March 13, 2015

Cooperative Extension Service

  • The 2015 Western Pecan Growers Association Conference and Tradeshow were held at the Hotel Encanto on March 1-3. The popular Pecan Food Fantasy contest was coordinated by the Dona Ana County Extension Office, while the educational program was coordinated by NMSU Extension Pecan Specialist Richard Heerema (Extension Plant Sciences). Oral presentations were given by pecan industry representatives, as well as experts from the USDA and three universities. A major theme of the conference program this year was pecan marketing, especially in light of a proposed Federal Marketing order for pecans which is receiving broad support across the US pecan industry. Other presentations covered orchard pest management, pruning, and soil amendments. The educational program concluded with a growers' panel discussion of salinity, an increasingly concerning management issue in southwestern pecan orchards. In the educational program there were over 200 people in attendance, coming from New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, California, Oklahoma, northern Mexico, and the southeastern United States.
  • Cindy Davies and Cynthia Beiser, Agents with the Cooperative Extension Service in Bernalillo County recently held an "Emergency Preparedness Fair for the Home Owner" in Albuquerque on March 7th that attracted approximately 156 participants. During the fair, participants had the opportunity to listen to presentations such as Family Preparedness, Weathering Emergencies and Safely Storing Food and Water. Those in attendance also had the opportunity to learn how to put together a Preparedness Tool Kit and Making a Go-Bag. This first-of-a-kind fair for home owners was co-sponsored by the Southwest Border Food Protection and Emergency Preparedness Center out of New Mexico State University.

Agricultural Experiment Station

  • As a means of becoming more sustainable at our NMSU off-campus agricultural science centers, a pilot project has been initiated to evaluate solar power. A small solar array was built at the Leyendecker Plant Science Center to provide electrical power to the weed science complex at the center. The solar array will provide enough power to offset electricity for several buildings, greenhouses and building water well, and will save the science center more than $3,500/year. If this project goes well, a long range plan will implement solar power on those centers that can best utilize the sun's energy to provide electricity, reducing energy consumption at the off-campus centers significantly.

Family and Consumer Sciences

  • The Dietetic Internship program received their site visit for full accreditation from the Accreditation Council on Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) on February 22-24. The Dietetic Internship is a master's degree program that started in 2011, and will have graduated 3 cohorts of students by May 2015. There is a shortage of dietitians in New Mexico, and due to the high incidence of diabetes and cardiovascular disease in the border region, more dietitians are needed. Dr. Wanda Eastman and Dr. Carol Turner direct the Dietetic Internship program.
  • Dr. Esther Devall, department head of Family and Consumer Sciences, and Dr. Kathy Stoner, department head of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Ecology, presented a poster describing the College of ACES plan for assessing student writing at the New Mexico Higher Education Assessment Association in Albuquerque. They also presented their poster at the first NMSU Assessment Conference on March 13.
  • Dr. Esther Devall was elected as Vice President of the Council of Administrators of Family and Consumer Sciences at their annual meeting in Washington, DC. The organization provides professional development and leadership training for department heads and deans.

Extension Family and Consumer Sciences

  • Dr. Carol Turner, foods and nutrition extension specialist, provided a workshop on cooking for people with food allergies and food intolerances to county home economists in Albuquerque. She also discussed how home economists can work with their clientele to partner with their health care providers. About 20% of people in the United States have food allergies/intolerances, and the percentage continues to increase each year.
  • Dr. Sonja Koukel, community and environmental health extension specialist, assisted in organizing the 5th Annual NM Food Protection Alliance Conference held in Albuquerque on March 5-6. Attendees numbered over 115 people from various food-related state agencies, as well as speakers from outside New Mexico. New Mexico is the only state in the U.S. to have county-based food protection alliances led by Extension agents.

Animal and Range Sciences

  • The NMSU Ranch Horse Team took FIRST PLACE overall at the Colorado State University Spring Ranch Horse Competition on March 7-9, 2015 in Fort Collins, Colorado. Individual placings include Katie Kapp - Non-Pro High Point All Around; Shelby Siegenthaler - Novice High Point All Around; Jacquie Best - 2nd in Non-Pro Division; Lily Woodall - 4th and 5th in Limited Non-Pro Division; Myelia Mott - 6th in Limited Non-Pro Division; and Braiden Clement - 9th in Novice Division. Joby Priest serves as team coach.

Media Productions

  • Barbara Chamberlin, based on her research and the game development work at NMSU, has continued sharing the potential of game-based learning with national audiences. She spoke at iKids, a KidScreen event in Miami, FL, to developers of commercial apps for children, on the topic of user testing, based on her work in NMSU's Learning Games Lab. In March, she talked with researchers at the annual conference of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education and Utah State Extension Conference, discussing using innovative technologies to communicate university-based research.