Past Events & Announcements


Events


2020

Shengrui Yao Holding Jujube
Dr. Shengrui Yao Holding Jujube Fruits (Photo Taken by Adrienne Rosenberg)

Jujube Growing Habits and Pruning Workshop- CANCELED!

Due to COVID-19, we have canceled this event. If you would like to ask questions, Dr. Shengrui Yao is available by phone at 505-852-4241 or yaos@nmsu.edu.

March 20, 2020, 1:30- 3:30pm

NMSU Sustainable Agriculture Science Center Alcalde

Join Dr. Shengrui Yao for this free workshop. We will start with a 60 min presentation about jujube basics and growing habits, followed by a field jujube pruning demonstration.

For registration: please call Elena/Amanda at 505-852-4241.

If you are an individual with a disability and need an auxiliary aid or service please contact Shengrui Yao at 505-852-4241505-852 by March 15, 2020.


Shengrui Yao Pointing to Branch with Participant
Shengrui Yao at Growers Workshop 2019 (Photo Taken by Adrienne Rosenberg)

Annual Fruit Grower Workshop

March 12, 2020 8:30-4:00

Santa Fe Fairground Building

Join NMSU's Dr. Shengrui Yao and others for the Annual Fruit Grower Workshop. Topics include: IPM, Backyard Grapes, Cider Apple Cultivars and Hard Cider, Home Orchard Management 101, Cover Crop, Soil Health and Fertility Management, Berry Production, Farm Land Leasing Structures, and Fruit Marketing Strategies Panel Discussion. Lunch is provided along with coffee.

Pre-registration fee for meal and materials is $15 per person before March 6. The registration fee will be $20 after March 6 and at the door; cash and check only! To pre-register, please call Monica at 505-983-4615 at ACES Cooperative Extension Northern District Office.

If you are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate in the meeting, please contact Donald Martinez by March 6, 2020 at 505-685-4523 or via email at donmart@nmsu.edu.


Shengrui Yao Pruning Apple Stock
Shengrui Yao at Growers Workshop 2019 (Photo Taken by Adrienne Rosenberg)

Fruit Tree Pruning Workshop

Thursday, February 27, 2020 1:00- 4:00pm

Sustainable Agriculture Science Center Alcalde

Presentation + Hands-on Experience!

Join Shengrui Yao, NMSU Alcalde Center, Don Martinez, Rio Arriba County Extension, and Tom Dominguez, Santa Fe County Extension, for an afternoon of pruning! The tree species covered include apple, peach, cherry, plum, apricot, and blackberry. Please bring your pruners with you.

The workshop is limited to 40 participants. The registration fee is $10/person. Only cash or check is accepted. Please make the check payable to New Mexico State University. For registration please call Amanda/Elena at 505-852-4241.

If you are an individual with a disability and need an auxiliary aid or service please contact Shengrui Yao at 505-852-4241 by Feb. 24, 2020.


2019

Native Bee on Gaillardia flower
Native Bee on Gaillardia (Photo Taken by: Adrienne Rosenberg)

How to Support Pollinators in Northern New Mexico

Tuesday, September 24th, 2019 4:00-6:30pm

Sustainable Agriculture Science Center Alcalde

Join us at the NMSU Sustainable Agriculture Science Center for an interactive workshop that will guide participants through the observation, identification, and ecology of pollinators. Emily May (The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation) and Adrienne Rosenberg (NMSU Sustainable Agriculture Science Center) will be discussing topics including pollinator habitat needs, environmental stressors, community science opportunities for pollinator monitoring, and how to create more high value habitat for pollinators in northern New Mexico. The workshop will include a field tour of wildflower mixes being tested at the Science Center for attracting and supporting pollinators. Don Martinez (NMSU Cooperative Extension Service, Rio Arriba County) will facilitate the workshop.

Workshop fee is $10. Light refreshments will be provided.

For more information and to register, please contact Jaime Taylor at the Rio Arriba County Extension Office at 505 685-4523. Please RSVP by September 23rd.


