Thursday, March 31, 2016

USDA Announces No Actions Under Feedstock Flexibility Program

USDA Announces No Actions Under Feedstock Flexibility Program Release No. 0032.16 Contact: Kent Politsch (202)720-7163 WASHINGTON, March 31, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) announced today that it does not expect to purchase sugar under the Feedstock Flexibility Program in the second quarter of 2016. The CCC is required to announce quarterly estimates of sugar to be purchased for the Feedstock Flexibility Program based on crop and consumption forecasts. Federal law allows processors of sugar beets and domestically grown sugarcane to obtain loans from USDA with maturities of up to nine months when the sugarcane or sugar beet harvest begins. The loans provide interim financing so that commodities can be stored after harvest, when market prices are typically low, to be sold later, when price conditions are more favorable. Upon loan maturity, the sugar processor may repay the loan in full or forfeit the collateral (sugar) to USDA to satisfy the loan. The Feedstock Flexibility Program was reauthorized by Congress in the 2014 Farm Bill as an option to avoid sugar forfeitures. USDA’s March 9, 2016, World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report ( projects that domestic fiscal year 2016 ending sugar stocks are unlikely to lead to forfeitures. USDA closely monitors domestic sugar stocks, consumption, imports and other sugar market variables on an ongoing basis, and will continue to administer the sugar program as transparently as possible using the latest available data. The next quarterly estimate regarding the Feedstock Flexibility Program will occur prior to July 1, 2016. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

Roswell School District Looking to buy Local Produced foods.

The Roswell School District who also purchases for Dexter, Hagerman and Carlsbad is very interested in getting more farmers involved and to buy more locally grown produce. We hope you can join us for our upcoming "Farm to Cafeteria" meeting this coming Tuesday, April 5th, 8 - 10am in Roswell to learn about the Roswell School District (and other school districts) procurement requirements and opportunities for farmers to sell to schools. Lyman Graham, the district School Food Service Director is our host and is a true advocate for this program. Our brief agenda includes: - Welcome and introductions - Brief overview of New Mexico Farm to School Programs and progress - How to sell to school districts, bid process and procurement requirements (sharing your experiences are helpful) - How can we get the word out to more farmers and who are they? - Questions about planning for the season - How can we be of support to you in your region? We'll share briefly about the recent "NM Grown Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for School Meals" Strategic Planning convening and the three year Action Plan and possible future resources for trainings and more - Any additional needs and next steps The meeting will be held at the Roswell Independent School District Library at the AESC Building, Room 300, at 300 N Kentucky Ave, Roswell, NM 88201, (located on the 3rd floor) *Please use the parking lot on the South West side (back side) of the building and use the door with the ramp to enter the building on the side, for the easiest access. Do not park or enter thru the front (Kentucky Ave) entrance. If you and/or one of your colleagues can join us please let me know at 505-660-8403. Also, please feel free to call me if you have questions or need more information. Here is our website for additional information about what we do at Farm to Table - Thanks so much for your interest. We hope to see you next week! Warmest regards, Pam Roy Farm to Table Executive Director -- Pam Roy Farm to Table and the New Mexico Food & Agriculture Policy Council 618 B Paseo de Peralta Santa Fe, NM 87501 505-660-8403 Cell

New Publicaion NMSU Extension Guide E-307 Home canning of Vegetables

Good morning, The following CES publication has been revised and is now available online in PDF format. Guide E-307: Home Canning of Vegetables Revised by Nancy C. Flores (Extension Food Technology Spec., Dept. of Extension Family and Consumer Sciences) And Cindy Schlenker Davies (County Program Director/Extension Home Economist, Bernalillo County Extension Office)

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Feds warn of dry season in New Mexico Mar 29, 2016 Logan Hawke

