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NMSU to host alternative crop conference March 10 in Portales

PORTALES, NM – New Mexico farmers are facing many challenges, including water availability and reduced profitability of conventional crops.


Man kneeling with plant
New Mexico State University crop physiologist Sangu Angadi looks at a guar plant. Guar will be one of the crops discussed at the New Mexico Alternative Crops Conference Tuesday, March 10, at NMSU's Roosevelt County Extension office, 705 East Lime Street, Portales. (NMSU photo)

The answer may be in expanding the farm production into profitable alternative crops, some of which are new to New Mexico.

New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences will host the New Mexico Alternative Crops Conference, with the theme “Enhancing Sustainability of Cropping Systems in New Mexico,” from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 10, at NMSU’s Roosevelt County Extension office, 705 East Lime Street, Portales.

“There are several potential crops that farmers can grow to build sustainable production systems, reduce production risks, optimize their water resources and enhance the farm income,” said John Idowu, NMSU Extension agronomist and chair for the conference.

“Attendees will learn about cultural practices associated with producing guar, winter canola, perennial wheat, industrial hemp, sesame, and safflower, as well as the economics related to producing these crops.”

Presentations will include:
- Guar: “A low impact alternative crop for the region” by Calvin Trostle, Texas AgriLife Extension in Lubbock, Texas.
- Guar Resources: “Contracting, processing and market” by Alex Muraviyov, general manager of Guar Resources in Brownfield, Texas.
- Winter canola: “A potential dual purpose crop” by Sangu Angadi, NMSU’s Agricultural Science Center at Clovis.
- Perennial wheat: “Potential in the Southern Great Plains” by Shuwen Wang, The Land Institute in Salina, Kan.
- Industrial hemp: “What we have learned in Colorado” by Abdel Berrada, Colorado State University.
- Sesame: “A potential stress tolerant alternative crop” by Oran Gar, Equinom, Israel.
- Safflower: “A desert adopted alternative crop” by Trostle and Angadi.
- “Economics of alternative crops in New Mexico” by Paul Gutierrez, NMSU Extension economics specialist.

“Each presentation will cover the importance of the crop, crop management, weed control, potential insect and diseases and their management, marketing information, and any other challenges,” Idowu said.

Bruce Hinrichs, the NMSU Cooperative Extension Service associate director, will deliver the welcome address.

Lunch will be provided. Five continuing education units for the New Mexico pesticide applicator license will be available.

Register online for the free conference at http://rsvp.nmsu.edu/rsvp/altercrops.

The event is organized by the Sustainable Bioeconomy for Arid Regions Center and NMSU Cooperative Extension Service. The SBAR Center, housed at the University of Arizona, is funded by U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

For more information about SBAR, visit https://sbar.arizona.edu/.