Red Jujube Fruit on Green Branch
Jujube Fruit (Photo Taken by Shengrui Yao)

Jujube Workshop and Fruit Tasting

Tuesday, Oct.1, 2019, 2:00- 4:30pm

Sustainable Agriculture Science Center Alcalde

Join NMSU Alcalde Center's Fruit Specialist Dr. Shengrui Yao for this exciting workshop where participants may sample 40-plus varieties.

"Since jujube cultivars are originally from China, where Zao is the word for this fruit, I wanted to keep the traditional name in the trademark," Yao said.

Thirty-four varieties receiving a new trademark are propagated from cultivars Yao received from China in 2011. She has studied each cultivar for traits that will thrive in New Mexico's various climate zones. Gradually, she will publish the top performers in each region and for different purposes.

"Jujube fruit trees are an excellent alternative fruit for growers in northern New Mexico," Yao said. "The trees bloom from late May to early August, so late frosts will not prevent fruit from setting. They also do well in semi-arid conditions. Jujubes are low maintenance plants and produce a reliable crop annually."

This event is limited to 40 attendees. Most jujube trees are loaded with fruit this year but the season is much later than normal. We may also have some dry fruit samples and jujube snacks in addition to the fresh samples. To register: please call Anna at 505-852-4241.


Farmers irrigating in field
Farmers Irrigating in Field (Photo Taken by Rob Heyduck)

Bindweed Workshop

Friday, August 09, 2019, 1- 3pm

Sustainable Agriculture Science Center Alcalde

Do you ever look around your garden or farm and wonder if the bindweed will ever stop? Frustrated with pulling endless bindweed that chokes out your crops? NMSU SASC's Del Jimenez along with the Rio Arriba Cooperative Extension Agency is offering a workshop all about bindweed and the bindweed mite, a parasite that infects the plant and subsequently reduces bindweed growth.

Please let us know your coming by RSVPing with the Cooperative Extension Office at (505) 852-2668. Please come prepared to take some infected plants home with you! Bring a small cooler, ice or ice packs in a cooler, and a paper sack.


Gala Apples in a Pile
Gala Apples (Photo Taken by Shengrui Yao)

Free Fruit Tree Grafting Workshop

Wednesday, July 31, 2019 6- 7:30 pm

Sustainable Agriculture Science Center Alcalde

New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service fruit specialist Shengrui Yao will host a fruit tree grafting workshop.

Grafting is very useful in fruit tree production for both commercial growers and home gardeners. There are many reasons to graft. "Commercial growers can use grafting to propagate their own trees especially unique cultivars," Yao said. "Top-grafting can be used to switch cultivars to make the orchard more profitable."

Home gardeners can graft multiple cultivars in the same tree to keep heirloom cultivars alive, or introduce pollenizer varieties to a solitary tree. "Grafting can also be used to save trees that have partially damaged bark," she said.

There will be a presentation first and then another one-hour, hands-on session. "Please bring a small, sharp knife/grafting knife with you for the hands-on session," Yao said.

This free workshop is limited to 20 participants. For registration, please call Augusta or Anna at 505-852-4241.


Rob Pruning Trees during Winter
Rob Heyduck Pruning Tree (Photo Courtesy NMSU)

Fruit Tree Pruning Workshop

March 8, 2019, 1:30- 4:00pm

Sustainable Agriculture Science Center Alcalde

Join NMSU SASC and the County Extension Services for an afternoon of presentations and hands-on experience. The tree species covered include apple, peach, cherry, plum, apricot, and blackberry. Organizers are Shengrui Yao (NMSU Alcalde Center), Tony Valdez (Taos County Extension), Tom Dominguez (Santa Fe County Extension), and Don Martinez (Rio Arriba County Extension).

This event will be limited to 40 participants. Please register online here or call Anna/Augusta at 505-852-4241.