An environmental group has filed a lawsuit in New Mexico charging irrigation water taken from the Rio Grande River over the last 80 years by the state's major central water district might not provide a substantial benefit, as required by law. WildEarth Guardians of Santa Fe is challenging the New Mexico State Engineer to better monitor and manage the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District's use of water permits it currently receives and has received over the last 80 years to make certain water taken from the river meets minimum federal water laws. Specifically, the lawsuit is charging that the water taken by the district to irrigate cropland in more than a 100-square mile area of Central New Mexico may not constitute a beneficial use of the natural resource as defined by law and therefore the original water permits issued by the state could be and possibly should be revoked. The lawsuit represents the latest development in the Southwest's ongoing struggle with an ever-changing and drier climate and the rising demand for water by an expanding variety of users. It may also represent the first real lines being drawn on the sandy shores of the Rio Grande, dividing farmers and environmentalists into opposing camps as the region's water resources become more challenged by warmer temperatures, changes in annual precipitation and trending smaller snowpacks each winter, a task with the ultimate goal of determining how the water from the river is to be used and divided in the years ahead. For the latest on southwest agriculture, please check out Southwest Farm Press Daily and receive the latest news right to your inbox. Originating in Colorado, the Rio Grande is the fourth largest river system in the United States, traveling nearly 1,900 miles through New Mexico, and creating the 900-mile international border between Mexico and Texas before feeding into the Gulf of Mexico. Farmers, communities and industry in both the U.S. and Mexico rely on the river's water for such diverse uses as drinking water, agriculture, and to sustain the environment across nearly 5,000 square miles of semi-arid land. The task is a major project even for Mother Nature. In recent years drought has interrupted the continuous flow of the river as vast miles of riverbed have been transformed into slight trickles of water or a hot, parched and dry sandy bottom as the searing Southwestern sun suck the moisture from the riverbed. In all, it has been estimated the river provides water to meet the needs of over six million people across the region and to irrigate as much as 3,200 square miles of productive farmland. The demand for more water and a changing climate in recent years has caused a major shortage of water resources throughout the Southwest and has prompted water woes and wars between special water districts, state, tribal and federal authorities, and even cities and industry that depend on the life- sustaining river. Last week the U.S. Interior Department issued its latest report, outlining many of the challenges that lay ahead for the depleted region's water resources. It warned of dry conditions, warmer-than-usual temperatures and smaller snowpacks in the years ahead, prompting members of WildEarth Guardians to take legal action in an attempt to force state and federal officials to demand the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD) justify the water they have taken and distributed down through the years, and to replace water that may have been taken that did not constitute a beneficial use of the resource. New Mexico State Engineer Tom Blaine said last week he is not aware of any unauthorized diversions from the river by the water district, and officials at the MRGCD have declined to comment on the lawsuit. New Mexico farm groups have voiced mostly only quiet concern over the building water issues across the region. The district forced irrigation cutbacks in several recent years as a measure to conserve water, but a shortage of irrigation water caused many farmers to reduce acreage and forced many others to pump groundwater from wells in order to bring their crops to harvest, often with smaller yields and poorer crop quality. Good summer and fall rains last year and the year before have helped to revitalize the chile, onion, pecan and alfalfa crops in New Mexico's south-central district but fear of a returning drought later this year has many producers worried. Some say another drought like in 2011 and 2012 would be devastating to the region's agriculture industry, and with growing water troubles associated with the Rio Grande, those problems could be greatly exacerbated. The lawsuit filed last week represents only the latest threat to the right-to-farm across the American Southwest and brings into question whether long-standing senior water rights will remain adequate security for farmers who grow the region's and the nation's food and fiber. But it's not the first time senior water rights have been challenged in recent times. In neighboring Texas, senior water rights holders in the Texas Rice Belt have discovered what can happen to those rights once urbanized areas along the length of the Colorado River suffer serious water shortages during times of drought. Through emergency action taken by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), irrigation water from the Colorado River designated for use for food production and for waterfowl and wildlife protection was curtailed or cut off and remains so for a fourth consecutive year, causing many rice farmers to cut back acreage or in a few instances abandon successful rice operations within the state. Farmers in New Mexico's Central Rio Grande Valley are now beginning to wonder if they could be the next water rights holders to fall victim to diminishing water resources in the face of rapid growth of urban areas and industry demand for water. Whether drought returns to the Southwest to stay or not this year or in the years ahead, troubling challenges like lawsuits over water rights are going to continue to plague water users on every side of the issue of who owns the water and how it can be used for the generations to come.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

My American Farm Outreach Grants

My American Farm Outreach Grants AFBF American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture We are looking for 10 schools to take part in our My American Farm Outreach Grant program for 2016. Upon completion of an agricultural outreach event, your school will receive $1,500 to further your efforts in sharing the importance of agriculture in our everyday lives. Apply here to become one of the 10 schools

