ACES Impact Stories

Food & Fiber Production and Marketing

This Pillar addresses the production, protection, and marketing of plant and animal products. College of ACES faculty and staff foster technological innovation to enhance competitiveness and security of New Mexico agriculture, and increase value-added in the state.


4-H Livestock Judging Teaches Life-Skills

Forty-Eight youth participated in the New Mexico State 4-H Livestock Judging Contest. A survey of the participants indicated an increase in knowledge of evaluating market and breeding livestock. More importantly, youth indicated that livestock judging was at least "moderately influential" in decision-making, goal setting, developing organizational skills and teamwork. One participant stated, "It builds self-confidence, improves public speaking, and allows you to meet people." Another participant stated that judging provides, "the ability to work through problems, come to conclusions, and explain why." Livestock judging helps youth develop life-skills to be successful in the future.

Craig Painter, cpainter@nmsu.edu, State 4-H Agent

Student research result in the development of new value-added food products

Since 2015, The "Martin Steinman Endowed Professorship in Food Science and Technology" has supported 11 undergraduate students working on Extension Food Technology value-added research projects ranging from jerky, artisan cheese and chile processing while utilizing specialized equipment (extruder, spray drier, pasteurizer, freeze drier) for new food product development with glandless cottonseed meal and jujube fruit. These "Steinman Fellow" students successfully completed their degree programs, presented their research projects at a professional meeting, participated in an external internship, joined the food industry or advanced their education. This program develops confident, skilled professionals who are in demand by the food industry.

Nancy Flores, naflores@nmsu.edu, Extension Food and Technology Specialist

NMSU ACES High Certified Calf Program

Sales of cows and calves are New Mexico's second leading agricultural commodity. Market trends suggest continued pressure on cattle prices in the coming years. To assist, CES created the ACES High certified calf program which acts as a third party verification of vaccination and weaning programs. Nearly 1000 calves were initially enrolled in the program and 468 calves participated in the NMSU ACES High + certified sale. Collectively, participation in the program generated nearly $34,700 in additional revenue for ACES High + calves compared with calves that had no verification of vaccination or weaning program.

Craig Gifford, cgifford@nmsu.edu, Extension Beef Cattle Specialist

Teaching and training the next generation of dairy professionals

Despite declining resources to teach young dairy professionals modern dairy management, NMSU Dairy Extension leads a consortium of universities to provide practical dairy teaching in a 6-week intensive summer program. Total reach in 10-yrs.: 427 students from 48 universities. Impact: 4 out of 5 students employed in agriculture, 2 out of 3 students employed in dairy industry, 1 out of 3 students working on/managing a dairy. Program received 2017 Dairy Sustainability Award in Community Partnerships.

Robert Hagevoort, dairydoc@nmsu.edu, Extension Dairy Specialist

Development, evaluation and implementation of a dairy safety awareness program

Goal: develop effective training tools appropriate for a predominantly Hispanic, literacy challenged dairy workforce. Individual, interactive safety awareness training delivered via m-learning to approximately 2,000 individuals on 60 dairies in 8 states. Effectiveness evaluation indicates appropriateness of delivery method and significant improvement of both comprehension and retention. Expectation: improved safety awareness among dairy workers. Impact: regional program adaptation and implementation by dairy associations and cooperatives. Assessing appropriateness for national program implementation, the creation of industry advisory board, and establishment of a certificate program. Dr. Robert Hagevoort, dairydoc@nmsu.edu, Extension Dairy Specialist

Maximizing voluntary compliance in antimicrobial stewardship programs

As part of the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria aimed at better surveillance of antimicrobial resistance, better diagnostic testing, and the development of new vaccines and antibiotics, NMSU Dairy Extension is collaborating with several partners in a large research project with the goal to evaluate current antimicrobial protocols to determine if being more cautious than manufacturer's labels require aids in gaining ground on antimicrobial resistance. Outcomes may lead to the development of additional protocols and decision making tools to further antimicrobial stewardship programs for producers.

