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NMSU to host 2014 Western Pecan Growers conference, trade show

Global trends in nut production and consumption, the diagnosis of pecan nutrient disorders and a survey of pecan consumers' preferences will be among the presentations at the annual Western Pecan Growers Association conference and trade show March 2-4 in Las Cruces.



These pecan trees at New Mexico State University's Leyendecker Plant Science Center include Pawnee and Western varieties. The trees were donated to the university by Linwood Nursery. Global trends in nut production and consumption, the diagnosis of pecan nutrient disorders and a survey of pecan consumers' preferences will be among the presentations at the annual Western Pecan Growers Association conference and trade show March 2-4 in Las Cruces. (NMSU photo)

"Pecans are very important to New Mexico," said John White, director of the association. "The New Mexico pecan benefits from our ideal growing conditions. We're usually one of the top states in terms of pecan production."

The statewide pecan crop generates a significant amount of agricultural economic activity each year in New Mexico.

New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service will host the 2014 Western Pecan Growers Association conference and trade show at Hotel Encanto, 705 S. Telshor Blvd. in Las Cruces. The parking situation is limited around the hotel and overflow parking can use the Mesilla Valley Mall Designated Parking Area and take the hotel shuttle to the hotel and back.

This will mark the 48th year the organization, which represents growers in California, Arizona, New Mexico and West Texas, has sponsored the event. NMSU is a co-sponsor.

The annual event attracts about 500 people from the region, elsewhere in the U.S., and even from other countries. The trade show runs from noon-5 p.m. Sunday, March 2, then runs in tandem with the educational program Monday and Tuesday, March 3-4. It will feature about 70 vendors.
The popular annual Pecan Food Fantasy baking contest will also take place on Sunday.

Richard Heerema, NMSU pecan specialist, is the organizer of the conference's educational program, which takes place Monday and Tuesday. The program includes 17 presentations by researchers from NMSU, other universities and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as representatives from Farm Bureau and the pecan industry.

Topics range from the diagnosis of nutrient disorders, invasive pests and weed competition to the economic benefits of western agriculture and a panel discussion on industry-wide funding for pecans, moderated by the president of the U.S. Pecan Council. Other topics include the health benefits of eating pecans and a survey of pecan consumers' nutritional knowledge and pecan purchase preferences.

In addition to the educational program, trade show and baking contest, the program includes a Sunday welcome reception from 4-6 p.m. at the Azul Bar in the Hotel Encanto, as well as a Monday social hour at 6 p.m., immediately followed by the 7 p.m. banquet and awards ceremony. Continuing Education Credits will be offered by Arizona, New Mexico and Texas to attendees.

Presentations from several previous conferences are archived at http://aces.nmsu.edu/ces/pecans/pecan-management.html.

For full information about the 2014 conference or to register and pay online, visit www.westernpecan.org. This year all conference registration is either online or at the door. Online registration closes after Feb. 26. Interested parties can also contact White directly at 575-640-7555 or director@westernpecan.org.