NMSU to host state sustainable agriculture conference in Valencia County

“Feed Our Crops to Feed Ourselves” is the theme of the 12th annual New Mexico Sustainable Agriculture Conference being held Wednesday, December 16, in Valencia County.

New Mexico State University will host the free conference from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the UNM-Valencia Campus Student and Community Center, 280 La Entrada Road in the Tomé area.

The conference will provide practical information for everyone from large-scale producers to home gardeners.

“The event will feature information on building and understanding soil fertility in desert soils, basics of fertilizing through hydroponic systems, and innovative uses and considerations for aquaponics in New Mexico,” said Stephanie Walker, NMSU Extension vegetable specialist and co-coordinator of U.S. Department of Agriculture Western Sustainable Agriculture Research Education programs in the state.

“It will be particularly valuable for anyone who has considered setting up a hydroponic or aquaponics operation,” she said.

New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte will provide opening remarks, followed by presentations on aquaponics and hydroponic greenhouses. Following lunch, participants will learn about interpreting soil tests and managing soils for the long term. The day will wrap up with a hydroponics and aquaponics producer panel and discussion.

Presenters will include Tracey Carrillo, assistant director of NMSU campus farms operations and principle investigator in aquaponic shrimp production research; Robert Flynn, NMSU Extension agronomist; Rossana Sallenave, NMSU Extension aquatic ecology specialist; Steve Newman, greenhouse crops production Extension specialist for Colorado State University; and Ron Godin, Extension agent with expertise in sustainable and organic crop production, also from Colorado State University.

Register online at rsvp.nmsu.edu/rsvp/2015sare. Lunch will be provided.