Child Labor on the Farm and Ranch Posted on March 28, 2016 by tiffany.dowell

Child Labor on the Farm and Ranch Posted on March 28, 2016 by tiffany.dowell In preparing for an upcoming presentation, I have been looking into child labor laws in agriculture. What I’ve learned is that pretty much my entire childhood was illegal! Because many farmers and ranchers do employ minors to help on weekends or over the summer, understanding child labor laws related to agriculture is extremely important. peter Source of Laws Laws related to child labor and agriculture are found at both the federal and state levels. Federally, these rules are found in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Additionally, many states also have state-level employment laws as well. In Texas, these laws are found in the Texas Labor Code, Chapter 51. Most of the Texas-specific laws closely follow along with the federal rules. Additionally, the Texas Labor Code does not apply to a child employed in agriculture during a period of time when the child is not legally required to be attending school. See Texas Labor Code 51.003. Thus, the key considerations for Texas farmers and ranchers are the rules found in federal law. Farmer/Rancher’s Own Children A child of any age may be employed by his or her own parent at any time, doing any type of work, on a farm or ranch that is owned or operated by the parent. See 29 CFR 570.2(a)(2); (b). The same is true if the owner or operator of the farm or ranch is someone standing in place of the parent, such as a custodial grandparent. See id. The same is true under Texas law. See Texas Labor Code 51.003(1)(C). Other People’s Children Employment of another person’s child on the farm or ranch is where the rules get more complex. The applicable rules depend upon the age of the child and the nature of the tasks he or she is doing. See 29 USC 570. Age 16 or 17: The child can perform any farm job, including those deemed “hazardous” by the Secretary of Labor. Further, the child may work anytime, including school hours. Age 14 or 15: A child may perform only those jobs not considered to be “hazardous” by the Secretary of Labor. The child may only be employed outside of school hours. Age 12 or 13: A child may only work in an agricultural operation if the child’s parent is also employed there. Work may only occur outside of school hours. Children 11 or under: A child may work in an agricultural operation only if parental consent is obtained and the farm employees are exempt from the FLSA requirements. Here again, work is only permitted outside of school hours. “Hazardous Activities” As noted above, children under the age of 16 may not participate in activities deemed to be “hazardous” by the Secretary of Labor. The Secretary has developed a list of agricultural related activities deemed “hazardous.” See 29 USC 570.71. Many of these may surprise most farmers and ranchers. They are as follows: Operating a tractor of over 20 PTO horsepower, or connecting or disconnecting an implement of any of its parts to or from such a tractor. Operating or assisting to operate (basically including even touching) any of the following machines: corn picker, cotton picker, grain combine, hay mower, forage harvester, hay baler, potato digger, mobile pea viner, feed grinder, crop dryer, forage blower, auger conveyor, or the unloading mechanism of a nongravity-type self-unloading wagon or trailer, power post-hole digger, power post driver, nonwalking type rotary tiller, trencher, earthmoving equipment, fork lift, potato combine, power-driven circular, band or chain saw. Working on a farm in a yard, pen, or stall occupied by: a bull, boar, or stud horse maintained for breeding purposes, a sow with suckling pics or a cow with a newborn calf (umbilical cord present). Felling, bucking, skidding, loading, or unloading timber more than 6″ in diameter. Working from a ladder or scaffold at a height of more than 20 feet. Driving a bus, truck or automobile while transporting passengers. Riding on a tractor as a passenger or helper. Working inside a fruit, forage, or grain storage designed to retain an oxygen deficient or toxic atmosphere, a upright silo within 2 weeks of silage being added or when a top uploading device is in operating position, a manure pit, or a horizontal silo while operating a tractor for packing purposes. Handling or applying (includes cleaning equipment, disposal or return of empty containers or serving as flag man) Category I chemicals, identified by the word poison and the skull and cross-bone labels or Category II chemicals, identified by the word warning on the label. Handling or using a blasting agent. Transferring, transporting, or applying anhydrous ammonia. There are certain exceptions for student-learners in vocational agriculture education programs and 4-H members who have completed a tractor training program. For more details, see 29 USC 570.72. Recordkeeping Requirements If children are employed on a farm or ranch, certain record keeping requirements apply. See 29 USC 516.33(f). The required records include the child’s name in full, place w here the child lives during employment, date of birth, and written consent of the parent if required for employment. Penalty for Violations Persons who violate these rules can face serious consequences. First, monetary fines up to $11,000 per employee that is subject to a violation may be imposed. Violations found to be willful may be punished by up to an additional $10,000 and imprisonment of up to 6 months. If the violation results in death or serious injury of the child, the penalty increases to $50,000 per person and may be doubled if the violation is found to have been repeated or willful. Conclusion The good ol’ days have certainly changed when it comes to employing children on the farm or ranch. Anyone who intends to hire children under 18 should be aware of these rules and be careful to comply with the requirements.

The following new CES publication is now available online in PDF format.

