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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU to host state sustainable agriculture conference in Los Lunas Dec. 13

LOS LUNAS – Guar, guayule, canola and papa criolla potatoes could be potential crops for New Mexico farmers.


Woman holding plant showing potato roots.
Stephanie Walker, New Mexico State University Extension vegetable specialist and researcher, displays one of the papa criolla type potato plants during harvest of a trial plot in Los Lunas in 2016. Walker will report on the study NMSU participated in during the New Mexico Sustainable Agriculture Conference in Los Lunas Wednesday, Dec. 13. (NMSU Photo)

Finding alternative crops that will help agricultural producers be sustainable is one of the goals of New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences research.

Research on guar, canola and the South American papa criolla potatoes will be among the presentations at the New Mexico Sustainable Agriculture Conference Wednesday, Dec. 13.

Enhancing farmer sustainability is the theme of the conference that will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the University of New Mexico-Valencia Campus, 280 La Entrada Road, Los Lunas.

The free conference is funded by Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education. Lunch will be provided. To access the conference agenda and to register visit rsvp.nmsu.edu/rsvp/sustainable2017.

“This conference will enable farmers, educators and stakeholders to learn more about prospective new and profitable crops for New Mexico,” said John Idowu, NMSU Cooperative Extension Service agronomist.

With the help of U.S. Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant funding, NMSU is partnering with the University of Arizona, Colorado State University, Colorado School of Mines, Bridgestone American and the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service to work on a research and extension project focused on developing a sustainable bioeconomy for arid regions to address the nation’s needs for biofuels and bioproducts production in the Southwest.

Guayule and guar, two plants that grow well in the Southwest, are potential feedstocks for developing not only biofuel but also high-value bioproducts such as rubber, polysaccharide and resin.

Presentations on how to grow guar and guayule will be given during the conference.

Kulbhushan Grover, NMSU agroecologist/agronomist, will discuss guar as a potential alternative crop in New Mexico, while David Dierig, Bridgestone agronomist, will present on guayule and Bridgestone’s perspective on a domestic source of natural rubber in the desert.

Other presentations on alternative crops will include “Canola: A Multipurpose Alternative Crop for the Region,” by Sangu Angadi, crop physiologist at NMSU’s Agricultural Science Center at Clovis; “Papa Criolla Potatoes: Introducing a South American Favorite to New Mexico,” by Stephanie Walker, NMSU Extension vegetable specialist; and “Feasibility of Cover Crops in Dryland Farming,” by Abdel Berrada, Colorado State University senior research scientist.

“Information on farm finance and marketing of different commodity crops will also be presented at the conference,” Idowu said.

NMSU Extension economic specialists Michael Patrick and Paul Gutierrez will present “Planning for Profit: The Importance of Record Keeping” and “Marketing Strategies: What Works for You.”

Jim Freeburn, Western SARE regional training coordinator, will open the conference with a thought-provoking talk, “Sustaining American Agriculture: What We’ve Lost and Opportunities Ahead.”