New Mexico State Spotlights Ag Trends and Techniques

Editor’s note: The third in a series of articles about sustainable agriculture and economics.


People interested in learning about the latest trends, techniques and research in farming and ranching will have two opportunities this month at events in northern New Mexico sponsored by New Mexico State University.

University staff and other experts will present information on topics that include rangeland management in drought times, horse care, integrated pest management, hoop house crop production, acequia hydrology, direct marketing, and much more.

The first event, set for Wednesday, August 13, at the New Mexico State University Sustainable Agriculture Science Center in Alcalde,  will feature a look at the school’s jujube fruit tree research project and an update on acequia hydrology. The field day will offer the public a chance to hear about research and see demonstrations on tree fruit, wine and table grapes, lavender, chile and vegetables, sprinklers and drip irrigation, and other issues of interest.

Another topic will consider the “linkages between livestock raising and acequia farming,” said Steve Guldan, Alcalde Center superintendent. In New Mexico, acequias are the traditional irrigation ditches that are the cultural sustenance of many rural communities.  Exhibits and displays are planned on beekeeping, insect identification and food preservation.

Located at 371 County Road 40 in Alcalde, a village on the highway between Santa Fe and Taos, the Alcalde Center is dedicated to research beneficial to small family farms in north-central New Mexico. Field day visitors who bring a small paper bag and an ice cooler will get to go  home with a batch of goodies-bindweed mites that are useful in biological pest control.

For the remainder of next week, the action will be in the state capital of Santa Fe. Organized by New Mexico State University’s New Mexico Outreach Project in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture and the Institute of American Indian Art, the New Mexico Pueblo and Community Agriculture Conference is scheduled for August 14 and August 15 at the Santa Fe County 4-H Building at 3229 Rodeo Road.

This event will focus on livestock, crops and forage production. A Good turnout from New Mexico’s 18 Native American pueblos is expected, said Joseph Garcia, New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service agricultural agent for the 10 Southern Pueblos.

“There’s gonna be some great workshops,” Garcia told Frontera Nortesur.

In Santa Fe, Cooperative Extension Service specialists will deliver presentations on rangeland management and drought conditions, invasive species control, soil health and fertility, and other subjects. Updates from the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) will form part of the conference.

Garcia said the event allows producers a chance to “see what the current programs are,” such as a cost-share program administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

According to Edmund Gomez, Rural Agriculture Improvement and Public Affairs Project director, the NASS will analyze and discuss the meaning of the 2012 Agriculture Census to local farmers and ranchers.

Conducted in extraordinary times of drought and climate change, the census contains data on commodity income, statewide livestock inventory, specific crops, and county farm profiles.  Gomez said the Santa Fe conference will likely be the last one supported by a United States Department of Agriculture grant that terminates at the end of the month.

“We hope people will take advantage of this conference to learn the latest information on the topics presented,” the New Mexico State official said.

While pre-registration for the conference has closed, admission is open at the door for a $60.00 fee. Scholarships that cover registration and lunch are still available.

Further information can be obtained by calling the main conference number at 505-852-2668 or contacting Joseph Garcia at 505-852-0480.

For more information on the Alcalde Center’s August 13 field day, which kicks off at 7:30 a.m and includes lunch, readers can reach Steve Guldan at or 505-852-4241.

-Kent Paterson

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