Robert Hagevoort, dairydoc@nmsu.edu, Extension Dairy Specialist

Cooperative Extension Service educates New Mexicans on integrated wildlife damage management techniques

Although New Mexican's greatly enjoy their wildlife, at times wildlife create human health and safety concerns and damage property. Annually, wildlife is responsible for greater than $1 billion in agricultural production losses and $25 billion in losses to homes, businesses and municipalities, nationwide. New Mexico State University, Cooperative Extension Service trains urban and rural New Mexicans to safely and effectively address wildlife damage issues in their homes, ranches, farms and communities using environmentally responsible methods. Impacts show 94% of participants improved their knowledge of integrated wildlife damage management and 82% would use knowledge gained.

Samuel T. Smallidge, ssmallid@nmsu.edu, Extension Wildlife Specialist

Livestock Disease and Veterinary Care- Beef Quality Assurance

This program is a product of the National Cattleman's Beef Association and was designed as a producer education program delivered by Extension. The program mission statement: "to maximize consumer confidence in, and acceptance of, beef by focusing the producers attention to daily production practices that influence the safety, wholesomeness and quality of beef and beef products through the use of science, research and educational initiatives" The number of NM beef producers trained and certified in 2017 was 313 producers with many Native American and Hispanic producers being leaders in the certification process in their communities.

John C Wenzel DVM, jwenzel@nmsu.edu, Extension Veterinarian

Livestock Disease and Veterinary Care- NM-ALIRT

This is a state-wide network of veterinarians who are equipped and trained to respond to large or suspicious livestock losses in New Mexico. This program is designed to provide a first line of defense against disease or terrorism incidents that may threaten the New Mexico livestock industry. Participating veterinarians report monthly on disease syndromes that allow for earlier detection of disease trends or outbreaks. This program has expanded to include Arizona veterinarians creating a more regional response to livestock loss. This program has responded to approximately 30 livestock loss situations since its inception in 2006.

John C Wenzel DVM, jwenzel@nmsu.edu, Extension Veterinarian

Livestock Disease and Veterinary Care- Rural Veterinary Relief Program

New Mexico Rural Veterinary Practice Relief Program works with the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education's Professional Student Exchange Program to fill the need of veterinarians in rural NM. New Mexico does not have College of Veterinary Medicine, however our students need to have an opportunity to receive a veterinary medical education. We are involved in the Veterinary Medical admissions process used by participating Colleges of Veterinary Medicine. This allows for NM to have input on returning graduate veterinarians who are NM residents and the ability to provide for specific needs in NM and financial relief for NM applicants.

John C Wenzel DVM, jwenzel@nmsu.edu, Extension Veterinarian

Livestock Disease and Veterinary Care- Trichomoniasis Control Program

Trichomoniasis became a reportable disease in 2005 due to positive tests in north - central New Mexico and upon further investigation it was revealed that the disease was present over a large portion of NM. In 2005, the incidence of Trichomoniasis was 6.5%. State animal health officials began a disease control program to limit the spread of the disease. Extension leads a producer education program as the cornerstone of a Trichomoniasis control program. Educational programs have been held all over New Mexico and in 2017 the number of Trichomoniasis positive bulls was reduced to 1.5% in over 16,000 tested bulls.

John C Wenzel DVM, jwenzel@nmsu.edu, Extension Veterinarian

NMSU Brings Continued Education Trainings to Pesticide Applicators in New Mexico

In NM, licensed applicators must receive continuing education credits annually. The NMSU pesticide applicators training programs help to provide this continuing education. In 2017, out of 431 attendees, 97% indicated they learned something to help with applications, and 78% indicated that they will change application practices based on information provided in the training. Based on information provided in my Water Hardness training, the San Juan County Soil and Water Conservation District had water sources tested for hardness levels. Letters describing the results were then distributed to landscape management companies and applicators offering suggestions for improved weed management in Farmington.

Leslie Beck, lebeck@nmsu.edu, Extension Weed Specialist

Management Options for Difficult-to-Control Weeds in Alfalfa

As of 2016, alfalfa hay remains the most valuable cash crop in New Mexico with an estimated annual gross of $158 million. Additionally, the forage industry directly influences the success of the livestock and dairy industries. Infestations of late-season perennial weeds that are extremely difficult-to-control with current management options can lower forage quality and yield, increase incidence of disease and insect damage, and create detrimental harvesting issues. New Mexico State University researchers are currently evaluating various herbicides and combinations of active ingredients to help growers better manage difficult-to-control weeds like broadleaf and buckhorn plantain in alfalfa.

