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NMSU, NM Hay Association to host annual Southwest Hay & Forage Conference in Ruidoso Jan. 11-13Hay operation resilience and flexibility will highlight the 2017 Southwest Hay & Forage Conference at the Ruidoso Convention Center

  • By Jane Moorman
  • 505-249-0527
  • Dec 09, 2016
Hay bale in field

RUIDOSO – Hay operation resilience and flexibility during tough economic times will highlight the 2017 Southwest Hay & Forage Conference Jan. 11-13 at the Ruidoso Convention Center in Ruidoso.

“Low hay prices and high input costs have caused producers to question traditional practices and consider how they can do things differently in order to increase their profit margins,” said Mark Marsalis, New Mexico State University Extension forage specialist. “This conference will address concerns of financial uncertainty and how to use new technology and alternative crops to improve crop and economic diversity."

The conference is sponsored by the New Mexico Hay Association and NMSU.

NMSU’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences Dean Rolando Flores’ opening remarks will kick off the conference’s general session Thursday, Jan. 12.

Flores promotes the importance of NMSU’s College of ACES in the state’s economic development through research and education in the areas of better water utilization/conservation systems, stewardship of the environment, a better food production system and healthier New Mexicans.

“This year, we’ve assembled a broad range of forage knowledge and expertise from universities, farmers and industry interests across the United States,” Marsalis said. “This panel of speakers is sure to provide valuable information that our New Mexico producers don’t want to miss.”

Among the speakers will be specialists from across the country with vast experience of producing forages in challenging environmental and economic conditions. 

Agricultural specialist presentations will include: 
– Wayne Coblentz from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Dairy Forage Research Center in Madison, Wisconsin, speaking on hay preservation and hay cutting management for maximum quality
– Joe Brummer of Colorado State University speaking on utilizing brassicas as an alternative forage to increase diversity and farm flexibility 
– Steve Orloff of the University of California Extension speaking about Roundup Ready alfalfa; avoiding injury and weed resistance; and how to cut farm costs during economic downturns
– Garrett Kennedy of Knopf Farms in Kansas speaking about no-till forages and the challenges experienced and techniques used on a long-term, no-till operation
– John Idowu, NMSU Extension agronomist, speaking about other alternative crops that may fit into New Mexico operations 
– Leslie Beck, NMSU Extension weed specialist, giving weed label updates for forages
– Carol Sutherland, NMSU Extension entomologist, speaking about white-fringed beetle and insect management

Presentations related to equipment efficiency and technology will be made on new sprayer technologies and utilization by Tim Conoly of Wylie Sprayers and corn planting technology by Stacey Bandoni-Lewis of Precision Planting.

Business and policy updates will be presented on:
– Workers’ Comp and OSHA regulation updates by Erica Moncayo of New Mexico Mutual
– Pasture, rangeland and forage insurance by Kevin Gubbels of
– Legislative update by Zack Riley of New Mexico Farm Bureau

Thursday evening, agricultural comedian Tim “The Dairy Farmer” Moffett will be the after-dinner entertainment, which will be followed by a live band and dance.

The New Mexico Hay Association board of directors meeting will be held at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 11, at the MCM Elegante Lodge & Resort (formerly the Lodge of Sierra Blanca), and again immediately following the conference.

Five New Mexico pesticide applicator continuing education units have been approved for this meeting. CEUs for Texas and Arizona have been requested.

Preregistration is $100 per person before Dec. 28. Attendees can register at the door for $120. Annual membership dues to the association are $45. Register online at: Registration includes the two-day conference, two meals and entertainment.

Lodging is available, at a discount, adjacent to the Ruidoso Convention Center at the MCM Elegante Lodge & Resort (formerly the Lodge at Sierra Blanca). A number of rooms are reserved at the special rate. You can reach them at: 1-866-211-7727 or online at:

For more information on the conference, including a full agenda, visit or contact Cassie Sterrett by phone at 575-626-1688 or by e-mail at Registration forms are available online at or

Marsalis can be contacted at 505-865-7340 or

Contact Sterrett for a copy of the registration forms and exhibitor information. Booth space is still available.