Writer: Jay Rodman, 575-646-1996, firstname.lastname@example.org
"Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future" is the theme of the upcoming Leyendecker Plant Science Center Centennial Field Day on Saturday, Aug. 25.
The field day will provide an opportunity for New Mexico State University to highlight the important research being done at the 200-acre Leyendecker agricultural science center south of Las Cruces.
It is also an official New Mexico Centennial event and, in an even broader historical context, commemorates the sesquicentennial of the Morrill Act of 1862, legislation that established this country's system of land-grant universities.
"We will be celebrating the university's achievements since its inception nearly 125 years ago - even before New Mexico became a state - and drawing on our current activities to point toward the future," said Tracey Carrillo, assistant director of campus farm operations and superintendent of the Leyendecker center.
"NMSU's agricultural research mission, now known as the Agricultural Experiment Station, has played a huge role in the development of New Mexico in so many ways and the Cooperative Extension Service has a century of taking the new knowledge out to every county where people can put it to use."
Lectures on New Mexico statehood and the history of NMSU's contributions to New Mexico agriculture will kick off the field day, which will run from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Following the formal presentations, visitors will be encouraged to explore displays and demonstrations from the various departments in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, other NMSU colleges, and collaborating agencies and organizations. A special walk-through demonstration garden displaying typical New Mexico crops has been developed specially for the event.
Lunch will be available from vendors offering a range of food items, including dishes made from traditional New Mexico ingredients.
"This is more than a celebration of agricultural research," said New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte. "It's a celebration of the diversity of New Mexico agriculture, and of the important role that agriculture and the NMSU community have played in the state's development."
The field day is co-hosted by the New Mexico Department of Agriculture. Witte and his staff will be on hand to visit with the public about the services NMDA provides farmers and ranchers, as well as consumers, across the Land of Enchantment.
The afternoon will feature field tours and research updates by NMSU faculty members on topics ranging from drought-tolerant alfalfa and glandless cotton, to pecans and chiles, to plant/soil microbiome ecology, weeds, insecticide testing, plant diseases and hoop houses. Tour participants will be transported on farm trolleys from site to site. The garden and displays will remain open throughout the afternoon.
The free, family-friendly event will include activities for children.
As an added attraction, the official New Mexico Centennial hot-air balloon will spend the day at the farm.
"Although we have crop-specific field days for producers every year at Leyendecker, we have not held a general field day in many years," Carrillo said.
"The first such field day at Leyendecker was held in 1971, two years after the facility opened. Records show we had an attendance of over 800 people from all walks of life. Programming consisted of topics related to agricultural engineering, entomology, botany, and horticulture."
Carrillo said he and the other event organizers hope to double or triple that attendance this year.
The Leyendecker Plant Science Research Center is located about six miles south of NMSU's Las Cruces campus.
For more information, including driving directions, go to http://centennial.nmsu.edu/
© 2013 New Mexico State University Board of Regents
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