Leslie Beck, lebeck@nmsu.edu, Extension Weed Specialist

Surround crop protectant spray may help New Mexico winegrowers mitigate spring frost damage

Every vintage is different, but "late" frosts that occur after grapes have budded out are a consistent threat across New Mexico each spring. Sometimes, only a week or matter of days is the difference between a full crop, a partial crop or complete loss. New Mexico State University State Researchers are testing a kaolin clay material, for its ability to reduce temperatures of dormant buds. This temperature reduction could slow bud development and consequently delay vulnerable green growth until after the threat of damaging frost has passed.

Gill Giese, ggiese@nmsu.edu, Extension Viticulture Specialist

Springtime freeze injury avoidance in pecan orchards using dormant-season kaolin clay sprays

With the recent high prices for pecans, there has been increased interest in planting pecan orchards in colder-climate areas of New Mexico where there is an elevated risk for springtime freeze injury. When pecan trees are subjected to freezing temperatures after bud-break there is often total crop loss, costing the grower as much as $5,000/acre in potential gross profits. NMSU researchers are studying the possible use of white kaolin clay sprays to cool dormant bud tissues, thereby delaying bud-break and reducing risk for freeze injury. This represents a cheaper option for mitigating freeze injury risks than installation of wind-machines.

Richard Heerema, rjheerem@nmsu.edu, Extension Pecan Specialist

Enhancing income from cotton in New Mexico

About 80% of cotton growers reached through the extension program are willing to grow glandless cotton if the demand for glandless cottonseeds emerges and over 90% of the growers surveyed demonstrated sufficient knowledge of the cultural practices and management required to grow glandless cotton. This has led to an average of 100 ac of glandless cotton production in New Mexico since 2015. Farmers who grow glandless cotton in New Mexico have been receiving $800 per ton for the cottonseeds of the glandless varieties in contrast to $250 per ton for the cottonseeds of the conventional varieties.

John Idowu, jidowu@nmsu.edu, Extension Agronomist

Improving On-Farm Efficiencies in Forage Systems Could Have Significant Impacts Statewide

New Mexico produces over 1.2 million tons of hay on over 300,000 acres, and 2.4 million tons of silage on approximately 100,000 acres. Value of these combined forage industries is greater than $365M/year. Improved farm efficiencies of 25% or more have been shown, through research, to result from selecting proper crop species and variety, fertilizer and seed inputs, and improved water management strategies. These improvements can result in as much as $100/acre savings to forage producers, with an overall potential impact exceeding $35M in the state of NM.

Mark Marsalis, marsalis@nmsu.edu, Extension Agronomist

Importance of Crop Variety Testing in New Mexico

Biological Control has the potential to control many insect pests but is frequently undervalued. Control of insect eggs alone is often 80-90% when populations of predators are not disrupted by frequent insecticide applications. Control of alfalfa weevil with parasitoids and predators will save New Mexico growers over $2Million per year. Our NMSU farm has maintained good control of alfalfa weevil with biological control for 20 years. Replicating this type of control in just alfalfa, sorghum and pecan will save growers $6.5 Million per year in reduced losses and control costs.

Jane Pierce, japierce@nmsu.edu, Extension Entomologist

Vegetable Production Extension Programming

Participants in vegetable trainings reported an increase in vegetable production knowledge, with an average of 71% reporting a large increase in know-how. An average of 87% of respondents were inspired to grow more vegetables. Information provided on growing tomatoes motivated an increase in local production by 5,250 lbs in Bernalillo County; 1,980 lbs in Sandoval, 1,860 lbs in Taos,1,110 lbs in Chaves,1,830 lbs in Grants, 1,650 lbs in Los Alamos, and 4,290 lbs in Valencia Counties. Overall, only counting surveyed counties, the vegetable production training will result in 17,970 additional pounds of locally grown tomatoes in the state.

