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Growers get hands-on experience in Alcalde at Chinese medicinal herb workshop

ALCALDE - Specialty crop growers will have an opportunity to learn about Asian medicinal herb production, processing and marketing during a two-day intensive hands-on training on Thursday and Friday, April 2-3, at New Mexico State University's Sustainable Agriculture Science Center in Alcalde.

"This is an opportunity for specialty crop growers to acquire a practical understanding of what it takes to grow Asian medicinal herbs that are used for acupuncture and oriental medicine," said Charles Martin, NMSU alternative crops researcher at the Alcalde center. "Asian medicinal herbs offer unique and possibly lucrative new markets for organic specialty crop growers, especially here in New Mexico where our varied and extreme climate and growing conditions enable the production of a diverse range of medicinal crop species."

National experts Jean Giblette of High Falls Garden in Philmont, New York, and Peggy Schafer of the Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm in Petaluma, Calif., and New Mexico organic grower Loretta Sandoval will share their extensive knowledge on species identification, propagation, cultivation, harvesting, processing, marketing and management of potential invasiveness.

"We will be using the Alcalde agricultural center's demonstration plots to show the participants the plants and how to propagate, cultivate and harvest the plant," Martin said. "Up-close and hands-on is the most effective way to learn about these new crops, many of which are unfamiliar to growers."

Registration fee is $60 for both days. Lunch is not included. Registration deadline is March 27. For more information and registration, including a list of nearby motels and restaurants, contact Martin at cmartin@nmsu.edu or call (505)852-4241.

The program is sponsored by NMSU and the Western Center for Risk Management Education at Washington State University.