Sustainable Agriculture Science Center at Alcalde

We are open Monday through Friday from 7:30am - 4:30pm; closed for lunch from 12:00 - 1:00pm.

For general information or questions, please contact the Rio Arriba County Extension Service at 505-685-4523 (Abiquiu) or 575-588-7423 (Tierra Amarilla). Or go to Rio Arriba County Extension Services.

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Gabrielle Rodriguez in field with shovel
Gabrielle Rodriguez (Courtesy of Gabrielle Rodriguez)

SASC Alcalde Welcomes New 8 Northern Pueblos Extension Agent

In the position as the 8 Northern Pueblos Extension Agent, Gabrielle will serve farmers, ranchers, and community members in: Picuris, Taos, Ohkay Owingeh, Santa Clara, Nambe, Pojoaque, San Idelfonso, and Tesuque pueblos. She will provide technical assistance with one-on-one visits and research-based information. Gabrielle wants to focus on the communities' youth populations and how to engage them in farming and ranching lifestyles. She will plan educational workshops for people of all ages as well. In her prior position of Extension Outreach Specialist, her line of work was based on a USDA Outreach grant and a Beginning Farmers and Ranchers grant; she provided educational workshops on agriculture related subjects and one-on-one assistance to farmers. In her new position, Gabrielle hopes “..that I may bring about involved agricultural programs to the Northern New Mexico Pueblos for people of all ages and skillsets who are interested in learning.”

Lily Conrad in field with backpack
Lily Conrad in Field (Photo Courtesy of Lily Conrad)

Water Science and Management Master's Student Researches Community Oriented Acequia Monitoring

Since beginning NMSU's Water Science and Management program, master's student, Lily Conrad, has focused her research efforts on bridging the gap between scientists, communities, and water resources. Conrad has installed a telemetry, or remote, monitoring system which collects and displays water data in near-real time on a web interface for six acequias in the Rio Hondo Valley in northern New Mexico. The interface has become a valuable resource by allowing irrigators and acequia leaders to view accurate, consistent, and transparent water resource data at their convenience. Conrad and her advisor, Dr. Fernald, anticipate that this monitoring network will cultivate a better local understanding of short-term water resources, highlight infrastructure improvement needs, and possibly improve acequia adaptive capacity. This research is problem-focused and community-oriented, which Conrad considers to be pivotal to all research.

Adrienne Rosenberg in Wildflower Plot with Yellow Coreopsis
Adrienne Rosenberg in Wildflower Plot (Photo Taken by Amy Larsen)

SASC Alcalde Continues Research of Native Bees

New Mexico has been called the "black box" of native bee research. With very little data collected in the state, there are great opportunities for discovery and surprise in Northern New Mexico. Adrienne Rosenberg is starting her second season of collecting and counting native bees. She is comparing an alfalfa plot, a cash crop grown by many New Mexican farmers that is also a pollinator plant, with native wildflowers from Plants of the Southwest. She is using the Streamlined Bee Monitoring Protocol for Assessing Pollinator Habitat and bee traps in each plot throughout the growing season and will compare bee diversity and species that are foraging in each plot for three seasons. Ideal habitat for native bees include a diverse and successional blooming forage from early spring to late fall, nest sites—mostly bare soil, and safety from pesticides. Her research will continue through 2021.

Hoop House with 3 people inside
Hoop House (Photo Taken by Richards)

Del Jimenez Revises Publication "High Tunnel Hoop House Construction for New Mexico"

Del Jimenez, Agricultural Specialist, is a master of hoop house construction. Built as a sort of greenhouse structure, high tunnel hoop houses rely on passive solar heat to extend seasonal growing and potentially improve income for an operation. Del has been teaching growers how to build hoop houses efficiently and economically for several years. This article reviews practical information as well as provides a material list with estimated costs. With hoop house structures, you can make the farming of food crops affordable, profitable, and fun all year long.

Amy Larsen holding in hand Bioreactor Soil
Amy Larsen with Bioreactor Materials (Photo Taken by Adrienne Rosenberg)

Amy Larsen's Bioreactor Research Covered in CSU Article

Because the need for soil regeneration and carbon sequestration to mitigate the effects of climate change and improve food security is so great, more data is needed to determine whether the results Dr. Johnson was able to achieve on his test plots at New Mexico State University can be duplicated in other climates and soil conditions. Instructions for building your own Johnson-Su bioreactor have been distributed widely including at the Center for Regenerative Agriculture website at Chico State.

In March 2019, the Center for Regenerative Agriculture started an online registry to keep track of who is participating in this effort and to log their results. Response was positive and CSU now has 35 participants registered from nine countries and seven U.S. states with new additions every week. Submissions have come from university researchers (including NMSU SASC Amy Larson), farmers, Master Gardener programs, sustainability-focused nonprofits, and curious members of the general community.

Alcalde administration building with acequia running by it
Acequia Flowing by Alcalde Building (Photo Taken by Geraint Smith)

Scientia Publishes Spanish Version of "Empowering High Desert Communities Built for Change: Acequia Project"

Scientia has published the Spanish version of "Empowering High Desert Communities Built for Change: Acequia Project", an article that was released in English in 2018. The article outlines a five year acequia research project conducted by a collaborative team of researchers from New Mexico State University, the University of New Mexico, Sandia National Laboratories, and the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.

By translating the original article into Spanish, Scientia and the Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems team hope to reach a wider, international audience; several Spanish speaking countries continue to water from an acequia system. The article will soon travel with José Rivera, Professor Emeritus at the University of New Mexico's School of Architecture and Planning, to Spain for the 10th anniversary of World Heritage designation of the Tribunal de las Aguas de la Vega de Valencia. Copies of the Spanish version have also been sent to other acequia scholars and colleagues in Mexico and Peru. Thank you to all of the people who have worked on translating this article.

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Sustainable Agriculture Science Center at Alcalde
371 County Road 40
P.O. Box 159
Alcalde, N.M. 87511
Phone: (505) 852-4241
Fax: (505) 852-2857


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