The 54th annual Western Pecan Growers Association conference and trade show, co-hosted by NMSU, is scheduled March 1–3 at Hotel Encanto in Las Cruces. (NMSU photo by Andres Leighton)
The potential for a pecan market in India, a drip irrigation study and an update on the pecan weevil infestation in New Mexico and surrounding states will be among the presentations at this year’s Western Pecan Growers Conference and trade show March 1–3 in Las Cruces.
The conference and trade show will begin with a sponsored reception for attendees at 4 p.m. Sunday, March 1, hosted at Hotel Encanto, 705 S. Telshor Blvd. All events will be at the hotel. Parking at the hotel is limited to hotel guests and vendors, but overflow parking is available across the street at the Mesilla Valley Mall where a shuttle will bring guests back and forth to the conference.
This will mark the 54th year the association, which represents growers in California, Arizona, New Mexico and West Texas, has sponsored the event. New Mexico State University is a co-sponsor.
Richard Heerema, NMSU pecan specialist is the organizer of the conference’s educational program that will be on Monday and Tuesday, March 2–3. The program will include 16 presentations by experts from NMSU, the University of Georgia and the University of Arizona along with representatives from the American Pecan Council and U.S. Pecan Growers Council.
“Each year when we put this program together we try to cover an array of diverse topics. We try to include a few presentations on research that’s on going on at the land grant universities or with the USDA that might have some good information for producers,” Heerema said. “We have two research presentations, one is an update on a rootstock study being conducted by a professor from the University of Arizona. He is looking at how different kinds of rootstocks perform under really harsh and salty alkaline situations. The other research presentation is on drip irrigation in New Mexico and that is being done by, Curt Pierce a graduate student who is under my advisement.”
An update on the pecan weevil infestation, currently impacting the east side of New Mexico and most of Texas, will be presented.
“Las Cruces is such a large pecan growing area so we don’t want weevils to get started down here. All it takes it someone to bring some infested pecans with them from somewhere in Texas and then they get home and see little grubs in them and throw them out,” said John White, director of the WPGA. “The movements of infected pecans are wide spread, so we’re trying to keep all of our equipment clean. The New Mexico Department of Agriculture is going around and investigating cleaning stations and retail outlets.”
Along with the educational programs, a trade show will be set up both inside and outside of the hotel with more than 100 vendors. Items and equipment on sale will include harvesters, hydraulic lifts, fertilizers, pesticides and more.
A baking contest kicks off the first day of conference from 9 a.m. to noon. There is no cost to enter and prize money will be awarded for winners in a variety of categories.
The WPGA will also be offering scholarships for college students. Scholarship awards range from $500-$2500 and up to two scholarships may be awarded per year.
For more information on the baking contest, guidelines for the scholarships and a copy of the conference agenda, visit westernpecan.org or contact John White directly at 575-640-7555 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Individuals and groups can register at the door with discounted rates offered for groups.
Author: Melissa R. Rutter – NMSU