Writer: D'Lyn Ford
FARMINGTON - Both farmers and city dwellers will find topics of interest at a field day and open house June 14 at New Mexico State University's Agricultural Science Center at Farmington.
The program includes a field tour of alfalfa, potatoes, corn and small grains variety trials, demonstrations of crop production technologies and a tour of a xeriscape demonstration garden.
"We're addressing problems faced by the clients in our area who include the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry (NAPI), small-scale Navajo farmers along the river, the more traditional farmers who are aware of science-based agricultural information and our new urban immigrants who want to learn more about growing plants in a semiarid area," said Mick O'Neill, science center superintendent.
The tour will begin with a presentation about subsurface drip irrigation being tested on alfalfa, beans, potatoes, corn and onions. "One hundred percent of our crops are irrigated here, and this is a new technology for this area," O'Neill said. "This is a collaborative project with NAPI, which is really our host here for the science center, because we are located on NAPI land."
Another stop on the tour will showcase native and nonnative grass species. "These grass species are being developed for reclamation work along oil pipelines and other areas that have been disturbed," he said. "In San Juan County, the No. 1 cash generator is the oil industry. Every time a new well goes in, there is disturbed land. Our research is aimed at improving these areas by providing browse for livestock and wildlife. Soil erosion is also reduced through rehabilitation."
Other topics covered on the tour include weed control, turf irrigation and the science center's automated weather station.
O'Neill said the field day is held every two years. "It's really important to have this open house so people can come and see what's going on at the center and appreciate that this is a real wealth of information."
The field day is free. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and the field tour begins at 10. Donors are sponsoring a lunch for participants. For more information, call the Cooperative Extension Service in Aztec at (505) 334-9496 or the science center at (505) 327-7757. If you are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate in the field day, please contact the center in advance.
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