Gala Apples in a Pile
Gala Apples (Photo Taken by: Shengrui Yao)

2019 Annual Fruit Grower Workshop

Friday, March 1, 2019 8:30am- 3pm

Join the Sustainable Agriculture Science Center's Shengrui Yao and the Cooperative Extension Service for the 2019 Annual Fruit Growers Workshop at historic Los Luceros Ranch for a day of learning. Topics include: Frost monitoring and crop damage mitigation, Orchard fertility management and fertilization, Fruit and nut species and cultivars for northern New Mexico, Product updates on pest and disease management, Pest pheromone disruption and monitor trap demonstration, and Apple orchard renovation/pruning demonstration. Registration cost includes meal and materials: $15 before Feb. 20 and $20 after Feb. 20. Contact Joy Czmyrid at the Santa Fe County Extension Office 505-471-4711.


Green Pepper
Pepper (Photo Taken by Adrienne Rosenberg)

2019 New Mexico Organic Farming Conference

Friday, February 15- Saturday, February 16, 2019

Join the New Mexico Organic Farming Conference on Friday, February 15th 7:00 am to 8:00 pm and Saturday, February 16th 7:00 am to 5:00 pm at Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town- 800 Rio Grande Blvd. NW Albuquerque, NM 87104. This is an annual opportunity for farmers, ranchers, and researchers from around the Southwest to share their experiences and expertise! Session tracks for include: Water, Soil, Management, Plant/Seeds, New/Exciting. The keynote speaker is Ron Rosmann.

NMSU SASC Alcalde's very own faculty and staff will be presenting at the conference. Steve Guldan, Superintendent and Professor of the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, will be presenting "Acequia Hydrology: Surface Water-Groundwater Interactions in Northern New Mexico." David Archuleta, Farm and Ranch Supervisor, will be outside the conference presenting a smaller tractor built for row-crop farming. David will be demonstrating this unique tractor and will talk about the implements that we are using in our smaller row-crop plots. This is a great demo to check out if you are thinking about a small tractor purchase!


A Red Chile Pepper Plant
A Red Chile Pepper Plant (Photo Taken by Andres Leighton)

2019 New Mexico Chile Conference

Monday, February 4-Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Registration is now open for the world's largest conference dedicated to chile peppers. The 2019 New Mexico Chile Conference hosted by New Mexico State University's Chile Pepper Institute runs from Feb. 4-5 at Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces.

This year's conference will host experts who will speak on various topics including: developing and improving the New Mexico chile industry's sustainable competitive advantage, organic management practices in chile peppers, updates on the New Mexico Chile Certification Program and panel discussion research update on green chile de-stemming.

The conference will also feature booths from companies that can assist New Mexico chile pepper growers to sustain excellence and encourage profitable yields. Some of these companies include J&J Supply, Western Blend Fertilizer, New Mexico Department of Agriculture and Farm Credit of New Mexico.


2018

Jujubes on Branch
Jujube Fruit (Photo Taken by Shengrui Yao)

AmeriZao Jujube Fruit Tasting Workshop at Los Lunas

Friday, September 28, 2018, 2- 4 p.m.

NMSU Extension fruit specialist Shengrui Yao will lead the workshop where participants may sample 40-plus varieties. "Since jujube cultivars are originally from China, where Zao is the word for this fruit, I wanted to keep the traditional name in the trademark," Yao said. Thirty-four varieties receiving a new trademark are propagated from cultivars Yao received from China in 2011. She has studied each cultivar for traits that will thrive in New Mexico's various climate zones. Gradually, she will publish the top performers in each region and for different purposes. "Jujube fruit trees are an excellent alternative fruit for growers in northern New Mexico," Yao said. "The trees bloom from late May to early August, so late frosts will not prevent fruit from setting. They also do well in semi-arid conditions. Jujubes are low maintenance plants and produce a reliable crop annually." The workshop will include a presentation about jujube flowering and fruiting habits, followed by a fruit tasting session and a field tour.


Man with mic speaking at Field Day 2016
Rob Heyduck speaking at Field Day 2016 (Photo Taken by Adrienne Rosenberg)

SASC Field Day

Friday, August 10, 2018, Registration at 7:30 am

Join us for our annual field day to learn about all the work being done at the Science Center! Topics include fruit and berry production, composting, acequia hydrology, biological pest control, bindweed mites, tractor and implement maintenance, and high tunnel fruit and vegetable production. Lunch is provided. Exhibits and displays from various local organizations.

