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Pecan conference set

The 41st annual pecan conference, hosted by the Western Pecan Growers Association and New Mexico State University, will be held March 4 - 6 in Las Cruces at the Hotel Encanto, formerly the Las Cruces Hilton.

> The conference begins Sunday, March 4, with registration from noon to 4 p.m. followed by equipment and machinery demonstrations, pecan trade and educational exhibits and a welcome reception for growers and exhibitors.
"There will be lots of companies from as far away as Georgia, Oklahoma and California out here to display their equipment," said Richard Heerema, an extension pecan specialist at NMSU. "It really is a huge pecan equipment show, filling up the entire western parking lot of the hotel."

A growers' panel, made up of six growers from Southwestern pecan producing states, will discuss orchard floor management schemes.

"Each grower on the panel will have his own unique take on orchard floor management," said Heerema. "Other growers will find this very interesting. They really need to have a good handle on orchard floor management, especially regarding weed control, if they are going to use fertilizers and irrigation water efficiently."

The conference's educational programs begin Monday and run until noon Tuesday. They will cover topics including pecan pest management, orchard management, fertilizer, irrigation and others.

The program will also feature expert speakers from NMSU and Texas A&M University as well as a trade show for vendors. Growers are eligible for continuing education units (CEUs) for participating.

Prizes will be awarded for the best pecan sample and the best pecan food fantasy creations.

For registration information, contact WPGA Deputy Executive Director Olivia Carver at (505) 635-2016 or Peggy Salopek at (505) 646-2875.