Stephanie Walker, swalker@nmsu.edu, Extension Vegetable Specialist

Chile Mechanical Harvesting

New Mexico green chile is harvested by hand. Mechanizing chile harvest is key to reversing the loss of production acreage in state. Along with breeding NM green chile cultivars efficient for mechanization, research has also been conducted to identify optimum equipment and production protocols. Success in these efforts is expected to spur mechanization of NM green chile and reverse the decline of chile acreage in the state. If only 10 % of green chile acreage lost since peak production is regained as a result of mechanization, the state will realize approximately 19 million dollars of additional crop receipts per year.

Stephanie Walker, swalker@nmsu.edu, Extension Vegetable Specialist

Limited choices of commercial jujube cultivars will be greatly expanded due to the NMSU jujube project

There are currently only 5-6 jujube cultivars commercially available in the United States with Li as the dominant one. The New Mexico State Alcalde Center jujube program has been evaluating more than 50 cultivars in the past 8 years and have identified 8-10 fresh eating cultivars. Those cultivars will give growers nationwide more choices with extended maturation dates and achieve $1-2 more premium per pound. The jujube acreage nationwide will increase significantly.

Shengrui Yao, yaos@nmsu.edu, Extension Fruit Specialist

A new fruit crop-jujube is gradually adopted in New Mexico

The fruit industry in New Mexico is threatened by late frost each year. Jujube can avoid late frosts and produce a reliable crop annually. With annual workshops, field days, and numerous media coverages and promotion, hundreds of home gardeners have planted jujubes in their backyards and over ten fruit growers start to plant them commercially in New Mexico.

Shengrui Yao, yaos@nmsu.edu, Extension Fruit Specialist

Extension Master Gardener Program

In 2017 Master Gardeners provided current, research-based education to the public using collaborative hands-on projects such as Sandoval County's Seed2Need. Students contributed 2882 hours participating in 14 events beginning with garden preparation and planting, ending in crop management and harvest. Education in use, quality and conservation of water, land stewardship through the building of healthy soil, and minimizing NM's food deserts by growing food and sharing it with others was the goal. 2017 grew and harvested 61,678 pounds of produce donating it to food pantries serving an average of 70,000 New Mexicans each week who otherwise would go hungry.

Kelly White, lkelly@nmsu.edu, Master Gardener Program Coordinator

Beginning Farmers and Ranchers in New Mexico's Pueblos

Agriculture has played an important role in the survival of the Pueblo People of New Mexico within the past eight hundred years and greatly contributes to their custom, culture and tradition. Today, their custom, culture, traditions and economic stability are threatened by lack of agricultural technical and educational assistance. CES RAIPAP specialists through the assistance of the USDA NIFA BFRDP, have trained over 160 Native American beginning farmers and ranchers within the northern and southern pueblos, thus increasing farm income and maintaining cultural values and tradition.

Edmund Gomez, gr@nmsu.edu, Assistant Department Head & Project Director

Sustainable Farming Techniques in Northern New Mexico

Success in utilizing sustainable farming techniques in northern New Mexico is challenging due to many obstacles, including a short growing season. Greenhouse construction is very expensive and many small scale farmers cannot afford to invest due to these prohibitive costs. The use of hoop houses or high tunnels has been demonstrated to be cost effective for small scale farmers and can provide extended growing season for various high value cash crops. CES RAIPAP specialists have assisted over 1400 New Mexico producers in building high tunnel/hoop house units and by extending the growing season, thus improving annual income through additional crop production.

Del Jimenez, djimenez@nmsu.edu, Agricultural Specialist

Stronger Economies Together (SET)

SET is a USDA Rural Development program in partnership with the nation's Land Grant Institutions. The SET program seeks to address the economic development challenges that rural communities and areas face today by encouraging, facilitating and supporting efforts to design and implement multi-county economic development plans and projects that strategically build on the current and emerging economic strengths of that region. New Mexico State University has facilitated the establishment of nine SET regions involving 32 of the state's 33 counties.