Guide B-825: Defining Drought on New Mexico Rangelands By Nicholas K. Ashcroft (Extension Rangeland Management Specialist, Dept. of Extension Animal Sci. and Natural Resources) Samuel T. Smallidge (Extension Wildlife Specialist, Dept. of Extension Animal Sci. and Natural Resources)

Monday, March 28, 2016

NMSU to host workshop at Abiquiu on controlling unwanted trees

NMSU to host workshop at Abiquiu on controlling unwanted trees DATE: 03/14/2016 WRITER: Jane Moorman, 505-249-0527, CONTACT: Donald Martinez, 505-685-4523, ABIQUIU – Elm, willow and Russian olive trees sprouting along the acequias, streams and fence line can have a negative impact on the profitability of a farm. New Mexico State University’s Rio Arriba County Cooperative Extension Service will host a workshop on controlling these trees when they are sprouts, before they become full-grown bushes or trees. The workshop will be from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 30, at the Rio Arriba CES office, State Road 554, House #122-A, in Abiquiu. “Along our acequias and streams, we are seeing an encroachment of willows, elms and Russian olive,” said Donald Martinez, Rio Arriba Extension agricultural agent. “We, as a community, need to learn more about safe practices and treatments to secure good water flow. Plus ,with proper care, we can help forages and hay in our fields.” Clay Guck, of Helena Chemicals-New Mexico Specialty in Albuquerque, will demonstrate controlling the trees with herbicide using hand-held or backpack sprayers during a field demonstration at Jack Trujillo’s farm, which will be followed by a question-and-answer session. To register, call Donald Martinez at 505-685-4523. - 30 - Follow NMSU News on Twitter: Follow NMSU News on Facebook:

Food and Agriculture Groups Express Support, Optimism for New Opportunities in Cuba

Food and Agriculture Groups Express Support, Optimism for New Opportunities in Cuba WASHINGTON, March 22, 2016 – Leaders from across the U.S. agriculture and food sectors are expressing support and optimism in new opportunities for collaboration with their Cuban counterparts, announced during President Obama's historic visit to the island. The two neighboring countries share common climate and agriculture related concerns, and the measures announced today in Havana will mutually benefit the Cuban people and U.S. farmers and ranchers. While in Cuba with President Obama, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA will allow the 22 industry-funded Research and Promotion Programs and 18 Marketing Order organizations to conduct authorized research and information exchange activities with Cuba. These groups represent U.S. beef, pork, corn soy and other commodities and are responsible for creating bonds with consumers and businesses around the world in support of U.S. agriculture. Following today's announcement, they will be able to engage in cooperative research and information exchanges with Cuba about agricultural productivity, food security and sustainable natural resource management. Secretary Vilsack called the announcement "a significant step forward in strengthening our bond and broadening agricultural trade between the United States and Cuba." As food and agriculture groups continue to review today's announcement, they expressed their support in the following statements: Statement by American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall "American-grown foods hold a clear competitive advantage in the Cuban marketplace, and the use of farmer- and rancher-generated funds to promote and market U.S. farm goods fits the checkoff mission perfectly. This announcement by USDA represents a major boost in growing the Cuban market that sits just 90 miles off our coast. I want to personally thank USDA and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack for the support shown America's farmers and ranchers in this matter." Statement by Joel G. Newman, President & CEO, American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) "AFIA is pleased with Secretary Vilsack's announcement today that USDA will allow Research and Promotion Programs and Marketing Order activities in Cuba. This is the first step to the U.S. industry better understanding the Cuban market and to sharing vital information and expertise with Cuba on agriculture production. Once existing regulatory and financial hurdles and restrictions have been lifted, this foundation of knowledge sharing and relationship building will serve in providing greater opportunities for U.S. feed and pet food products to Cuba." Statement by Richard Wilkins, President, American Soybean Association (ASA) "Today's announcement is a big step forward in terms of expanding the Cuban marketplace for U.S. soy. The important thing to remember about checkoff funds is that they're farmer dollars--they belong to producers to do with as best they see fit to grow their industries. Because this is the farmers' money, it's only logical that we as farmers ought to be able to use it to expand whatever markets we see as the most promising for our individual commodities." Statement by Daryl Cates, Chairman, Illinois Soybean Growers "This is great news. We really appreciate everything Secretary Vilsack and the USDA staff did to make using checkoff dollars in Cuba a reality. Cuba is an important market for Illinois soybean farmers and the livestock producers who use our soybeans. It's vital that we collaborate on exchanging information about our product with Cuban government and industry officials. We look forward to advancing two-way trade with the Cuban people and fostering relationships." Statement by Connie Tipton, President & CEO, International Dairy Foods Association "Cuba is a natural market for the products made by U.S. dairy companies. We look forward to working with Secretary Vilsack and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to further explore this potential new market." Statement by Leigh Allen, Executive Director, National Black Growers Council "The National Black Growers Council (NBGC) is pleased that U.S. research & promotion boards will now be able to engage in an exchange with the Cuban growers and people to allow for dialogue and open information exchange. As an immediate neighbor of the United States of America, it is mutually beneficial that the strong agricultural industries in both countries share a common interest as it relates to food, fuel, and fiber of these commodities and their by-products. We commend the action and efforts of President Barack Obama, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and others such as the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba for bringing this to fruition. I am encouraged that the R&P boards, which in part has sustained American agriculture as a global leader, will now be able to be utilized by our counterparts in Cuba and vice versa. The NBGC looks forward to working closely with the R&P Boards and respective parties within the Cuban Ag sector in the near future to achieve this goal." Statement by Roger Johnson, president, National Farmers Union (NFU) "NFU fully supports the use of all tools available to normalize relations and fair trade with Cuba. As such, we appreciate AMS' decision to allow checkoff programs to use their resources for the promotion of American agricultural products to a market of 11 million people just 90 miles away from American shores." Statement by National Grain and Feed Association "The NGFA believes strongly in normalizing agricultural trade relations with Cuba, including arrangements under which Cuba can finance its purchases of U.S. agricultural products on normal commercial terms. While full normalization of trade ultimately will require congressional action, the steps announced today by Secretary Vilsack to promote cooperative research and information exchange activities with Cuba are another positive step forward along the journey to that ultimate destination." Statement by Brian King, Chairman of the USA Rice Western Hemisphere Promotions Subcommittee "The announcement today, like the White House announcements on liberalized travel from last week, continues the momentum toward normalized commercial relations with Cuba. We are looking forward to a USDA presence at the U.S. Embassy in Havana." Statement by Devry Boughner Vorwerk, Chair, U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC) "U.S. Agriculture Coalition is proud to be on the ground in Cuba in tandem with USDA continuing to forge industry to industry partnerships during the President Obama's historic visit. We applaud Secretary Vilsack for his leadership on advancing US-Cuba agricultural relations and are pleased that the two countries have signed a groundbreaking MOU in agriculture. We are especially pleased that farmer-funded checkoff dollars can now be used to facilitate relationships in country. USACC continues to support USDA's effort to place staff on the ground in Cuba." #

