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?Feeding a hungry world? is theme at 2014 NMSU Artesia Science Center Field Day

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture?s Agricultural Research Service, 133 billion pounds of food available went uneaten in 2010. New Mexico State University?s Agricultural Science Center at Artesia?s annual field day will bring awareness to this issue as well as to the efforts in New Mexico to diminish food waste and grow food with less water.

Ian Ray, NMSU professor of Plant and Environmental Sciences, gave a presentation last year on developing new alfalfa varieties during the Field Day at the Agricultural Science Center at Artesia. (NMSU photo by Angela Simental)

The field day will begin with registration at 4 p.m. at the science center Sept. 11, and will feature presentations by NMSU experts.

The topics include a student-operated shrimp business. Tracey Carrillo, NMSU assistant director of Campus Farm Operations, and Nancy Flores, Extension food technology specialist, will talk about the efforts to find the best glandless cottonseed meal grown in New Mexico, which is fed to the farm-raised shrimp. This type of cottonseed is becoming a valuable product, helping meet the world?s protein requirements. Flavored glandless cottonseed oil and salad toppings will also be on display.

Robert Flynn, agricultural interim superintendent of the Artesia center, will give a presentation on the Billy Melton drought-tolerant alfalfa variety. This alfalfa variety was created by Ian Ray, NMSU?s alfalfa expert.

?A lot of alfalfa varieties do well under normal irrigation practices, but once water is withheld, they don?t do so well,? Flynn said. ?This variety offers the promise of production in situations where production may not have been possible before.?

Sorghum will also be a topic of discussion, presented by Mark Marsalis, superintendent of the NMSU Agricultural Science Center at Los Lunas. Sorghum is the fifth-most important cereal crop in the world and is extremely drought tolerant.

Sorghum Partners, Inc., has had studies at the Artesia center for several years on this important crop. Forage varieties of sorghum have also been grown and are especially suited to lower water availability and more saline soils.

The last presentation will feature NMSU entomologist Jane Pierce, who will talk about how to protect food supply from insects and share tales of the salt cedar beetle.

The event is free and open to the public.