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NMSU Extension responds to hemp production woes with info session in Santa Fe

SANTA FE – Hemp production is a new crop option for agriculture producers, but it may not be an easy one for profitable success.


Two men in a field of hemp
Colorado State University researchers work in a hemp field. Research-based information on growing hemp in northern New Mexico will be presented at an educational event Thursday, March 26, in Santa Fe. (Courtesy photo)
Landscape photo of hemp plants
Hemp plants
Close up of hemp plants
Hemp plants

Following the 2019 growing season, New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service county agents heard about the trials and tribulations that growers in northern New Mexico experienced.

In response to producers requesting research-based information about growing hemp, NMSU Extension developed a “Hemp Growing Education Day” to be held Thursday, March 26, at the Santa Fe County fairgrounds, 3229 Rodeo Road, Santa Fe.

The event is hosted by NMSU Extension’s Small Farm and Ranch Task Force, which provides educational training in New Mexico’s 13 northern counties and eight northern pueblos.

“The goal of the seminar is to help producers to be successful not only growing hemp, but finding a viable market outlet,” said John Garlisch, NMSU Extension agricultural agent in Bernalillo County. “The presentations will be focused on the growing challenges faced by small-acreage producers in northern New Mexico.”

Registration will be at 8 a.m. with presentations beginning at 8:30 a.m.

“The morning sessions will focus on rules and regulations,” Garlisch said, “including training of the federal Worker Protection Standards. Attendees who complete the training will be certified as trained handlers, a requirement by law if any chemicals are used with employees present.”

Representatives from New Mexico Department of Agriculture will present regulations for growing the crop. New Mexico Environmental Department representatives will present the post-harvest and processing regulations. A member of the New Mexico Acequia Association will discuss water rights.

Natalie Goldberg, NMSU College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental interim associate dean of agricultural experiment station administration, will present resources available from NMSU.

“After an included lunch, the sessions will focus on the production of hemp and the economic risks,” Garlisch said. “Agricultural specialists from New Mexico, Colorado, Texas and Nevada will present research-based information.”

The scientific issues associated with growing hemp will include agronomy, presented by Calvin Trostel, Texas A&M’s AgriLife who has worked with producers in Colorado; pests and beneficial insects by Melissa Schreiner, Colorado State University; and plant diseases and disorders by Rebecca Creamer, NMSU professor in the entomology, plant pathology and weed science department.

Results from variety trials conducted in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado will be presented by Kevin Lombard, NMSU Agricultural Science Center at Farmington superintendent. “The two aspects of the business side of farming – marketing and the cost risk – will wrap up the presentations,” Garlisch said.

Organizing farmer co-ops is a way to address post-harvest issues of marketing. Susann Mikkelson, NMSU Extension agent in Quay County who was formerly with Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, will discuss how to organize a farmers co-op.

Jim Libbin, retired NMSU agriculture economics professor, will discuss the cost risks associated with growing hemp.

Early-bird registration is $40 through March 19. After that date, including at the door, registration is $60. Online registration with a credit card and address for the early-bird mail-in payment is available at https://ezregister.com/events/31826/.

Vendors associated with hemp production are invited to present their products; registration is $125. Sponsorship are available for $250. For more information, contact Garlisch at garlisch@nmsu.edu or call 505-243-1386.

Full details and other upcoming programs, please visit the Small Farm and Ranch Task Force website, https://aces.nmsu.edu/sfrtf/, or search online with NMSU Small Farm + Hemp.