"Attendees will learn about current research, Extension and demonstration projects carried out at and through the science center, as well as view exhibits on other agriculture-related programs and projects serving farmers, ranchers and gardeners in the region," said Steve Guldan, superintendent of the farm.

Field tours will begin at 9 a.m. Two routes will be available: fruits and insects; or acequia hydrology, high tunnels, crops and composting. A free lunch will be served at noon. Following lunch, special topic sessions will be held on tractor and implement maintenance by David Archuleta, Alcalde farm supervisor; bindweed mites and bio-control by Jimenez; and heritage grains trials.

Call 505-852-4241 for more information.


Trees in Orchard
Trees in Orchard (Photo Taken by Andres Leighton)

Fruit Tree Grafting Workshop

Thursday, July 19, 2018, 6:00-7:30 pm

Join SASC Alcalde in our orchard for a presentation and hands-on experience with fruit tree grafting with Fruit Specialist, Shengrui Yao. Please bring a small sharp knife for the hands-on session.

For registration, please contact Augusta/Anna at 505-852-4241.


Jujube Growing Habits and Pruning Workshops

Jujube Fruit on Branch
Jujube Fruit (Photo Taken by Shengrui Yao)

NMSU Los Lunas Center Pruning Demonstration

Thursday, March 22, 2018, 2:00-3:00pm

NMSU Alcalde Center Presentation + Pruning Demonstration

Thursday, March 29, 2018, 1:30-3:30 pm

Join Shengrui Yao to prune and learn about jujubes in two separate workshops. Jujube (Ziziphus jujuba Mill), also called Chinese date, red date, or Tsao, is native to China. The jujube fruit is nutritious. It can be relied on to produce a crop every year, because it flowers late and therefore avoids late-frost crop losses common with apples, peaches, cherries, and other traditional tree fruit.

For registration: please call Anna/Augusta at 505-852-4241 or do it online at http://rsvp.nmsu.edu/rsvp/jujubehabits


2018 Annual Fruit Grower Workshop

Thursday, March 1, 2018, 8:30 am- 3:30 pm

Join SASC faculty and staff along with other fruit experts at Los Luceros Ranch, Alcalde, NM for a day of discussion and field demonstrations on fruit growing in New Mexico.Topics include: updates of fruit research at Alcalde (with Shengrui Yao), grape varieties, bee and pollination in fruit production, marketing and local farmers market discussion panel, NM organic certification and regulations, acequia legacy in Northern New Mexico (with Steve Guldan), tree planting and transplanting and management, and gopher management.

Pre-registration fee for meal and materials is $12 per person before Feb. 20 and $15 after Feb. 20. To pre-register, please call Joy at Santa Fe County Extension Office at 505-471-4711.


Fruit Tree Pruning Workshop

Thursday, March 8, 2018,1:30- 4:00pm

Join SASC for a day of hands-on pruning and presentations. We will cover apple, peach, cherry, plum, apricot, and blackberry. Instructors include Shengrui Yao (NMSU SASC Alcalde Center), Tony Valdez (Taos County Extension), Tory Hougland (RAIPAP), Don Martinez (Rio Arriba County Extension), Tom Dominguez (Santa Fe County Extension).

This event will be limited to 35 participants. Please register online or Call Augusta/Anna at 505-852-4241.


January Field Day: Growing Winter Greens in Hoop Houses

Chard in Hoop House
Chard in Hoop House (Photo Taken by Alec Richards)
Friday, January 19, 2018, 1:00 - 4:00 pm

Passive heating in low-cost high tunnels (also commonly referred to as hoop houses) allows growers to produce greens such as spinach, kale, and lettuce during the winter months in Northern New Mexico. "We've seen that cool season crops can do well despite the low temperatures and short days. We keep experimenting with different crops, varieties, and management practices to see how winter production can be maximized," according to Robert Heyduck, Senior Research Specialist.

