New Mexico State University's Rex E. Kirksey Agricultural Science Center at Tucumcari, located on U.S. Highway 54 three miles northeast of Tucumcari and Interstate 40, Exit 333. In operation since 1912, the center consists of 464 acres, with 170.9 acres having surface water rights. An advisory committee of farmers, ranchers, and business people meets with center personnel in spring and autumn to review ongoing projects and to provide direction for future research. Irrigated pasture grazing trials are a large portion of the center's research effort. Historically, the center's mission included performance bull testing, developing forage and grazing systems for irrigated lands in the western USA, and the evaluation of crops and cropping systems for local adaptation, including cultivar performance evaluations. Prior to conducting research in irrigated agriculture in the early 1950's, the center evaluated dryland cropping systems and trees for windbreak and farmstead plantings, the latter of which led to the establishment of over 50 species of trees and shrubs on the center grounds, making it an oasis of trees in a sea of native grassland. In 2012, the center entered into an agreement with the city to reuse treated municipal wastewater for irrigation.
An integral part of the center's activities since 1961, the New Mexico Beef Cattle Performance Association (NMBCPA) has conducted the Tucumcari Bull Test at the center. This program encourages beef herd improvement by the use of performance tested bulls evaluating bulls for gainability and other measures of production efficiency concluding with a Performance Tested Bull Sale in March. In 2015, members of the NMBCPA formed the Tucumcari Feed Efficiency Test, LLC, and invested funds to install GrowSafe technology, a state-of-the-art system to evaluate individual animal feed efficiency and expanded the program from the single winter test to nearly year round testing of bulls and heifers for genetic improvement in feed:gain efficiency.
In 2019, the center's name was changed to honor Rex E. Kirksey, the longest serving superintendent in the center's 100-year history at just short of 31 years, who was tragically killed in April 2018 after retiring in 2012.
Research projects are showcased at an Annual Field Day that is held in early August. Other outreach projects include assisting the Quay County Cotton Boll Weevil Control District and the Canadian River Soil and Water Conservation District, distribution of microscopic mites for biological control of field bindweed and preparation of forage nitrate screening kits for distribution to New Mexico Cooperative Extension Service personnel.