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Schickedanz, Jerry

About | Abstract


The consultant discusses his thirty-one year career in the Cooperative Extension Service, his years as the Dean and Chief Administrative Officer of the College of Agriculture and Home Economics at New Mexico State University, and his involvement with the People For Preserving Our Western Heritage.

Interviewee Dr. Jerry Schickedanz, male, born in -0001
Date Range 1943-2013
Date & Location May 9, 2013, Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum
Project Rural Lifeways
Region Southwest New Mexico
Number of Tapes 4
Transcribed May 27, 2015


Tape 1, Side A

Initially Schickedanz wanted to become a rancher, but his father encouraged him to go to college first. He graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1966 with a degree in Wildlife Biology, but was unable to find work in his field of study. He and his father took a trip to New Mexico State University in Las Cruces to discuss continuing his education in range management. He was able to get a fellowship at the University of Arizona, received a Ph.D. in Range Management and began to work for the Cooperative Extension Service.

Schickedanz discusses his family history, including how his grandfather and his brothers came from Germany in the late 1870s, and finally settled in Oklahoma.

Tape 1, Side B

Although Schickedanz began his Cooperative Extension Service career in Arizona, he moved to Las Cruces in 1976 as the Extension Range Specialist. He describes the duties of the County Extension Agent, and briefly discusses Extension Service programs in other countries. He outlines his accomplishments in his thirty-one years with the Cooperative Extension Service.

There is a discussion regarding Federal Land Management and the Bureau of Land Management in regards to managing land use in the State of New Mexico.

Tape 2, Side A

The discussion of land use and management from the late 1930s when a committee of ranchers was set up to determine boundaries that were set according to water supplies. Those ranches with their own water supply were assigned better boundaries than those who did not have a water supply. In 1976 the Bureau of Land Management stepped in and began to manage boundary designations.

Schickedanz discusses his years at New Mexico State University, the creation of the Range Improvement Task Force, and the development of the Chile Task Force and Water Task Force. He states that the Range Improvement Task Force was a model for similar task forces in other areas of New Mexico as well as across the country.

NMSU Extension Service publications are briefly discussed. While at NMSU Schickedanz was tasked with the oversight of FFA funding for the rodeo coach. He was also involved in the establishment of equestrian sports in the NCAA, and says that it was difficult working around the NCAA rules and regulations.

Tape 2, Side B

County Extension Service local agents were always considered a source of information for communities because they had a state-wide network through which information such as poison alerts and food product recalls were posted. The local agent would then spread the information to the community through local newspaper and radio stations.

Extension Service programs, such as the Expanded Food and Nutrition program, are discussed. This program teaches individuals how to prepare nutritious meals and to make the most out of the commodities they receive through state of federal programs. These individuals then go and teach what they have learned to members of the community. Schickedanz says, "People don't trust the government but they'll trust their neighbor." Local acceptance is essential, and you must take someone from the community with you if you want to reach tight communities.

In the early days of the Extension Service the program was designed to reach the children through Corn Clubs which taught the children how to plant corn and other crops. This was a way to also reach the parents because the children's enthusiasm would pique the interest of the parents as well.

Tape 3, Side A

Border Patrol issues for farmers, ranchers, and designated wilderness areas are discussed. Schickedanz is involved with the People For Preserving Our Western Heritage. The core group is made up of ranchers, but there is a larger group of like-minded people who share the same view that wilderness designation is not the answer to managing our lands. Issues such as land use, access, and protection of the land is discussed. He believes that wilderness areas should be preserved, but that people should still be allowed access to enjoy it. He is opposed to publicizing new archaeological sites because as soon as they are identified the sites are inundated with treasure hunters.

Tape 3, Side B

The early days of the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, before the building was completed, are discussed. Tensions existed between the Heritage Foundation Board and the Museum Board, but despite these tensions Schickedanz is proud of the end result, and feels that we have developed into "a classic small town museum." He likes the fact that we are trying to show the larger aspect of agriculture, and feels that the programs we offer are good because we are getting young people involved. The early vision was for the Museum to be a demonstration farm, but that was an expensive vision. One of the pitfalls of a demonstration farm is that the things for people to see are only there during growing season, so the rest of the year there is only dirt to look at.

Schickedanz believes that the biggest obstacle for this Museum is money. He envisions that it will become more of a destination as more people move to the area, and he hopes that we can keep the open space around the facility. He believes that if the Museum can get on one of the transit routes it would increase our attendance, especially now that Centennial High School has been built.

Tape 4, Side A

Schickedanz believes that NMSU has moved from generalists to specialists in terms of degree programs. He believes that specialists, while they are needed in all fields of study, often cannot see beyond their chosen field of study and do not think about how their discovery might affect things down the line. Developments of new chile varieties are one example. The specialists develop the new variety but do not think about how the new variety might affect water use or pesticide use. He gives another example of developing breeds of larger cows but they do not consider that these new breeds may not stand up to the heat in this area.

He is concerned about the future of agriculture in the United States. He believes that if this country has to depend on others for food then we will be in for trouble. He is also concerned about foods form other countries being safe because other countries do not have the same standards and controls on pesticides as we have in this country.