Del Jimenez, NMSU Extension agriculture specialist with the Rural Agricultural Improvement and Public Affairs Project, will discuss the construction and durability of the hoop houses; Heyduck and Ivette Guzman, a horticulturalist in the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, will give an overview of crop and temperature results to-date. "We invite people to come and see the kind of growth possible during the winter in these unheated structures," said Steve Guldan, an agronomist in NMSU's Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences and the SASC Superintendent.

The event is free and open to the public and will include a tour of the hoop houses. Refreshments will be provided. For more information or directions, contact the Alcalde center at 505-852-4241. The Alcalde staff requests that visitors not bring dogs onto the farm property unless they are assistance dogs.


2017

Annual Jujube Workshop

Wednesday, September 27, 2017, 2:00- 4:30 pm

Fall cool nights and warm days trigger the ripening of fruit, including the Chinese date, commonly called jujube. The annual fruit-tasting workshop, held by Cooperative Extension Service fruit specialist Shengrui Yao, will feature a presentation about jujube flowering and fruiting habits, a tasting session of the 40-plus cultivars, and a field tour.

Since 2010, Yao has promoted jujube fruit as a solution to the significant financial impact experienced by northern New Mexico fruit growers because of late frosts in mid-May. Jujube trees begin blooming in June.

"Some of the cultivars are very impressive with around 50 percent of the trees carrying 5-10 pounds or more of fruit in 2017, third year after planting at Alcalde," Yao said.

The free workshop at the Sustainable Agriculture Science Center in Alcalde is limited to 40 participants. You can register online or call Augusta/Anna at 505-852-4241.


Shengrui Yao Touching Fruit Tree
Shengrui Yao with Fruit Tree (Photo Taken by Jane Moorman)

Fruit Tree Grafting Workshop

Tuesday, July 25, 2017, 6:00 - 7:30 pm

"There are many reasons to graft," says Shengrui Yao, NMSU Cooperative Extension Service fruit specialist. "Grafting can be used to save trees that have partially damaged bark. Or to switch cultivars to make an orchard more profitable."

Join us for a fruit tree grafting presentation and hands-on experience with Shengrui Yao, Fruit Specialist. Please bring a small sharp knife for the hands-on session.

This event will be limited to 20 participants. Please register by contacting Augusta or Anna at 505-852-4241 or register online at: http://rsvp.nmsu.edu/rsvp/fruitree2017 .


From Bloom to Bloom: Medicinal Herbs for Pollinator & Human Health

Friday, June 16, 2017, 9 am- 12 pm

From Bloom to Boom is a project initiated by NMSU- Alcalde Sustainable Agriculture Science Center Horticulturist Robert Heyduck, farmer-researcher Todd Bates of NM Native Plant Recyclers, and queen honey bee breeder-researcher Melanie Kirby of Zia Queenbees Farm & Field Institute. This first investigation will share information on Oregano de la Sierra- a well known native New Mexican medicinal herb.

Todd Bates will share information on how he cultivates the plant- from its wild mountain roots, to adapting it to lower elevations along the Rio Grande and on its medicinal properties. Robert Heyduck will share information on the process of the investigation and sampling/collection protocol for assessing the potential benefits of this glorious plant. Melanie Kirby will share information on the importance of habitat and its relationship to pollinator health and fortifying locally adapted strains of pollinators.

Additional guest lecturers include: Dr. Don Hyder, a chemist at San Juan College (Farmington) who will share information on chemical analysis and composition of medicinal NM honeys and hive products.... Dr. Olivia Messinger-Carril will share pollinator identification information and about her North American native bee book (Princeton Press), Know the Bees in your Backyard Dr. Ashley Bennett ,Small Farm IPM Specialist, Los Lunas NMSU Agriculture Science Center Dr. Jose D. Villa, USDA-ARS Baton Rouge Bee Research Unit (retired)

This is a FREE event! Open to the public. Registration starts at 8:30 am. Please see flier for more details or call Anna Trujillo at 505.852.2668.