Michael Patrick, jmpat@nmsu.edu, Associate Professor, Extension. Specialist/Economic Dev. Coordinator

Resiliency in New Mexico Agriculture

New Mexico agriculture and food industries face many challenges and are looking to the future. New Mexico State University's Resiliency in New Mexico Agriculture project, in collaboration with agriculture and food interests across the state, seeks to develop a strategic plan for a resilient and diversified agricultural system that will exhibit both a strong and growing export-oriented commodity agriculture sector and a robust system of small to medium-sized family farms and ranches to meet the growing consumer demand for locally produced food.

Michael Patrick, jmpat@nmsu.edu, Associate Professor, Extension Specialist/Economic Dev. Coordinator

Organic Transition: Improving Competitiveness of Limited Resource Farmers and Ranchers in Southern New Mexico

USDA AFRI Organic Transition Grant: Improving the Competitiveness of Limited Resource Farmers and Ranchers (LRFR) in Southern New Mexico Through the Adoption of Organic Practices. The goal of this project is to improve the competiveness of Limited Resource Farmers and Ranchers (LRFR) in Southern New Mexico through the successful adoption of organic farming and ranching practices. Over the course of the three-year project, the Organic Transition Team (OTT) and project reached an estimated 850 producers, local municipality's, and local and state government agency with information and education material pertaining to Organic Farming and Ranching best practices, and certification requirements.

Paul Gutierrez, pgutierr@nmsu.edu, Extension Specialist

Genetic selection could reduce concerns with livestock grazing on public lands

Cattle tend to graze near streams and gentle terrain, which can adversely impact fisheries and wildlife habitat. A collaborative team led by New Mexico State University is developing tools for ranchers to select cattle that are more willing to use rugged terrain and travel farther from water. Using genomics, GPS tracking and geographic information system technologies, researchers have identified genetic markers associated with cattle movements and plan to develop breeding values for cattle distribution patterns using relatively inexpensive DNA tests.

Derek Bailey dwbailey@nmsu.edu, RGSC Professor

Dietary nutrients and amino acids for calf health and performance

Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) is a significant health concern in the cattle industry, affecting more than 20% of cattle and costing the US beef industry more than $600 million per year. Typically, metaphylactic antibiotic use is employed to prevent feedlot calves from succumbing to BRD. However, consumer pressure to minimize antibiotic use in food producing animals demands exploration of alternative strategies to prevent BRD and improve animal health. If nutritional strategies utilizing specific nutraceuticals can be developed to increase immunity and reduce BRD in cattle by 5% annually, this could save the US beef industry more than $30 million annually.

Clint Loest, cloest@nmsu.edu, Professor

Use of chile peppers to reduce inflammation and improve health of livestock

Diseases in cattle cost the US beef industry more than $600 million per year. Sick cattle are treated with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce fever, but consumer pressure to minimize drug use demands exploration of alternative strategies to improve animal health. Our research is evaluating the efficacy of chile pepper capsaicin as an anti-inflammatory for livestock. If capsaicin is effective at reducing inflammation, supplementing livestock diets with chile peppers could reduce traditional anti-inflammatory drug use and increase the market for culled chile peppers by more than $10-million annually, a win-win situation for both the chile pepper and livestock industries.

Clint Loest, cloest@nmsu.edu, Professor

Investigation of predisposing factors to liver abscesses in cattle

Liver abscess prevalence in feedlot cattle is less than 18% when cattle are receiving an antibiotic (tylosin phosphate) to control the causative bacterium, but this prevalence increases to 45% when antibiotics are not used. Liver abscesses affect feedlot cattle productivity and welfare, and reduce the value of beef carcasses by approximately $38. If use of antibiotic preventatives are discontinued or banned, the cost to the beef industry could be more than $170-million. Because of an anticipated discontinuation of antibiotics use in food animal production systems, we are evaluating alternative strategies to control liver abscesses in feedlot cattle.

Clint Loest, cloest@nmsu.edu, Professor

Supplementing arginine to cows during pregnancy improves subsequent progeny's ability to cope with low-quality diets

The ability of cattle to effectively deal with low-quality forages can be a challenge for beef cattle producers. NMSU researchers are investigating ways to improve performance of cattle, via fetal programming, in which dams are given unique feedstuffs to enhance how their offspring develop during pregnancy. This research has demonstrated that arginine supplemented to dams during early pregnancy can increase calves' ability to gain weight during the winter months after weaning when forage quality is low and potentially improve the longevity of these offspring.