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Next Steps, Funding to Address Substance Abuse in Rural Communities

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Next Steps, Funding to Address Substance Abuse in Rural Communities ATLANTA, March 28, 2016 – At the Operation UNITE Summit in Atlanta today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a series of upcoming rural town halls as well as funding rural communities can use to conduct health and safety outreach around prescription painkiller and heroin abuse. Opioids, including prescription painkillers and heroin, accounted for 28,648 deaths in 2014, and rural communities are affected at higher rates than urban communities. This is in part due to a lack of outreach and treatment resources available in rural communities, and this year USDA is expanding its Rural Health and Safety Education (RHSE) competitive grants program to give rural communities the opportunity to use funds for programs that will address the opioid epidemic. In January, President Obama tapped Secretary Vilsack to lead an interagency task force focused on this specific challenge. Recent efforts have helped identify effective tools to reduce drug use and overdose, including evidence-based prevention programs, prescription drug monitoring, medication-assisted treatment and the overdose reversal drug naloxone. "The opioid epidemic is a fast-growing problem all across America, and we know that rural communities are facing an even higher burden than those in urban areas," said Vilsack. "We've identified ways to use existing resources to help rural towns and organizations address this challenge head-on and potentially save lives, and I look forward to meeting with community leaders to better understand how we can further support their efforts to create healthier, safer futures for families and individuals who may be struggling." Over the next several months, Vilsack will travel to New Hampshire, Missouri, Nevada, Mississippi and Appalachia to participate in town halls that will bring together local and state government partners, the health community, and other stakeholders to raise awareness of the issue and discuss possible solutions. Vilsack will encourage public and private organizations to commit to plans of action for their communities. Additionally, USDA is making available $1.4 million through its Rural Health and Safety Education (RHSE) competitive grants program. Administered through USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture's (NIFA), the program's goal is to enhance the quality of life in rural areas through improved health and safety education efforts, including expanding the focus to address the critical challenges of substance abuse in rural communities across the nation. For the first time, USDA is encouraging applicants to develop projects that specifically work to educate the public about opioid abuse and overdose. USDA will also consider projects that target other health outcomes. Since 2009, NIFA has awarded $10.6 million to the RHSE program for projects that support the health and safety needs of rural America. Fiscal year 2016 applications to the RHSE program should focus on supporting projects proposing to scale-up existing, outcome-based extension programs in the area of individual and family health education to rural communities, state-wide or regionally across state lines. Programs that apply for RHSE funding in fiscal year 2016 can focus on extension work in the realm of substance abuse, as well as nutrition and physical activity, healthy and safe homes, aging in place, as well as other behavioral health and human social topics. Applications are due June 1, 2016. More information is available in the online Request for Applications. Past projects funded through the RHSE program include an Oklahoma State University project that aims to improve health literacy among family and consumer sciences educators, rural hospital discharge planners, and family caregivers. A project from the University of Wisconsin seeks to increase cancer treatment education and access to services for rural residents, while also forming coalitions to address rural health disparities. Since 2009, NIFA has invested in and advanced innovative and transformative initiatives to solve societal challenges and ensure the long-term viability of agriculture. NIFA's integrated research, education, and extension programs, supporting the best and brightest scientists and extension personnel, have resulted in user-inspired, groundbreaking discoveries that are combating childhood obesity, improving and sustaining rural economic growth, addressing water availability issues, increasing food production, finding new sources of energy, mitigating climate variability, and ensuring food safety. To learn more about NIFA's impact on agricultural science, visit, sign up for email updates, or follow us on Twitter @usda_NIFA, #NIFAimpacts. #

