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Workshop Series in Tucumcari to help farmers, ranchers "live on the land"

TUCUMCARI, N.M. - It makes no difference if you have one acre of farmland or 500 acres. The Quay County Cooperative Extension Service in Tucumcari is offering a series of classes, starting this fall, to help amateur and professional small-acreage farmers get the most out of their land.



"Living on the Land" aims to help farmers and ranchers get the most out of their farm and ranch land. The first session in the series is Nov. 17 at 5:30 p.m. at the Cooperative Extension Service office in Tucumcari. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

Space is limited for "Living on the Land," and those interested in attending are encouraged to reserve a spot soon. The deadline to sign up for the workshops is Oct. 30.

Through the series of evening sessions starting Nov. 17, participants can learn about a variety of farming practices, from farm equipment and invasive plants and weeds to grazing management and organic and market farming.

"Everyone can come away with something from these sessions," said Tom Dominguez, Extension agricultural agent in Quay County. "There will be a lot of basic information in the beginning. We want everyone on the same page, and then we'll bring them all up to speed on some more advanced agricultural practices."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines a "small farm" as one with an income of $250,000 or less. Generally, it is also a farm with 500 acres of land or less, Dominguez said.

More and more people in northeastern New Mexico are turning to "hobby" and "weekend" farms as a way to supplement their incomes, as well as to produce cleaner and healthier food for their own consumption.

The sessions will cater to a variety of different goals that farmers have.

"We have several small-acreage landowners in the area with different goals," Dominguez said. "Some may want to make a little profit, while others want to manage their land for productivity. Some may want to learn new skills or meet new people. They may also need information to meet the regulatory demands of their farms."

Other topics to be discussed during the classes are caring for your animals, pasture establishments and renovations, water quality, and "your living soil."

The first class, "Setting the Stage," will start Nov. 17 at 5:30 p.m. at the Extension office.

The cost for the entire series of classes is $150. Dominguez said those wishing to attend specific classes can pay $12 per session. Materials for individual classes may cost extra. The $150 fee covers materials; water, soil and forage tests; and tours to area farms and ranches. Some meals and snacks will be provided.

The curriculum for the series of classes comes from the Western Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program and the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Service. Dominguez said some of the sessions will offer Continuing Education Units for pesticide applicators through the New Mexico Department of Agriculture.

Participants are encouraged to reserve a seat for the series by sending a deposit of $50 to the Quay County Extension Service, P.O. Drawer B, Tucumcari, NM 88401.

Anyone needing accommodations to attend the sessions should call the Extension office two weeks before the scheduled class.

For questions or a complete list of the classes, call Dominguez at (575) 461-0562.