Eric Scholljegerdes, ejs@nmsu.edu, Associate Professor

Multi-Scale Biodiversity Metric Mapping for Ecosystem Services

Human health and well-being benefit from healthy ecosystems and associated ecosystem services. In partnership with EPA and USGS, the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology at NMSU has mapped metrics of biodiversity and representative ecosystem services from 1,590 terrestrial vertebrate models across the United States. Metrics provide land managers and the public a method to view ecosystem services related to food and fiber production, recreation, culture and aesthetics and biodiversity conservation via the EPA's EnviroAtlas tool (https://www.epa.gov/enviroatlas). The harvestable species metric represents an annual contribution of $346 billion to the US economy and $267 million to New Mexico GDP.

Ken Boykin, kboykin@nmsu.edu, Research Associate Professor

New MexicoView (NMView) Program Development and Operations for the State Of New Mexico

NMView is a member of the AmericaView Consortium, a nationally coordinated network of academic, agency, industry partners, and cooperators that promote the use of remote sensing. NMView seeks to advance the use of remotely sensed data through education, research, outreach, and technology transfer to the public and private sectors in New Mexico. NMView working with AmericaView provided a poster for Earth Observation Day to 14,000 teachers across the United States in support of Earth Sciences Week. NMView provided the Spanish translation for that poster (available at https://americaview.org/program-areas/education/earth-observation-day/).

Ken Boykin, kboykin@nmsu.edu, Research Associate Professor

Risk of Livestock Depredation by Mexican Wolves Predicted by Artificial Intelligence

The greatest challenge related to recovery of the endangered Mexican wolf is livestock depredation. Most methods to reduce depredations are reactive, occurring after depredation. Researchers from NMSU, New Mexico Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, and APHIS Wildlife Services have found an alternative approach: predicting areas with elevated risk of depredations. They used a type of artificial intelligence computer models to develop the depredation risk map. Results reveal certain landscape features that increase risk of wolf depredation. The risk map can be used to reduce the depredation risk posed by restoration of Mexican wolves, thereby benefiting both humans and wildlife.

Jennifer Frey, jfrey@nmsu,.edu, College Professor

Exploring opportunities for value-added production in Southern New Mexico

The craft beer market has seen impressive growth. The growth of the industry has created interest among some New Mexico farmers to explore opportunities to produce inputs for the industry, specifically barley and malt. Funded by the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, this research examined opportunities for New Mexico farmers to grow and produce malt for regional craft brewers, e.g., brewers in the Southwest. Malt use in the regional market is estimated to equal nearly 30,000 tons representing 1.6 million bushels of barley. Assuming malt barley prices of $2.50 / bushel, the potential barley market is more than $4 million per year.

Jay Lillywhite, lillywhi@nmsu.edu, Department Head/Professor

Financial Feasibility Analysis

Starting a value-added agricultural business is exciting but risky. Before starting the venture, business entrepreneurs should understand their market including competitors and customers and develop a plan that will drive their business decisions. Business feasibility analysis is an important tool to help entrepreneurs explore value-added agricultural opportunities. Students in a special topics course taught in Fall 2017 increased their analytical abilities as they developed a business plan that explored the feasibility of building and operating a malt processing facility in Southern New Mexico. The students presented their findings to representatives from the New Mexico Department of Agriculture and to local farmers.

Jay Lillywhite, lillywhi@nmsu.edu, Department Head/Professor

World-class chemical analysis instrumentation brought to the NMSU College of ACES

The ACES Chemical Analysis and Instrumentation Lab (CAIL) installed $1.8 M worth of new analytical equipment in 2017, comprising a high-resolution Orbitrap Fusion mass spectrometer, custom signal processing electronics, and a nano-flow liquid chromatography system. This instrumentation is state-for-the art for chemical characterization of extremely complex mixtures and will be used in applications that range from alternative fuel research, disease research, alternative water source uses and fundamental biology. A truly interdisciplinary effort, the project draws support from three colleges.

