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NMSU, NRCS to host field day at Los Lunas science center

  • By Jane Moorman
  • 505-249-0527
  • jmoorman@nmsu.edu
  • Jul 20, 2012
Man showing branch to people in wagon.
LOS LUNAS, N.M. - New Mexico State University's Agricultural Science Center at Los Lunas will be celebrating the contribution its staff makes to the agricultural and environmental industries of the Southwest during a field day on Tuesday, Aug. 14.

"We are a unique science center because both NMSU and USDA's Natural Resource Conservation Service Plant Material Center conduct projects on the 200-plus acre farm," said Tom Plant, farm manager of the facility located four-miles south of Los Lunas off of NM 314. "The research focuses on agronomic and horticultural crops native to the Middle Rio Grande Valley and portions of central New Mexico."

The field day gives the public an opportunity to visit the farm and learn about the research being conducted.

During the field tours visitors will learn about NMSU projects such as chile breeding research being conducted by Stephanie Walker, Extension Plant Sciences assistant professor and vegetable specialist; corn and dried beans research by Richard Pratt, Plant and Environmental Sciences department head; and an investigation by Tess Grasswitz, Extension urban small farm IPM specialist, into integrated pest management of squash bugs and the new invasive stink bug, Bagrada.

Presentations also will be made on projects at the Natural Resource Conservation Service Plant Materials Center, which is housed at the facility. The presentations will address high-priority conservation problems of the multistate area the center serves, which includes parts of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah.

Some of the uses for plants developed by the center include rangeland improvements, reducing cropland erosion, plantings to enhance wildlife habitat improvement plantings, and stabilization of critical areas that include surface-mined lands, highway slopes, gullies and windbreaks.

Visitors will learn about pollinator plant recommendations for New Mexico from David Dreesen; a new release of big sacaton named Windbreaker presented by Danny Goodson and a presentation by Gregory Fenchel about the Prairie Coneflowers being grown for the Colorado Plateau.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. followed by opening comments from Steven Loring, associate dean and director of NMSU's Agricultural Experiment Station administration. Following walking and wagon tours a complimentary lunch will be provided.