County ag agent enjoys work

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer

With roots running deep in the community and a lifetime of agriculture experience and knowledge, Floyd McAlister, has traveled a path that has led to many accomplishments and achievements.

McAlister received a degree from Texas Tech in Agriculture and Extension Education, and taught vocational agriculture for three years before moving into other areas of the agriculture industry. After several years of farming, crop consulting and agriculture seed sales, McAlister got an opportunity to become the Roosevelt County extension agent.

“Billy Smith, the previous ag agent asked if I would consider it and I put my name in. Being from this area, I have a lot of experience with agriculture in this area,” McAlister said.

After the acceptance of the job, which he has held for 21 years, McAlister went on to obtain his Master’s Degree in Agriculture and Extension Education from New Mexico State University.

His experience and education have allowed McAlister to put together many programs that are a mainstay in the community that continue to grow. Wednesday marked one such program, Peanut Field Day.

Started 20 years ago, the program was put together to provide research for the producers in the local area, where their had been none before, McAlister told the PNT.

“Peanuts have always been a major crop and income in this area,” McAlister said.

With help from Darrel Baker, peanut specialist with the Agricultural Science Center at Clovis, and 14 acres of donated land from Eastern New Mexico University, the first crop was planted and the plot continues to be used today for experiments, says McAlister.

“Floyd has been a very dedicated and knowledgeable person for the agricultural community,” said Jimmy Shearer, President, CEO and an owner of Sunland Peanuts. “Floyd has, I believe, almost single-handedly seen after the peanut patch at ENMU all these years we have been doing the research. It has been very beneficial to the farmers.”

Another program that McAlister was instrumental in founding is the New Mexico Agriculture Expo, which held it’s 14th show in February of this year. McAlister says he also assisted in starting the Portales Farmers Market.

“I enjoy working with people. Everyday is different,” said McAlister.

Part of the job, is obtaining information on everything from research results to what type of bugs may be growing in their fields or yards. A pleasure of his job, said McAlister, is to provide information to someone who can make their situation more profitable.

“I enjoy the variability of it,” McAlister said. “You never know what’s coming your way or what question you have to answer or who you may have to call. You can’t predict what any day is going to bring you.”