National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Research Foundation to Coordinate Events to Support Pesticide Safety and Education Programs

National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Research Foundation to Coordinate Events to Support Pesticide Safety and Education Programs EPA has entered into two cooperative agreements with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Research Foundation (NASDARF). The first cooperative agreement is to coordinate meetings, workshops and conferences with EPA’s partners and stakeholders to advance the safe use of pesticides. The second cooperative agreement with NASDARF will support a Funding Distribution Program for Pesticide Safety Education Programs (PSEPs). These cooperative agreements are especially needed due to EPA’s recent revisions to the Worker Protection Standard. They will help meet the greater need for collaboration and resources over the next five years due to revisions to the Worker Protection Standard and Certified Applicator regulations. The PSEPs play a vital role in communicating with the pesticide applicator community how to comply with federal pesticide regulations. The application solicitations for the cooperative agreements were announced in May 2015. Examples of events to be coordinated under the first agreement may include: National Pesticide Applicator Certification and Training Workshops and Certification and Training Assessment Group meetings, as well as other regional and workgroup meetings. The total funding for the meeting support agreement is about $2.5 million with $700,000 available for the first year. PSEPs provide training and education across the country to pesticide applicators on how to safely apply and handle restricted use pesticides. PSEPs are usually administered through State Cooperative Extension Services at Land Grant Universities. The total funding for the five-year period of the cooperative agreement is about $5 million with $1,000,000 available for the first year of the agreement. To learn more about pesticide worker safety, visit

Improving Size and Quality of Seedless Grapes

Eddy County Cooperative Extension Service 1304 West Stevens Carlsbad, NM 88220 For More Information, Contact: Woods Houghton, Eddy County Agriculture Agent Eddy County Cooperative Extension Service Phone: 575-887-6595 Fax: 575-887-3795 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Press Release Eddy County Cooperative Extension Service 1304 West Stevens Carlsbad, NM 88220 For More Information, Contact: Woods Houghton, Eddy County Agriculture Agent Eddy County Cooperative Extension Service Phone: 575-887-6595 Fax: 575-887-3795 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Improving Size and Quality of Seedless Grapes Seedless grape varieties are popular in Eddy County, New Mexico home gardens. I often receive calls asking why garners have no fruit or real small grapes. Seedless grapes are prized for being seedless, but excessive fruit load often causes other quality characteristics, such as berry size, to be poor. Overloading weakens the vine, and the fruit matures late, with poor color, poor size, and low sugar content. Removing or thinning the fruit is usually recommended to increase quality when vines are overloaded. The use of any one of the following practices will improve fruit size and quality. For maximum results, several combinations are recommended. Pruning will reduce crop load. Follow recommended pruning practices for the variety. If you plan to use additional practices, leave an additional amount of fruiting wood. This will ensure sufficient fruit in years when fruit set is low. It also permits selection of better clusters at thinning time. Cluster thinning seedless varieties, such as ‘Thompson Seedless’ and ‘Black Monukka’, these varieties often produce more clusters than the vine can properly mature. Simply remove some of them. This allows the foodstuff produced by the leaves to better nourish the remaining clusters. This practice will also benefit seeded varieties. Vigor of the vine and previous experience would determine number of clusters left per vine. After the berries have set (the shatter stage, when flower parts are falling), remove clusters that are undersized, oversized, or misshapen. This is probably the most important step inimproving quality Berry thinning for additional fruit quality improvement of ‘Thompson Seedless’, ‘Black Monukka’, and other varieties that produce very large or compact clusters, remove parts of the remaining clusters soon after cluster thinning. Remove about one-half of each cluster (the lower part of the main stem), leaving four or five branches near the cluster’s base. The lower part of the cluster is usually compact, and the berries ripen later than those on the upper part. Girdling is the removal of a ring of bark 1/8 to ¼ inch wide from an arm or cane may result in increased berry size if done soon after the shatter stage. Food will remain in the area above the ring and will be available for berry growth. I personally don’t do this. Gibberellin on ‘Thompson Seedless’ grapes produced commercially for table grapes are usually treated with this plant hormone to increase berry size. If the practices listed above are followed, large berries of good quality should be produced. If larger berries are desired, a single spray of 30 parts per million (ppm) of the material may be applied when the berries are 3/16 of an inch in diameter or about the last week of May or the first week of June in the Eddy County area. Direct the spray as close to the clusters as possible. For treatment of a few vines, the clusters may be dipped in the solution in a wide mouth container. Gibberellin may not readily be obtained locally in small quantities but is available from pharmaceutical companies. Parts per million can be determined as follows: If the material is 1 percent gibberellin, .264 gallon (1 Liter) of such a material in a liter of water will make 10,000 ppm. To make 30 ppm the amount of water can be increased or the chemical material in the solution can be decreased: i.e., 10.1 fluid ounces (.3 liter) in 26.5 gallons (100 liters) of water will make 30 ppm; or 1 fluid ounce (.03 liter) in 2.64 gallons (10liters) of water will also make 30 ppm. For more information see NMSU Extension Publication . Subscribe to Eddy County Ag news at: Eddy County Extension Service, New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and educator. All programs are available to everyone regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, handicap, or national origin. New Mexico State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Eddy County Government Cooperating.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Register for March 30 Public Meeting on Updating the Coordinated Framework for Regulation of Biotechnology

