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NMSU Extension Service sustainable agriculture workshop focuses on water use efficiency

SOCORRO - New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service, in cooperation with the Western Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (WSARE) program, will present a training workshop focusing on water use efficiency for crop production on Tuesday, Dec. 12, in the Macey Conference Center of the New Mexico Tech campus in Socorro.


Farmers and agricultural professionals in New Mexico face the common goal of maximizing one of the most valuable resources - water.

"Sustainable agriculture in the Southwest presents unique challenges due to water quality and availability. This workshop is designed to teach practical and successful sustainable irrigation practices," said Stephanie Walker, Extension vegetable specialist and workshop chair.

Registration for the workshop will begin at 8 a.m. with the program beginning at 8:45 a.m. in the Galena Room.

John White, Extension program director in Dona Ana County, is workshop co-chair. Sessions will be moderated by Tom Dean, Extension program director in Socorro County, and Allison Chipman, Extension agricultural agent in Valencia County.

The day-long event will feature speakers from throughout New Mexico and Texas and address multiple approaches to improving water use efficiency in cropping systems.

Robert Flynn, Extension agronomist for NMSU's Agricultural Science Center at Artesia will begin the workshop by addressing water chemistry as it affects soil productivity. Rudy Garcia, state agronomist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resource Conservation Service in Albuquerque, will discuss irrigation efficiency utilizing soil moisture sensors.

Bernd Maier, Extension viticulture specialist, will conduct two talks teaching drip irrigation concepts and application as well as equipment and material selection for drip irrigation.

Sangu Angadi, crop physiologist at NMSU's Agricultural Science Center at Clovis, will speak on his research of multiple approaches to improve water use efficiency of cropping systems. Ron Walser, urban small farm and fruit specialist at NMSU's Agricultural Science Center at Los Lunas, will discuss the benefits of cover cropping and efficient irrigation systems. Organic fertilization using drip will be discussed by Joran Viers, Extension horticulture agent in Bernalillo County.

Filiberto Cortez, manager of the Bureau of Reclamation in El Paso, Texas, will review the status of water in New Mexico and Texas.

With water being the foundation of agricultural sustainability, Jim Freeburn, the WSARE professional development program's regional training coordinator, based at the University of Wyoming, will focus on educational and funding opportunities available for growers and agricultural professionals through agencies such as WSARE. More information can be found at http://wsare.usu.edu.

Registration is $25, $10 for students, which will include lunch and workshop materials. Advance registration is encouraged. To register, contact Mary Curtis at (505) 646-1715 or by e-mail at marcurti@nmsu.edu. For more information about the workshop, accommodations, or if an individual with a disability needs an auxiliary aid or service to participate, call workshop coordinator Jeanine Castillo at (505) 649-0501 or e-mail her at rjeanine@nmsu.edu. The workshop information is also available at http://cahe.nmsu.edu/calendar.