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Wool project teaches students about production agriculture

Jennifer Hernandez Gifford ’99 ’01 established the New Mexico Heritage Wool Project in 2019 to pay homage to the state’s wool industry. At its heart, the project provides her students with a hands-on learning experience in production agriculture.

It starts with raising a 75-head flock of Rambouillet sheep in NMSU’s West Sheep Unit, a job that instills lessons in breeding, lambing and general livestock care. Each January, Hernandez Gifford, animal and range sciences professor, and her students harvest wool and ship it to a mill in Wyoming for processing. From there, they use the wool to create artisanal goods to sell.

Their first two products – a blanket and a wall-hanging – were designed in collaboration with Richard Trujillo ’83, a seventh-generation weaver. Both products generated enough profit to support the sheep and sustain the project.

“Our products emphasize the importance of New Mexico’s weaving tradition as well as the cultural heritage of the art,” Hernandez Gifford says.

Limited quantities of the wall-hangings are available for $450. To purchase, contact Hernandez Gifford at or call 575-646-2514.



NMSU students Molly Austin (left) and Sara Gurule work with the New Mexico Heritage Wool Project.