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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU Workshops Promote Agriculture Among Rio Grande Pueblos

ALBUQUERQUE - Members of 18 northern and southern Indian pueblos along the Rio Grande can learn about livestock, crops and agricultural assistance programs during free, two-day workshops March 1-2 in Alcalde and April 26-27 in Albuquerque.

New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service and the northern and southern pueblo offices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs are jointly sponsoring the workshops. Events are open to the general public, but are designed to strengthen agriculture on the reservations, said Edmund Gomez, executive director of NMSU's Rural Agricultural Improvement and Public Affairs Project, based in Alcalde.

"We want to get as much information to pueblo producers as possible about assistance programs and educational opportunities available to them," Gomez said. "We plan to work a lot more with the Rio Grande pueblos in the future."

The workshops offer a variety of classes, including cattle vaccination, water issues, specialty crops, alfalfa production and insect control.

"We want to give a little of everything and then get feedback from participants about issues that merit more detailed workshops later on," Gomez said. "It's also a great opportunity for pueblo producers to meet Extension agents and specialists that work in the counties where they reside."

The Alcalde and Albuquerque workshop agendas are virtually identical. During the first day, Extension specialists will teach livestock marketing strategies, cattle vaccination techniques and beef quality assurance. They will discuss animal diseases such as mad cow and foot and mouth, and will offer a hands-on seminar on horse care.

First-day lectures include state water legislation, NMSU water research, water distribution techniques for proper range management and the Endangered Species Act. A panel discussion by Extension, BIA and U.S. Department of Agriculture representatives will review producer assistance programs.

Second-day lectures will cover crops, irrigation, and insect and weed control. Specialists will discuss specialty vegetables and fruits, alfalfa production, growing heirloom seeds and good agricultural practices to ensure food safety. There will be hands-on demonstrations on irrigation efficiency and invasive tree and brush control. Home economists will discuss diabetes and offer glucose screenings.

Participating agencies will set up information booths with free educational materials. Lunch and refreshments will be provided free to workshop participants.

The March 1-2 workshop will be held at NMSU's Sustainable Agriculture Science Center at Alcalde. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Seminars will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the first day and from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on the second.

The schedule is identical for the April 26-27 workshop, which will be held at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque.

For more information, call Gomez at (505) 852-4241 or 852-2668.