Sales of agricultural produce from New Mexico totaled $2.86 billion in 2016 (USDA-NASS, 2017). Out of this total, livestock sale was $2.15 billion, which accounts for about 75% of income received from agriculture in New Mexico during 2016 (USDA-NASS, 2017). In 2009, the income generated from livestock products was $2.4 billion compared to $2.15 billion in 2016, and this corresponds to an income loss of about 10% (USDA-NASS, 2017; USDA-NASS, 2010). To address the issues related to livestock production in New Mexico, we propose to have a single-day NM WSARE Conference focused on sustainable livestock production and management. The proposed conference will address issues such as grass-fed and pasture-raised animals on farms and ranches; drought, forage availability, animal welfare certification, safe handling practices and other issues related to livestock production. The program for the conference will be well balanced, to include information for large- and small-scale producers.
In addition to the NM WSARE conference, we plan to have a Farm Walk that will focus on sustainable agricultural practices on diverse issues. A farm will be selected for the Farm Walk, with the host farmer providing information on their practices, and challenges being faced in their production, and how they are addressing those challenges. The NM Sustainable Agriculture Conference sponsored by WSARE has been an annual event for several years in New Mexico, and several agricultural professionals and stakeholders have provided positive feedback about the knowledge gained from these conferences.
Information presented during the proposed NM WSARE Conference and Farm Walk will increase the knowledge of agricultural professionals on sustainable livestock farming and sustainable agricultural practices in NM. Agricultural professionals and attendees of these events will increase their knowledge, especially on livestock production and management in New Mexico and in other areas of sustainable agricultural practices at farm level.
The approach used for professional development included a Field Day, a Farm Walk and a Conference.
Education & Outreach Initiatives
The objective of this event was to expose farmers, agricultural support professionals and stakeholder in NM to sustainable agricultural research activities on-going at New Mexico State University.
The field day took place on June 28, 2018 from 7:30 am till 12 noon at the NMSU Leyendecker Plant Science Research Center in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The event was attended by 70 participants. The attendees had the opportunity to tour field research projects in agriculture being addressed by different scientists at New Mexico State University. Topics covered included cultivation of jujube’s as an alternative fruit crop in NM, use of mustard seed meal for weed and pathogen control, purpose of the IR-4 Project, seed certification, and the Noxious Weed Free Program in NM, cultivation of guar as an alternate crop in NM, benefits of winter cover crops in southern NM, irrigation water use efficiency in pecans, regeneration of soil diversity, purpose of biochar and pinto beans variety evaluation, curly top virus control and breeding cotton for biotic and abiotic stress tolerance. Participants had the opportunity to see field trials related to these various topics.
A pre- and post-evaluation was conducted during this event to assess the knowledge gained by field day participants. 27 participants completed the surveys deployed, to evaluate knowledge gained across different topics presented during the event. On the average, respondents indicated 80% increase in knowledge across all the topics presented.
To expose farm walk participants to the innovative agricultural practices that Tesuque Pueblo farm has adopted to increase sustainability by blending traditional methods with the latest research.
A farm walk took place on Tesuque Pueblo Farm, in Tesuque Pueblo, NM on August 15, 2018 from 8 am to 1 pm. The farm walk was attended by 40 participants. Information presented included greenhouse and its solar heating system, the composting and water catchment systems, and the Seed Bank that is of horticultural and cultural importance.
A pre- and post-evaluation was conducted during this farm walk event to assess the knowledge gained by participants. 25 participants completed the survey to evaluate knowledge gained across different topics presented during the farm walk. On the average, respondents indicated 43% increase in knowledge across all the topics presented at the farm walk.
To train the attendees on how to address vital issues concerning sustainable livestock production in the Rocky Mountain Southwest.
The NM Sustainable Agriculture conference was held on December 12, 2018 at the University of New Mexico Valencia Campus in Los Lunas, NM. The theme of this conference was “Issues in Sustainable Livestock Production”. Major topics that were covered included issues in sustainable ruminant livestock, issues in sustainable goat and sheep production and issues in sustainable poultry production. In addition, students from New Mexico State University, College of Agriculture presented different posters on sustainable agriculture issues during the conference. The conference was attended by 66 participants.
A pre- and post-evaluation was conducted during at the NM Sustainable Agriculture conference to assess the knowledge gained by participants. 32 participants completed the survey to evaluate knowledge gained across different topics presented during the conference. On the average, respondents indicated 60% increase in knowledge across all the topics presented at the conference.
Educational & Outreach Activities
Face of SARE
We responded to about 20 phone calls/emails on requests from stakeholders about different WSARE grants. We also hosted WSARE booths at three different commodity conferences in NM during 2018 which included NM Organic Farming conference, NM Chile Growers conference and NM Cotton Growers conference. SARE publications and information on WSARE grants were on display at the booths. Many people visited the booths and engaged in discussions about grants, and others requested for publications that were on display. At least, 200 copies of different SARE publications that were on display were distributed to stakeholders during the outreach efforts at these various commodity conferences.