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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Renz New Extension Weed Specialist at NMSU

LAS CRUCES - Agricultural and invasive weeds are top priorities for Mark Renz, new weed specialist with New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service.

Renz conducts statewide educational programs and research to help farmers, land managers and home owners with their weed problems. Before joining NMSU, he was a postdoctoral researcher with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Exotic and Invasive Weeds Research Unit in Reno, Nev., a branch of the Agricultural Research Service.

Renz will help New Mexico farmers who are converting from furrow or sprinkler irrigation to drip systems manage their weed problems.

"One concern is that we're going to get a shift in weed spectrums or times when weeds actually emerge, and that is going to make our weed management techniques not as effective," he said. "We're trying to predict which weeds will be a problem as we shift to drip irrigation so we can develop effective management strategies to prevent them from becoming regional or statewide issues."

Renz will also track invasive weeds, such as Russian knapweed, which is gaining a foothold in northern New Mexico, and camelthorn, a weed moving in from Mexico and far West Texas.

"One of our goals is to develop a detailed educational program so people can identify these weed species and prevent them from invading and becoming well-established in New Mexico," he said. "We're looking at developing a statewide weed map so we know exactly where all these weed species are in New Mexico."

Renz's experience includes two years as an associate biologist for Dow Agrosciences in California, where he tested experimental pesticides and measured pesticide residues and dissipation in soils.

ollowing that, he was a lecturer and head teaching assistant at the University of California-Davis, where his doctoral research dealt with controlling perennial pepperweed, an invasive species. He earned a bachelor's degree in botany with honors from California-Davis.