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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

News Center

Drought Management Workshops Planned for Ranchers

LAS CRUCES - To aid New Mexico ranchers in dealing with a stunningly dry year, low cattle prices and soaring feed costs, New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service is sponsoring four drought management seminars in late July and August.

Workshops in Grants, Silver City, Tucumcari and Roswell will give the region's ranchers a firsthand look at their options for financial survival, said Ron Parker, head of the Extension animal resources department. The state's cattle growers are facing a decrease in fed cattle prices and dramatically increased feed prices.

"Livestock producers are in a severe situation," he said.

According to the National Weather Service, precipitation in New Mexico was 60 percent below normal for the first five months of 2002. For the 12-month period ending in May, the statewide average precipitation was at its sixth lowest in the past 107 years. This follows three to four years of severe drought in the state.

Parker said the seminars are scheduled for July 29 at the Future Foundation Building at 551 Washington Street in Grants; July 30 in Silver City at a location to be announced; August 1 at the Tucumcari Convention Center in Tucumcari; and August 15 at the Chaves County Extension Office in Roswell.

All meetings will be held from 1 p.m. to approximately 5 p.m., and are free and open to the public. In addition, the program will be available as an archived webcast presentation through the university's agricultural communications department.

The programs begin with an overview of drought management planning from Jason Sawyer, an Extension livestock specialist at NMSU's Clayton Livestock Research Center. His presentation will be followed by an examination of rangeland management during and after a drought by Chris Allison, a NMSU Extension range management specialist with the Range Improvement Task Force.

Following a break, Clay Mathis, a Las Cruces-based NMSU Extension livestock specialist, will discuss management options to reduce forage use. Jim Libbin, an agricultural economist with NMSU's Agricultural Experiment Station, will review tax implications.

Paul Gutierrez, state executive director with the Farm Service Agency in Albuquerque, will discuss drought emergency assistance programs. The seminar concludes with a review of investment alternatives by Jerry Hawkes, an assistant professor with NMSU's department of agricultural economics and agricultural business.

For more information about local sites for the workshop, contact your county Extension office. If you are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate in these seminars, please call Parker at (505) 646-1709 or your county Extension office in advance.