LAS CRUCES (KRQE) - The director of the state office of Agricultural Biosecurity has been named to lead the New Mexico Department of Agriculture and serve as the governor's secretary of agriculture.
Jeff Witte was selected by the New Mexico State University Board of Regents during a meeting last week.
"I look forward to the opportunity to lead a great department, work with Governor Martinez and her administration as a strong advocate for agriculture; as well as continue the partnerships I have with the entire New Mexico State University family," Witte said in a statement released by the university. "Most of all however, I look forward to working with our producers, processors, transporters, and retailers who are the heart and soul of our agricultural industry and provide the economic backbone in many communities in our great state."
Witte currently holds the title of director of the office of Agricultural Biosecurity and co-director for the Southwest Border Food Safety and Defense Center at NMSU. He served previously as NMDA's assistant director and was the director of governmental affairs and field services for the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau.
Witte also served as a research specialist for the NMSU College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences where he also earned a master's degree in agricultural economics and economics.
"We are proud to select Jeff as the next director/secretary of NMDA and look forward to his leadership," regents' Chair Laura Conniff said.
The director of NMDA serves as the secretary of agriculture even though the position is filled by the NMSU regents and reports to the board and university president.
Tom Bagwell has been serving as NMDA's interim director/secretary since the retirement of Dr. Miley Gonzalez in December 2010.
Witte will begin his position as NMDA director/secretary in the coming weeks.
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