Register for March 30 Public Meeting on Updating the Coordinated Framework for Regulation of Biotechnology On March 30, 2016, a third public meeting on updating the Coordinated Framework for Regulation of Biotechnology will be held at the University of California, Davis, Conference Center in Davis, California. In July 2015, the White House issued the memorandum titled “Modernizing the Regulatory System for Biotechnology Products.” This memorandum initiated a process to modernize the federal regulatory system for products of biotechnology and establish mechanisms for periodically updating that system to ensure public confidence and prevent unnecessary barriers to future innovation and competitiveness. At this meeting, representatives from EPA, the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy will review progress made on efforts to modernize the regulatory system for biotechnology products and will illustrate the current roles and responsibilities of EPA, FDA, and USDA regarding biotechnology products by discussing case studies of hypothetical products. Those planning to attend either in person or via the Web are asked to register in advance. For additional information on the process for updating the regulation of biotechnology, see docket FDA-2015-N-3403 at For information from EPA on the regulation of biotechnology, go to

Thursday, March 24, 2016

New Mexico Amends Right to Farm Act

New Mexico Amends Right to Farm Act Posted on March 14, 2016 by tiffany.dowell The New Mexico Legislature recently passed an amendment to the state’s Right to Farm Act, which was signed into law by Governor Martinez on March 3, 2016. Senate Bill 72 adds a new paragraph to the Right to Farm Act, which has been in place in New Mexico since 1981. Right to Farm Acts Generally Assume a dairy has been in operation for 10 years, and the city has continually moved further and further out towards the dairy. Now, where there used to be open fields, the dairy finds itself surrounded by housing developments. The new neighbors, who do not appreciate the smell of dairy cattle and the manure that comes with them, file suit for nuisance and seek an injunction to shut down the dairy operation. It was this type of scenario that led to the passage of Right to Farm Acts. All 50 states have a Right to Farm Act on the books. Although each statute differs in the details, the general purpose is to protect agricultural operations from nuisance lawsuits brought by neighboring landowners. The most common complaints against ag operations are odor, but there have also been claims made related to dust, manure run off, blowing hay leaves, noise, light, and slow moving traffic. To read more about Right to Farm Acts and some specific provisions that agricultural operators should be aware of regarding the statute in their own state, read this prior blog post. New Mexico’s Right to Farm Act The New Mexico Right to Farm Act was initially passed in 1981 and is codified as NMSA 1978, Sections 47-9-1 to -7. [Read full language here and read amendment here.] The purpose of the law is “to conserve, protect, encourage, develop, and improve agricultural land for the production of agricultural products and to reduce the loss to the state of its agricultural resources by limiting the circumstances under which agricultural operations may be deemed a nuisance.” The Act protects “Agricultural Operations” which includes the plowing, billing, or preparation of the soil; planting, growing, fertilizing, or harvesting crops; application of pesticides, herbicides, or other chemicals; breeding, hatching, raising, producing, feeding, keeping, slaughtering mules, cattle, sheep, goats, rabbits fowl raised for food, or similar farm animals for commercial purposes; production and keeping of honeybees, bee products, and processing facilities; production, processing, or packaging of eggs or egg products; manufacturing of livestock or poultry feed; crop rotation; commercial agriculture; and roadside markets. This definition is quite broad as it includes not only growing, but the processing and packaging of many products as well. If a lawsuit is found to be frivolous, the court may award reasonable attorney’s fees to the farmer. This is a more limited attorney fee provision as compared to some statutes in other states, which provide that any successful defendant shall recover reasonable attorney fees. Importantly, the protections of the Act are not limitless. For example, the Act does not protect a farm from facing suit if the farm is operated negligently, improperly or illegally. Further, the Act does not prevent a person from seeking damages sustained due to the pollution of, or change in the condition of, waters of a stream or because of overflow on his or her land. The most important provision in the Act is found in NMSA 1978, Section 47-9-3, titled “Agricultural Operations deemed not a nuisance.” Section (a) of this provision reads that any agricultural operation is not, and shall not become, a nuisance by any changed condition in or about the locality of the operation if the operation was not a nuisance at the time the operation began and has been in existence for at least a year. What this means essentially is that once an ag operation has been in existence for a year, a neighboring