Growing and Marketing Dye Plants as Alternative Crops

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional + Producer
Funds awarded in 2006: $20,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Region: Western
State: New Mexico
Principal Investigator:
Charles Martin
New Mexico State University
Del Jiminez
New Mexico State University


  • Additional Plants: herbs


  • Crop Production: organic fertilizers
  • Education and Training: extension, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Farm Business Management: feasibility study, agricultural finance, market study
  • Soil Management: organic matter

    Proposal abstract:

    This project involves three organic farms scattered across New Mexico that will grow several plants used as dyes in natural textile enterprises. Katy Blanchard of Otra Banda Herb Farm in Youngsville, Becky Thorp of SunStar Herb Farm in Cerrillos and Robert Gerard of Mirasol Farm in Chaparral will grow cota, Hopi dye sunflower, tansy and weld plus four species of their own choosing as a way to test their viability as alternative crops for small growers. Working with a team from New Mexico State University headed by ag specialist Del Jimenez of Alcalde, the growers will see how the dye plant crops can be integrated into their current cropping systems and identify, apply and demonstration production, harvesting and processing methods. The group will identify and contact local and national buyers to build marketing links between growers and buyers of dye plants. In addition, an economic and marketing survey will help growers determine break-even points, price ranges and production quotas.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.