Tanner Schaub, tschaub@nmsu.edu, Director, Center for Animal Health and Food Safety

Utilization of jujube (Chinese date) fruit for antioxidant extraction

With a growing region located in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, jujube offers an opportunity for the development of new functional foods. New Mexico State University's Departments of Family and Consumer Sciences and Plant and Environmental Sciences are working on technical aspects to optimize the drying process of the fruit to preserve the antioxidant properties. The drying curves of jujubes are a first step into describing the drying process of the jujube fruit. This project will impact the growth and development of the jujube industry in the United States.

Contact: Efren Delgado edelgad@nmsu.edu

Pillar: Food & Fiber Production and Marketing

Application of molecular fluorescence spectroscopy for in situ, real-time detection of foodborne pathogens

This is an interdisciplinary research project between the Departments of Family and Consumer Sciences and Chemistry at New Mexico State University. The project proposes to develop a new, low-cost fluorescence spectrometer based on recently developed lab scale LED technology and advanced statistical data analysis. Furthermore, the proposed methodology is straightforward to implement and utilizes "green" chemistry that eliminates hazardous solvents. This complex problem is of great value at the local, state, national and international levels as more and more attention is focused on the safety of the world"s food supply.

Contact: Stuart Munson-McGee smunsonm@nmsu.edu and Efren Delgado edelgad@nmsu.edu

Pillar: Food & Fiber Production and Marketing

Genetic Improvement of Chile Pepper (Capsicum) Germplasm for New Mexico

Chile wilt caused by Phytophthora capsici and Verticillium dahliae can destroy up to 100% of a field. Resistant cultivars, which do not add cost to seed, are arguably the best way to manage disease. Molecular markers linked to resistance genes can alleviate the need for performing a bioassay to identify resistant individuals from early generations leading to a more effective breeding procedure. The efficiency increase can reduce years in a breeding program, saving literally thousands of dollars. This past year our program published"a molecular marker for Verticillium wilt resistance that will be used by breeding programs worldwide.

Contact: Paul Bosland pbosland@nmsu.edu

Pillar: Food & Fiber Production and Marketing

Guar Research

Guar research at NMSU has shown that guar can be successfully grown in New Mexico conditions and can help reduce reliance on guar imports (estimated US guar imports in 2012 was $1 billion) to meet guar gum needs of the US gas and oil industry. Cover crop research has provided cover crop options that can be integrated in organic or conventional cropping systems by local growers to meet their sustainability goals.

Contact: Kulbhushan Grover kgrover@nmsu.edu

Pillar: Food & Fiber Production and Marketing

Vegetable Research

Discovery of carotenoid-rich vegetables and improved production practices could combat food insecurity health issues in New Mexico."In New Mexico, the food insecurity rate is higher than the national average, thus escalating the risk of preventable chronic diseases like obesity. Access to fruits and vegetables rich in health-promoting bioavailable phytonutrients, such as beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, are key to preventing chronic diseases. Our lab has discovered yellow peppers with unique health-promoting carotenoid profiles which are currently being assessed for lutein and zeaxanthin absorption during gut digestion.

Contact: Ivette Guzman ivguzman@nmsu.edu

Pillar: Food & Fiber Production and Marketing

Alfalfa Variety Tests

Forage accounts for 25% of the total value of U.S. agriculture, occupies about 50% of the total land area of the U.S., and provides wildlife habitat. These values are likely higher for New Mexico and the already vital role played by the forage industry in New Mexico"s agricultural economy is likely to increase due to the demands of a resurging livestock industry. Based on research conducted at and coordinated from Tucumcari, if 5% of New Mexico"s alfalfa growers select the highest yielding alfalfa variety over the lowest yielding variety within a region, the return would be nearly $1.5M annually.

Contact: Leonard Lauriault lmlaur@nmsu.edu

Pillar: Food & Fiber Production and Marketing

Specialty Crops Research

More than 20 wineries produce approximately 350,000 gallons annually while the New Mexico Brewers Guild has 59 member breweries with an economic impact that grew from $264.5 million from 58,247 barrels in 2013 to $340 million from 85,230 barrels in 2017. We planted 20 acres of malted barley in 2016-2017 in response to industry demands and have acquired two mechanical hops pickers to catalyze a regional "co-hoperative". Our research is identifying specialty crops that can be value-added and branded "New Mexico True".

