December 12, 2014

Cooperative Extension Service

  • More than 100 farmers attended the fifth annual Forage Growers Workshop in Los Lunas this week. NMSU Valencia County Cooperative Extension Service, NMSU Extension Plant Sciences Department, and the NMSU Small Farm and Ranch Task Force hosted the event. The workshop is geared toward helping hay and pasture growers improve production and profitability, while maintaining sustainable operations. Presentations on soil testing, fertilizing rates, irrigation rates, and pest and weed control were made by Extension specialists Carol Sutherland, Leonard Lauriault, John Idowu, Robert Flynn, Dan Smeal, Michael Ronquillo, and Mark Marsalis. New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte gave the keynote address. Members of the Valencia High School FFA served lunch.

Plant and Environmental Sciences

  • In partial fulfillment of agreements in the Partners in the Americas project between the University of La Salle and NMSU, a team from Plant and Environmental Sciences went to Colombia for two weeks of classes and cultural exchange programs at La Salle's campuses in Yopal and Bogotá. The team, led by Mick O'Neill, included irrigation scientists Blair Stringam and Dan Smeal, as well as grad student James Fulton, and undergrad students Jimmy Maynes, Sativa Cruz, and Megan Stovall. The NMSU team participated in classes covering Colombian culture and agriculture and visited crop production fields managed/cultivated by students in the Utopia project at the Yopal Campus. The 200+ Utopia project students at Yopal are selected through a highly competitive process (only about 1 in 100 applicants are selected) from resource-poor families throughout the country who have been significantly traumatized by the 20-30 years of drug wars. NMSU faculty taught classes about New Mexico agriculture, irrigation, water harvesting, meteorological data acquisition, and climate-based irrigation scheduling. In April 2015, a similar size group from La Salle will visit NMSU. A final wrap-up of the two-week exchange was given to the La Salle President, Brother Carlos Gomez, International Affairs Office staff, and representatives of the US Embassy and the Partners in the Americas project.