Registration begins at 8:30 am at NMSU SASC in Alcalde. At 9 am the event will begin. At 10:30 am the group will move to Todd Bates field in Embudo. Please consider carpooling and there will be snacks provided.


Annual Fruit Grower Workshop

March 2, 2017, 8:30 am - 3:30 pm

Come to Los Luceros Ranch in Alcalde, NM for a day of learning about organic fruit production and pruning with Shengrui Yao, crop selection, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), soil building, FSMA food safety requirements, and more! Lunch and coffee will be provided. Pre-registration is due February 15 with a $12 fee. From February 15- 22, the registration fee is $15. Please contact Joy at Santa Fe County Extension Office at 505-471-4711 or Anna at NMSU Alcalde Center at 505-852-4241.


Mountain West Seed Summit & Field Trip

Summit: "Honoring Origins and Seeding the Future," March 3 - 4, 2017

Join Seed Stewards from the Mountain West and beyond for three days of seed knowledge and networking in beautiful Santa Fe. The Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance, in partnership with the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union and the McCune Foundation, presents a two-day summit and one-day field trip focused on training and inspiring seed producers across the Rocky Mountain region. The Mountain West Seed Summit will include presentations, demonstrations, hands-on activities, lively discussions, seed exchanges, art, music, and more!


Two Farmers Walking Plowed Field
Field and Farmers (Photo Taken by Rob Heyduck)

New Mexico Organic Farming Conference

February 17 - 18, 2017

The 2017 New Mexico Organic Farming Conference is an annual opportunity for farmers, ranchers, and researchers from around the Southwest to share their experiences and expertise at the Marriot Hotel in Albuquerque, NM. New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service is a proud organizer of the conference. Please join us!


Announcements

2019


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 a Hand of Finished Johnson-Su Bioreactor Compost
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.


Diego Delgado Head Shot
Diego Delgado, SASC Alcalde Field Laborer, 2018-2019

Youth Field Laborer Diego Delgado Returns to SASC for Second Season

The Sustainable Agriculture Science Center Alcalde welcomes back local resident Diego Delgado to our team! He rejoins the field crew for his second season as Farm Laborer. Diego is involved in the several projects around the campus including fruit harvest, field maintenance, and lawn upkeep. He has also been working closely with Amy Larsen and Rob Heyduck with the Johnson-Su composting research project.


2018


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.


Sustainable Agriculture Science Center Alcalde Entryway and Building
SASC Entryway (Photo Taken by Adrienne Rosenberg)

Historic SASC Building Receives Touch Ups

During the Summer of 2018, Sustainable Agriculture Science Center's office building received a touch-up. Included in the building repairs were a new coat of exterior paint; the repairing and restoration of vigas, beams, and headers; and asbestos abatement. In addition, the upper story windows were replaced in order to provide better heat retention. The Science Center continues to serve the public as a nexus of innovative agricultural research and traditional farming/ranching methods while reflecting New Mexico's cultural and architectural legacy.

During the Spanish occupation, the site was a part of a large land grant given by the Spanish Crown to General Juan Andres Archuleta, an officer in the Spanish Army in the early 1700s. Two buildings on the property served as the seat of justice, which is where the name "Alcalde" originated (meaning mayor or Justice of the Peace), for an area that now covers three counties. One building, which still resides on the property, was utilized as the courthouse.

Later the property became the San Gabriel Ranch, a dude ranch that catered to the wealthy and well known-- including the Rockefellers, Mary Cabot Wheelwright, and Georgia O'Keefe, who moved to Abiquiu after visiting the San Gabriel Ranch. In the 1910s, the ranch was mortgaged to Florence Bartlett; and in 1923, she built her home-- what is now the present main office of the Science Center. Ms. Bartlett attempted to establish the International Folk Art Museum onsite but was unsuccessful. Today the museum resides in Santa Fe. In 1950, she deeded the ranch property to the State of New Mexico. The Museum of New Mexico received part of the property, but now knowing what to do with it, the museum later sold it to New Mexico State University. Since 1952, NMSU has been using the site for agricultural research. The main office building, Ms. Bartlett's home, was obtained by NMSU in the late 1960s from the Welfare Department.


