A single-day, New Mexico Alternative Crops Conference co-hosted by the SBAR Center and NM Cooperative Extension Service was held on March 10th in Portales, NM. This conference brought together 50 participants ranging from farmers, crop processors, Extension educators, agricultural support professionals, students and other stakeholders in New Mexico, and featured presentations and discussions focused on different crops that can be grown to boost the regional bioeconomy.The conference highlighted several alternative crops that could fit into existing cropping systems of the Southern High Plains of eastern New Mexico.
Information about guar, a drought tolerant, low water-demanding crop was presented, including variety selection, land preparation, seeding strategies, irrigation, weed control, pest management, and harvesting strategies. Sustainable economics of guar production in New Mexico was also shared.
Guar processors from Guar Resources from Brownfield, TX, were in attendance and spoke with farmers about specific contracting processes and agronomic optimization of guar. SBAR Fellows from New Mexico and Arizona also presented their research (posters) focused on SBAR-sponsored guar research.
This conference provided an opportunity for networking among those working on guar research and production in the region, and SBAR scientists were able to engage in mutually beneficial discussions with processors from Guar Resources who are part of the SBAR Advisory Board.
Based on the evaluation conducted at the end of the conference, over 90% of attendees indicated that they increased their knowledge on the variety of topics presented.