"It's our 25th year, so this will be a conference like never before with a trade show and special entertainment," said Doug Whitney, association president. "We're reaching outside the boundaries of New Mexico to include all hay and forage producers in the Southwest who share common interests and concerns."
Participants will discuss farmer-designed equipment during a workshop session titled "I Built My Own." Other scheduled topics include successful alternative forage crops, how New Mexico water issues affect crop production and reducing equipment compaction effects on hay stands.
"The heavy equipment farmers use in their fields causes soil compaction and hurts the growth of the plants," said Bill Gomez, NMSU Extension economist. "This session will be particularly important to alfalfa farmers to help them learn how to prevent that from being a major problem."
Lowell Catlett, a well-known futurist and NMSU agricultural economics professor, will give a keynote address on the new farm bill and New Mexico forage Feb. 6 at 1 p.m.
Other presenters that day include Dan Undersander, Extension agronomist with the University of Wisconsin, who will talk about optimizing quality and quantity of hay and David Peterson, an agronomist with Pioneer Hybrids, who will discuss tillage and farming under pivots irrigation systems.
Black, a humorist who is often featured on National Public Radio, will perform later that evening.
The following day, Donald Miller with ABI Alfalfa in Nampa, Idaho, will give an overview of southwestern alfalfa pests, weeds and diseases and conduct a pest identification contest. "This display and presentation are phenomenal," Gomez said. "Miller actually shows nematodes in alfalfa roots with a telescope and video camera."
The conference will also feature a look at the future of alfalfa by Peter Reisen with Forage Genetics International in Nampa, Idaho, who will lead a session on Round Up-Ready alfalfa.
A trade show highlighting exhibits of hay and forage products and accessories will be open both days of the conference, which will be held at the Ruidoso Convention Center. Other conference sponsors are Farm Credit of New Mexico and Dow Agrosciences.
For more information on the conference or to pre-register, contact Amy Carver at (505) 746-3713. If you are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate in the conference, please contact Carver in advance.