RAIPAP Staff in Front of SASC Building
Raipap Staff (Photo Taken by Adrienne Rosenberg)

NMSU Receives USDA Grant to Provide Ag Workshops for Pueblo Farmers, Ranchers

During the past 18 years, New Mexico State University has received federal grant funding to provide research-based agricultural information to pueblo farmers and ranchers through workshops, conferences and one-on-one consultation. The College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences has received a $197,492 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant for the 2019 fiscal year. "The funds will be used to continue our outreach program to farmers in the 10 southern and eight northern pueblos in our state," said Edmund Gomez, NMSU program director. "This funding will allow access to our workshops and ag days to all pueblo farmers and ranchers." Through a coordinated effort led by the Cooperative Extension Service's New Mexico Pueblo Outreach Project, the pueblo agricultural producers are made aware of USDA programs that can benefit their ability to own and operate their family farms and ranches; be individually assisted in obtaining participation in these USDA programs; develop markets to increase profitability; and utilize research-based educational and technical assistance programs that are specifically developed for the target audience.


Presa with Wheel and Clouds
Presa with Wheel (Photo Taken by Adrienne Rosenberg)

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

Scientia, a science communication publication, has published "Empowering High Desert Communities Built for Change: Acequia Project,” which 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. The project, funded by the National Science Foundation, investigated how humans and nature interact in a mutually beneficial relationship through our historical and crucial acequia systems. The multifaceted study examined the various aspects of socioeconomics, culture, hydrology, and ecosystems in order to understand potential "tipping points" and feedback loops associated with population growth and climate change.

A book with the summary and results of the project will be available in 2019. Contact Adrienne Rosenberg at arosen@nmsu.edu for more information.


Robert Heyduck in High Tunnel with Cucumbers
Robert Heyduck in High Tunnel Harvesting Cucumbers (Photo Taken by Adrienne Rosenberg)

SASC Alcalde Experiments with Growing Cucumbers in High Tunnels for Summer Crop

SASC Alcalde is continuously experimenting with various row crops in the high tunnels/ hoop houses in order to determine the advantages of growing inside these protected, warm environments. In the past, the Science Center has experimented with raspberries and winter greens, but never with an annual summer crop. Rob Heyduck, Senior Research Assistant, has conducted trials for the past two seasons with Corinto ("slicer") and Picolino ("cocktail") cucumbers. The intention of this research is to compare yield and harvest time from inside the hoop house and outside in the field.

The Picolino and Corinto cucumbers, both mosaic resistant, were started in pots in organic potting media and placed in a 16 x 40 ft high tunnel. In mid- May, after the danger of frost had passed, these seedlings were transplanted inside the high tunnel while an equal number were planted outside in a plot. Both varieties were also direct seeded, equal in number, inside the hoop and outside in the field.

All cucumber plants were trained to a single leader up a bamboo stake and twine affixed to a trellis wire at five ft above the ground. In addition, flowers and fruits were pruned from the vines below a height of 30 inches to allow the vines to become well established. When a vine reached 30 inches, fruits were allowed to mature and were harvested at a target size relative to variety recommendations (95-135 mm for Picolino and 165-205 mm for Corinto). Each harvested cucumber was then assessed for length, girth, weight, and marketability.

As of 5 Sept, 2018, 1,583 cucumbers were harvested, or 224 kg, compared to 2,176 cucumbers weighing 273 kg harvested by the same date in 2017. Fruit marketability also declined, with 58% meeting USDA No. 1 quality as compared to 62% in 2017. Warm weather early in the 2018 season appeared to encourage growth, and harvesting began a week earlier than in 2017, but highs in the 90s through much of June and July appeared to slow fruit production. Picolino far outnumbered the yield of Corinto but Corinto has outweighed the Picolino.

In addition, insect pests appear to be more active this year, especially affecting the quality of the thinner-skinned Picolino. Rotation is suggested in order to mitigate bug issues. No formal analyses of the differences between the varieties or planting method have been conducted at this time. The cucumber harvests will continue until frost.

