March 28, 2014

Chile Pepper Institute

  • New Mexico Chile Pepper Institutes NuMex Easter Ornamental Chile has been named an "All-America Selections" winner. The recognition highlights the plant's ability to flourish in different climates across the country. This is the first time any plant bred by NMSU has been named an "All-American Selections" winner. All-America Selections (AAS) is a nonprofit organization that tests new varieties of flowers and bedding plants, and then introduces the best performers as their "AAS Winners." The organization has nearly 200 gardens in geographically diverse areas across the country where judges score the performance of the plants. ACES' Fabian Garcia Science Center in Las Cruces became an AAS evaluation site in 2013.

NMSU Rodeo Team

  • NMSU Rodeo Team attended the University of Arizona's Rodeo. The men's team and the Men's AA came in 1st place, the women's team came in 4th place.

Entomology Plant Pathology and Weed Science

  • Dr. Scott Bundy, Associate Professor and Director of the NMSU Arthropod Collection has taken his tropical insect Ecology class to Belize over spring break. One member of the team, Helen Vessells, has created a blog for their trip. Check it out at http://eppwsbelize.blogspot.com/ . As internet access allows, they will be giving updates from Belize on what they are doing each day.

  • ACES Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences (PES) has selected Dr. April Ulery as the first holder of the "Exemplary Teaching Professorship". The Exemplary Teaching Professorship endowment will help ensure that outstanding teaching, advising and mentoring of students by PES faculty will be both awarded and rewarded. The Exemplary Teaching Professorship will recognize the importance of quality undergraduate and graduate education to NMSU, the agricultural community, and the plant and environmental sciences professions. Income from the endowment will be used to provide resources to a PES faculty member who exemplifies excellence in teaching, advising and mentoring of NMSU students. Alumnus Greg Reeves (advisor Dr. Paul Bosland) has been named the recipient of the highly competitive and prestigious "Gates Cambridge Scholarship." The full scholarship will cover Greg's entire graduate program at the University of Cambridge, UK.
    ACES student Connor Wagner, PES genetics major, has been awarded a Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Summer Undergraduate Research Internship. It is a nine-week program which will give undergraduate students opportunities to gain experience in research and mentorship. PES graduate student, James Fulton, was the winner of the 2014 NM Chile Conference poster competition. The title of his poster was "Chile Pepper Stip: A Physiological Disorder of the Desert Southwest." As winner, he will receive funding from the NMSU Agricultural Experiment Station that he will be able to use to present his poster at any scientific conference of his choosing.

  • ACES Departments working together: Entomologists from EPPWS, Graeme Davis and Helen Vessels, and Extension Plant Sciences, Carol Sutherland, have been working hard putting on the many entomology outreach activities offered in Spring. Within the past month the three traveled to Socorro to judge the Entomology competition for the New Mexico Science Olympiad, held at New Mexico Tech. Graeme traveled to Anthony to talk with 800 students for their career day. A group from EPPWS helped put on the 2014 Insect Expo in Austin, TX (as part of the Entomology Society of America annual meeting). Carol, Graeme and EPPWS faculty are gearing up for the FFA Entomology contest. Another entomology outreach activity will follow in Glenwood New Mexico, and then it is back to Anthony NM for another career day talk on Entomology. All this travel does not slow down the need for Graeme to keep the ACES Arthropod Museum continuously staffed to provide tours to folks of all ages all year long.

  • Two faculty-led international programs (FLiP) are taking place this week in Belize. Dr. Tim Ross is leading one group studying wildlife care and rehabilitation and Dr. Scott Bundy is leading another group of students studying insects and their interactions with humans.

HRTM

  • Dr. Keith Mandabach, School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management (HRTM), attended the Nightclub and Bar Convention and Trade Show March 24-26, 2014, in Las Vegas, NV. Twenty-five students from HRTM 420 (Club Management) class attended the conference. During the conference they received several "back of the house" tours. Students attending the conference are allowed to make industry contacts and see how clubs are actually managed. This is a yearly conference and Dr. Mandabach takes students each year to enhance his classroom teachings.

  • Dr. Janet Green, Head of HRTM attended the regional roundtable meeting of the Borderplex Economic Alliance on Wednesday, March 26, at the DACC Gadsden Center. The discussion centered on regional academic programs and projects that address current and future workforce needs for the Hospitality/Tourism/Culinary industry.

