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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU training workshop helps 'first detectors' spot pest and plant disease outbreaks

The New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service is offering a first detector training course to help anyone interested in plants detect pest and disease outbreaks. The workshop will take place in Las Cruces Nov. 10 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Best Western Mission Inn, 1765 S. Main St. There is no charge for the workshop, but registration is required. Lunch will be provided.

"This training is important not only for professionals, but homeowners who work with plants and plant material on a consistent basis," said Jeanine Castillo, a specialist in NMSU's Extension Plant Sciences. "In this course, participants will learn how to identify plant pests and diseases. They also will learn how to properly submit both suspicious and invasive samples to NMSU's Plant Diagnostic Clinic. This training is important for dissemination of information. Participants become part of a national network of first detectors, thereby receiving timely pest alerts and educational materials."

Participants must register online at http://cbc.at.ufl.edu/, or contact Castillo at rjeanine@nmsu.edu or (575) 202-8728 for a registration form. Attendance for the entire four-hour training session is required for certification.

NMSU extension plant pathologist Natalie Goldberg will teach the art and science of diagnosing plant disorders, high-risk diseases and how to submit samples. Goldberg's primary responsibilities at NMSU include statewide education programming in areas related to plant health management and crop biosecurity. She operates the plant diagnostic clinic and identifies new plant diseases in New Mexico, conducts applied research projects and writes education publications. She also provides information to the public and to regional and national pest information databases on disease outbreaks in New Mexico.

The cost of the training in funded by New Mexico State University, the National Plant Diagnostic Network, the Western Plant Diagnostic Network, the Southwest Border Food Safety and Defense Center and Agroguard, a program of the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.