk of the agricultural endeavors in most of the counties within the region Morgan serves in terms of total acreage,” Lyons said. “Proper range management in this area of the state is very vital, because a healthy range resource is paramount not only to successful livestock and wildlife management, but is also needed in maintaining viable aquifers and improving the healthy recharge zones needed to maintain those aquifers not only for agricultural purposes, but also for our state’s growing population.”

Russell, a native of Ruidoso, N.M., earned doctorate and master’s degrees in range science from North Dakota State University and New Mexico State University, respectively. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in animal science and agricultural communications from Utah State University.

Russell has a strong background in the prescribed burning of native rangelands, Lyons said. He said she also has considerable experience in working with livestock grazing animals and systems. Her areas of expertise have included behavioral studies, diet quality and selection, stocking rates, post-fire and drought grazing strategies and breed differences of desert-adapted cattle.

Russell’s professional activities include memberships in the Society for Range Management, International Association of Wildland Fire, Ecological Society of  America, American Society of Animal Science and the American Quarter Horse Association.

The counties Russell has primary responsibilities in are:

– West Central District: Tom Green, Irion, Concho, McCulloch, San Saba, Sterling, Coke, Runnels, Coleman, Brown, Nolan, Taylor, Callahan, Fisher, Jones and Shackleford.

– South Plains District: Crosby, Garza, Borden, Scurry and Mitchell.

– Rolling Plains District: Dickens, King, Knox, Kent, Stonewall and Haskell.

– Far West District: Howard.

Russell fills the position formerly held by Dr. Allan McGinty who retired in 2010.

For more information: contact Russell at 325-653-4576, Morgan.Russell@ag.tamu.edu .

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