Cooperative Extension Service

  • The National Association of County Agricultural Agents has placed the name of Mr. Billy Dictson, retired Associate Dean and Director of Cooperative Extension, on the Hall of Fame for his 50 years of service to Extension. After retiring as Associate Dean Billy Dictson co-founded the Southwest Border Food Safety and Defense Center and continued working with them until 2013.
  • Sierra County Extension services is starting a Native Landscapes Initiative that encourages residents to plant attractive landscapes of beneficial native plants that are adapted to our harsh environment and good taste. Initiative plants are selected by the agent to meet certain requirements:

    • Must be Native to NM
    • Must be appropriate for landscapes
    • Must do well in Sierra County and withstand higher pH's and high CaCO3.
    • Must be considered Beneficial to Livestock, Wildlife, and Pollinator Insects

    Additionally, these native plants are typically more disease and insect resistant, use less water, less fertilizer, live longer, and just do better than many standard landscape plants. Although many of these plants are common to range management folks, they are not well known in Urban Horticulture Arena. Also, there are a few tricks and hints to get them to grow and thrive. That's where the county agent comes in. He's experienced and passionate about range management and uses his diversity of experience to bridge the gap between range and urban horticulture. The Sierra County Extension Agent partnered with specialist Blair Stringam to bring a Water Harvesting Demonstration Site to Sierra County. The water harvesting site encourages residents to adopt various technologies in water harvesting, irrigation design, low pressure drip, plant selection, and even landscape design. The harvesting tank will be used to establish the native landscapes and eventually help maintain a native botanical garden. This garden should serve as a showcase for native plants and also a living tool for teaching 4-H and FFA Range Management teams. This first workshop was organized by Sierra County Extension Agent, Dee Wear. The hands on workshop served as an introduction to the initiative with both Wear and Stringam serving as presenters. The 24 participants signed on as active participants with the initiative. They were introduced to 9 Native plants and got a crash course on water harvesting and irrigation design. Those initiative participants also received a Southwest Flower Pack (A pack of seeds to encourage residents to participate further in the initiative). The flower pack served great as a promotional piece for the initiative and for Sierra Co. Extension. Participant interest in urban horticulture & natives was outstanding with many questions. Agent received over a dozen requests for future workshops.

  • Cooperative Extension Service in collaboration with the NM Department of Agriculture and Farm to Table (a non-profit organization based out of Santa Fe) held the annual New Mexico Organic Farming Conference which had an attendance of more than 750 participants. The two day conference offered a wide variety of educational sessions including: pest control, water harvesting, grazing management, vegetable production, marketing of agricultural commodities, fruit production, pollinators, small dairy production, food safety, soil salinity and fertility management. This conference is currently the agricultural conference with the largest attendance in New Mexico and possibly the southwest attracting participants from surrounding states as well.

  • Master Gardner Training. Training of Master Gardner volunteers is currently underway in several counties in Northern New Mexico. The trainings consist of several weeks of classes in which the participants are trained by Extension Specialists, County Agents, and area horticulture experts. Upon passing the course the Master Gardner volunteers are required to provide a minimum of 30-40 hours of volunteer service in an educational capacity in projects approved by the local county agent within their respective counties. Projects include: staffing gardening hotlines, responding to horticultural inquiry emails, maintaining demonstration gardens, conducting fairs, assisting with horticultural presentations at schools, and conducting plant clinics and other class presentations. The number of volunteer hours that Master Gardeners provides annually is valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

  • Curry County Cooperative Extension Service in cooperation with Ag 50, New Mexico Sorghum Association and the Southwest Council of Agribusiness conducted a Farm Bill Program on March 25 at the Clovis Civic Center. Participants learned about the new farm bill and how provisions will affect their farm operations. During the program they focused on commodity and crop insurance programs.

  • Curry and Roosevelt County Cooperative Extension Service held a seminar at the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds for agriculture producers on "Managing Your No-Till System". This included Sprayer Management and Calibration, Herbicide Options for Dryland Farming Systems and Weed and Insect Management in a No-Till System. There were from 100 to 200 attending the seminar.