Rob's hope is that SASC can provide farmers and gardeners with guidance on how to build an appropriate grow structure as well as how to utilize the structure year around, not just in the shoulder and winter seasons. Currently, Rob and SASC are assessing the data.


Bee Balm with Purple Blooms
Bee Balm (Photo Taken by Melanie Kirby)

Update: Oregano de la Sierra and Honey Bee Trials

In July of 2018, SASC sent nectar and honey samples off to San Juan College for gas chromatography analysis. It is well known that Oregano de la Sierra (Monarda fistulosa) produces the antibacterial compounds carvacrol and thymol, which make the plant taste like "oregano." But if the bees feed on Monarda's nectar, do those components show up in the gathered nectar in the hive?

Unfortunately, the samples' results portray the two properties in the nectar but not in the stored honey. Therefore, it is unknown if the honey from Monarda pollen and nectar actually benefit bees. There were some changes in disease and mite levels. Mite loads decreased after feeding on the Oregano de la Sierra crop but it was observed that the levels rose again by the end of September.

The research trials were funded for one year. There is no more incoming data.


Shengrui Yao with Jujube Tree
Shengrui Yao with Jujube Tree (Photo Taken by Jane Moorman)

NMSU Launches Website Featuring Newly Trademarked Jujube Cultivars

AmeriZao is the new trademarked name for jujube fruit trees tested by New Mexico State University's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

"Since these cultivars are originally from China, where Zao is the word for this fruit, I wanted to keep the traditional name in the trademark," said Shengrui Yao, NMSU Extension fruit specialist. "AmeriZao cultivars are American jujubes since they have been propagated and tested in New Mexico."

Yao hopes the NMSU Jujube website will help people identify the cultivar of jujube they may currently own, or help growers select cultivars in the future.


2017


Hive Bar of Full of Bees
Bar of Bees (Photo Courtesy of Zia Queen Bees)

SASC at Alcalde Part of Team that Receives USDA Grant to Conduct Experiment with Honey Bees and Oregano de la Sierra

The NMSU SASC has partnered with San Juan College, the USDA-ARS Bee Research Lab, and a pair of local producers (Melanie Kirby and Mark Spitzig of Zia Queen Bees and farmer Todd Bates) in an experiment entitled "From Bloom to Boom: Investigating Oregano de la Sierra (Monarda fistulosa) for Potential Bee and Human Health."

The project received a year long USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) in 2016. The team will determine the phytochemicals present in the nectar of Monarda fistulosa var menthifolia and in honey originating from its flowers, and evaluate their effects on bee health and nutrition. At each of three Northern New Mexico sites, bees will be fed Monarda nectar in isolation and free-choice. Nectar and honey will be analyzed by gas chromatography for a range of plant chemical compounds that have shown bactericidal, viricidal, and miticidal activity in previous research, among them carvacrol, thymol, p-cymene. By feeding bees in isolation and free-choice, the team will seek to determine a potential bee preference and evaluate the parasite loads of bees fed different diets. The team also aims to identify a range of native pollinators that also visit Monarda. Results will be disseminated through a local field day, through the website Herbs4Bees, and at national and international professional meetings.

The goal, as a team of professional farmers and researchers, is to examine and promote Monarda as a new crop and/or accessory planting to positively affect bee health in situ and also produce a hive product and field crop that can be processed in a number of ways either as honey, a dried herb (flowers and leaves), or as an extracted product containing the volatile compounds.


2016


Students a Building Hoop House
Students Building a Hoop House (Photo Taken by Jane Moorman)

NMSU Receives USDA Grant to Expand Agricultural Education Program to 18 Pueblos

New Mexico State University's beginning farmers and ranchers program that helps Native American farmers and ranchers succeed in agriculture has been extended three more years and expanded to include both the eight northern and 10 southern pueblos. For the past three years, NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service's Rural Agricultural Improvement and Public Affairs Project has conducted the Southern Pueblos Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Program helping 59 Native American beginning farmers and ranchers to improve their agricultural operation.