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NMSU Asian medicinal herbs seminar to inform, encourage organic growers

ALCALDE, N.M. - New Mexico organic specialty crop growers will have an opportunity to learn about the progress and challenges facing the ongoing production and marketing of Asian medicinal herbs to local practitioners at a half-day seminar hosted by New Mexico State University from 1-5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, at the Santa Fe County Extension annex, 3229 Rodeo Road in Santa Fe.



Charles Martin, NMSU medicinal herb researcher, and Amy Brown, Santa Fe herb grower, examine an improved variety of goji berry, an Asian medicinal herb that shows promise as a high-value alternative crop for New Mexico organic growers. Updates on developing Asian medicinal herb as an alternative agricultural industry in New Mexico will be the focus of the Asian Medicinal Herb Seminar hosted by NMSU from 1-5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, at the Santa Fe County Extension annex, 3229 Rodeo Road in Santa Fe. (NMSU Photo by Jane Moorman)

The seminar builds upon a risk management education program begun in 2008 to develop Asian medicinal herbs as alternative crops for small-scale organic growers.

"The program will benefit mostly those growers who have already participated in the live training or online tutorial," said Charles Martin, NMSU medicinal herb research. Growers are encouraged to take the tutorial at http://aces.nmsu.edu/medicinalherbs/ prior to attending the seminar.

The seminar program will highlight activities of growers who have implemented some of the risk management strategies and knowledge of Asian medicinal herb production acquired in that training program.

Martin will open the program by providing background information on Asian medicinal herb production in New Mexico, including recent efforts in germplasm acquisition at the NMSU Sustainable Agriculture Science Center at Alcalde and the addition of fruit specialist Shengrui Yao.

Growers Amy Brown, Sam Shaw and Thomas Volek will share their experiences as Asian medicinal herb pioneers in raising the plants in New Mexico.

The seminar will conclude with a field trip to the urban farm of Sam Shaw near Santa Fe.

The project is a joint effort of the Asian Medicinal Herb Working Group and NMSU's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.