Home News Local News A field day for growers and gardeners

A field day for growers and gardeners

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Participants in the New Mexico State University Agricultural Science Center field day work in the field. (Submitted Photo)

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Thursday evening growers, gardeners, 4H members and some young insect enthusiasts attended a New Mexico State University Agricultural Science Center field day. Participants also had a chance to meet Dan Arvizu, the new chancellor; and John Floros, the new president of New Mexico State University.

Representatives from the event. (Submitted Photo)

The keynote speaker was Alisa Ogden past president of the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association on “The Good, the Bad and the Blonde.” Ms Ogden discussed the history of the Agricultural Science Center in conjunction with the history of her pioneer family the Forehands who homesteaded a ranch near Loving in 1890 that the family still operates in its sixth generation. The Ogden family farm which she and her brother Craig manage was established in 1916 and is now being worked by fourth generation Ogden children. She also discussed the impact of 1517 cotton that was developed by NMSU cotton breeders and New Mexico growers including her family which has improved the quality of about half of the upland cotton varieties available in the world which have incorporated the 1517 genes for longer and stronger cotton fibers.

Kevin Lombard also spoke about the potential to grow specialty hops in southeastern New Mexico and demonstrated hops harvesting equipment. A number of area brewers are interested in the possibility of growing and brewing fresh hops in their microbreweries.

Dinner was provided by a local agricultural organization, the Yucca Cowbelles and Woolgrowers, who promote the beef and lamb industries in New Mexico.

A children’s insect safari was available for budding entomologists who found numerous insects including alfalfa caterpillars, three-cornered alfalfa hopper, collops beetles, ladybugs, parasitic wasps and a variety of spiders.

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Antique tractor enthusiasts like David McDonald of Loving were available to explain the history and mechanics of approximately 10 vintage tractors.

A field tour was also conducted to explain trials conducted at the research farm by NMSU faculty including jujube variety trials, guar and grape production, cotton entomology research, and potential use of produced water from oil production. Dr Soum Sonogo a plant pathologist also spoke about a new pathogen Fusarium race 4 (FOV4), which he recovered from cotton fields near El Paso.