Schickedanz honored by NM Federal Lands Council

Feb 15, 2013
by WLJ

Dr. Jerry Schickedanz, Las Cruces, received the 2012 Bud’s Contract Award from the New Mexico Federal Lands Council (NMFLC) during the Joint Stockmen’s Convention held in Albuquerque in December.

“Throughout his career, Dean Schickedanz has been is a great friend to and supporter of the range livestock industry,” said Bebo Lee, NMFLC president, Alamogordo. “We appreciate his work and dedication on our behalf, and are glad to have this opportunity to say thank you.”

NMFLC gives the Bud’s Contract award annually to an individual who has given of their time and effort to NMFLC. The award, a bronze handshake, is given in memory of longtime NMFLC President Bud Eppers. “Bud was a Roswell-area rancher who got involved in federal land grazing issues because of a problem on his own place,” said Mike Casabonne, Hope, who presented this year’s award. “He went on to represent all of us on a wide range of issues involving federal and state land grazing, water law and private property rights.”

Schickedanz came to New Mexico from Oklahoma, where he grew up on a farming and ranching operation, by way of Arizona. He began his career in Extension as an Extension agent in Greenlee County, AZ. In 1976, he joined New Mexico State University (NMSU) as an Extension range specialist.

He was the co-founder and the first coordinator of the Range Improvement Task Force (RITF) and worked closely with ranchers to the great benefit of the industry for many years, Casabonne noted. He went on to hold other positions in Extension and retired from NMSU in 2005 after serving as dean of the College of Agriculture and Home Economics for more than eight years.

The RITF at NMSU is a unique institution composed of academics from several disciplines organized to find scientifically credible answers to natural resource management questions. RITF has been instrumental in helping resolve conflicts between ranchers and federal land management agencies on countless occasions.

“He had the vision to recognize the need for such an organization to help ranchers and the federal land agencies deal with the new federal land management regulations that were beginning to be implemented at the time,” Casabonne said. “He also had the perseverance to make it a reality, which was no small accomplishment for a young, untenured assistant range professor.”

Although he retired in 2005, Schickedanz did not stop working for responsible, common sense management of federal land.

He currently holds the Evelyn Linebery Chair of the Lineberry Policy Center for Natural Resources at NMSU. He also serves as chairman of the Western Heritage Alliance (formerly People for Protecting Our Western Heritage) promoting sensible special land use designations in southern New Mexico.

The organization got its start in the mid-1970s, as ranchers formed local grazing associations to help them work with land management agencies like the Bureau of Land Management. Those local groups grew into the NMFLC, which works to represent the livestock grazing industry on a state and national level, and keep producers informed. — WLJ