Contact: Kevin Lombard klombard@nmsu.edu

Pillar: Food & Fiber Production and Marketing

Development of Plants Rich in Bioactive Metabolites for Production in Semi-Arid Regions

We have developed methods to quantify the accumulation of plant metabolites that improve human health in plants grown in New Mexico. These methods are used to help regional producers characterize the nutritional value of their crops, for example, the carotenoid composition of dried red chile extracts; the essential oil composition of lavender; or the capsaicinoid composition of New Mexican landrace genotypes of chile. Well-described chemical compositions of plant oils and extracts are essential to ensure public safety and quality control.

Contact: Mary O'Connell moconnel@nmsu.edu

Pillar: Food & Fiber Production and Marketing

The limited choices of commercially available cultivars to the jujube industry will be greatly improved with the NMSU jujube project

There are currently only 5-6 jujube cultivars commercially available in the United States with Li as the dominant one. The New Mexico State University Sustainable Agriculture Science Center at Alcalde jujube program has been evaluating more than 50 cultivars in the past eight years and has identified 8-10 fresh eating cultivars. Those cultivars will give growers nationwide more choices with extended maturation dates and achieve $1-2 more premium per pound. The jujube acreage nationwide will increase significantly.

Contact: Shengrui Yao yaos@nmsu.edu

Pillar: Food & Fiber Production and Marketing

A new fruit crop-jujube is gradually adopted in New Mexico

The fruit industry in New Mexico is threatened by late frosts each year. Jujube can avoid late frosts and produce a reliable crop annually. With annual workshops, field days, and numerous media coverages and promotion, hundreds of home gardeners have planted jujubes in their backyards and over then fruit growers start to plant them commercially in New Mexico.

Contact: Shengrui Yao yaos@nmsu.edu

Pillar: Food & Fiber Production and Marketing

Release of Glandless Cotton Cultivar

One glandless cotton cultivar, Acala 1517-18 GLS, was released from the New Mexico Cotton Breeding Program, and its production for its added-value as feed and food will significantly increase the net income of the New Mexico cotton producers.

Contact: Jinfa Zhang jinzhang@nmsu.edu

Pillar: Food & Fiber Production and Marketing

Cotton Breeding Lines Released

Two new breeding lines were identified to be resistant to Fusarium wilt race 4, an extremely virulent fungal disease in the US cotton production, among all the current Upland cotton cultivars and breeding lines in the US. They will be used as the most important source of resistance to Fusarium wilt race 4 in developing cotton cultivars in the US.

Contact: Jinfa Zhang [jinzhang@nmsu.edu]mailto:(jinzhang@nmsu.edu)

Pillar: Food & Fiber Production and Marketing

Cover crops in limited irrigated winter wheat-sorghum fallow

The western US has lost more than 50% of native biodiversity since we started cultivation, substantially reducing the agronomic and ecosystem services. Crop diversification and cover crops research at the Agricultural Science Center-Clovis revealed improvement in efficiency, profitability, and environmental quality in dryland and limited-irrigation cropping systems, which in the long-term could increase water use efficiency by up to 25% and improve the response of selected soil health indicators by up to 17%.

Contact: Rajan Ghimire rghimire@nmsu.edu

Pillars: Food & Fiber Production and Marketing, Water Use and Conservation

Water Efficient, Low Input, Well Adapted, Alternative Crops to Diversify Cropping Systems in the Southern High Plains

Ogallala aquifer, the major irrigation resource in the Great Plains, is declining fast. If current use of the aquifer continues, more than 35% of irrigated acreage producing $2.5 billion of agriculture produce will be dryland in two decades. Our research on such crops as winter canola, safflower and guar is developing more resource-efficient and climate-resilient cropping systems that offer rotational benefits. In addition to sustaining the Ogallala aquifer, these crops produce raw materials for oil and natural gas, food, dairy and bioenergy industries. When fully developed, these crops will contribute $10 to $25 million yearly to the economy in the region.

Contact: Sangamesh Angadi angadis@nmsu.edu

Pillar: Food & Fiber Production and Marketing, Water Use and Conservation