Passive Solar Herb Drying Project

2016 Annual Report for FW16-028

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2016: $18,999.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2018
Grant Recipient: El Milagro Herbs, Inc.
Region: Western
State: New Mexico
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Tomas Enos
El Milagro Herbs, Inc.

Passive Solar Herb Drying Project


I am just 6 months into this project, progress is moving faster now on my goals and objectives.  Most of the work to date has been an overview of designs for solar dryers, ordering materials, designing spec sheets for drying of agricultural products, and finalizing the optimal design.  Construction of the dryer is now in progress as the off-season allows me more time to work on construction projects that are not in the field.  I expect the dryer to be ready for our first harvest of plants in March 2017.

Objectives/Performance Targets

My current objective is to finish the solar dryer by March, have the monitoring equipment installed and to receive and document the dryer use for the entire working year of 2017.


My accomplishment to date are in regard to surveying and researching optimal solar dryer designs and incorporating the best features into my design.  Then putting together drawings and ordering materials that are specific to our climate.  I have purchased the temperature monitoring equipment and am now ready to get the design built in 2 months.  I consider my work in line with my original goals and timelines as the project needs to be completed in the off-season.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

The project is still in the beginning phase and it is too early to assess any substantial impact other than I have informed my current audience of customers, students, and staff of the project goals and will keep them informed of our progress through our e-newsletter and social media posts.


I did purchase a GoPro camera this year and am using that as a vehicle for video education, the solar dryer will be documented and posted with visual media for others to follow.


Marlee Runyan

Extension Agent
Grant County Extension Office
Hwy 180
Silver City, New Mexico 88061