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New Mexico State University

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Grant County Extension to offer drought, marketing workshop for area cattle growers

SILVER CITY, N.M. - In spite of some much-needed rain here and there, it has been a dry New Mexico spring so far, and cattle growers continue to struggle to survive in the drought conditions that still prevail in much of the state. Selling off part or all of their herds is an option many have chosen and others are considering.

To help producers fully understand the issues and make optimal herd management decisions, the New Mexico State University Grant County Cooperative Extension Service office will host a drought and marketing workshop from 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 26. The event will take place at the Extension meeting room at 2610 N. Silver St. in Silver City.

"This workshop is scheduled immediately prior to the monsoon season in order to give ranchers the best available drought forecasts and marketing information for the 2012 growing season," said Pete Walden, Grant County Extension agriculture agent and program director.

The program will feature a mix of presentations by NMSU faculty, government agencies and industry representatives.

Climate and weather will be a dominant issue. During the morning session, Walden and Natural Resources Conservation Service representatives will display the latest CLIMAS maps and forecasts for Southwestern New Mexico, and personnel from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will discuss short- and long-term forecasting for the area.

Macky Irwin of the U.S. Farm Service Agency will give updates on USDA drought programs.

Jerry Hawkes, NMSU Extension economist, will review the tax implications of selling cattle in a drought year; Nick Ashcroft, NMSU Extension range specialist, will explain a USDA pilot PRM program that insures pasture and range forage; and Chris Allison, also a range specialist and head of NMSU's Department of Extension Animal Science and Natural Resources, will give advice on stocking rates during a drought.

Hawkes will return during the afternoon session to discuss research findings from area sale barns. Also during the afternoon, Harvey Thomason of Premium Natural Beef will talk about the GAP and natural cattle programs, and Butch and Amanda Mayfield from Superior Auctions will give a presentation on video marketing of cattle.

A $10 charge, to be collected at the door, will cover the cost of the catered lunch.

Anyone interested in attending the workshop should register by June 22 at http://grantextension.nmsu.edu. For more information, contact Gail Graham at the Extension office at ggraham@nmsu.edu or 575-388-1859.