landowner may not bring suit for nuisance complaining about the operation. Section (c) provides that the established date of operation is the date on which an agricultural operation commenced or an ag facility was constructed. If the operation or facility is subsequently expanded or a new technology is adopted, the established date of operation does not change. So, for example, assume a 100 cow dairy began in New Mexico in 1999. In 2009, the dairy changed to a new style of milking parlor and expanded to 1,000 cows. These changes–the implementation of new technology and the expansion in operation–do not change the established date of operation. This is important because that means the 1 year period during which nuisance suits can be filed is not reset with these changes. The 2016 Amendment The recent amendment to the statute adds an additional paragraph to Section 47-9-3. The new paragraph provides: “No cause of action based upon nuisance may be brought by a person whose claim arose following the purchase, lease, rental, or occupancy of property proximate to a previously established agricultural operation or agricultural facility, except when such previously established agricultural operation or agricultural facility has substantially changed in the nature and scope of its operations.” This language makes clear that a neighbor who purchases, rents, or occupies land near an established ag operation may not bring suit for nuisance unless the operation has “substantially changed” both the “nature” and “scope” of its operations. Going back to our example, a dairy updating its milking parlor and increasing cow numbers would likely not be changing both “nature” and “scope.” If a farm changed from a row crop operation to a 5,000 head hog operation, that might constitute a change in both nature and scope. In the end, in all likelihood, it will be a court that will have to decide based upon the facts in each case, whether an operation has substantially changed in both nature and scope such that a nuisance claim may be permissible. Conclusion Right to Farm legislation offers important protection to agricultural operations. Given urban sprawl and the fact that many farms, ranches, and ag facilities now find themselves with new neighbors who may not understand what actually goes into raising food and fiber, these statutes are critical to ensure our nation’s food supply. Farmers and ranchers should be aware of the provisions of the Right to Farm Act in their own state and seek to comply with the requirements needed for the statutory protection to apply. This entry was posted in Right to Farm laws. Bookmark the permalink.

White House Water Sunmit The White House Announces New Commitments to Water Sustainability Following the Water Summit On Tuesday March 22nd, The White House hosted the first Water Summit to discuss the actions and commitments necessary for building a sustainable water future. Following the summit, The White House announced that nearly $4 billion in private capital will be invested in water-infrastructure projects nationwide, more than $1 billion from the private sector will be allocated to innovative research and technology and nearly $35 million in federal grants this year will support cutting-edge water science. The executive office also introduced a Presidential Memorandum and supporting Action Plan on building drought resilience as well as a new National Water Model for improving river-forecasting.

Drought and Management Actions Affect World Waterway&the Rio Grande

Drought and Management Actions Affect World Waterway&the Rio Grande Posted: 22 Mar 2016 11:19 AM PDT Summary: New research can help water managers along the Rio Grande make wise decisions about how to best use the flow of a river vital for drinking water, agriculture and aquatic habitat. These studies also show how conditions from the prolonged drought in the West have affected the Rio Grande watershed Contact Information: Heidi Koontz ( Phone: 303-202-4763 ); Jennifer LaVista ( Phone: 720-480-7875 ); In recognition of World Water Day and in conjunction with the White House Water Summit, the U.S. Geological Survey is raising awareness of water issues and potential solutions in the United States. New research can help water managers along the Rio Grande make wise decisions about how to best use the flow of a river vital for drinking water, agriculture and aquatic habitat. These studies also show how conditions from the prolonged drought in the West have affected the Rio Grande watershed. The Rio Grande forms the world’s longest river border between two countries as it flows between Texas and Mexico, where it is known as the Rio Bravo. The river runs through three states in the U.S., beginning in southern Colorado and flowing through New Mexico and Texas before it forms the border with Mexico. Parts of the Rio Grande are designated as wild and scenic, but most of the river is controlled and passes through several dam and reservoir systems during its 1,896 mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico. The river is managed through a complex system of compacts, treaties, and agreements that determine when and how much water is released along the river’s length. The amount and timing of water releases have varied in recent years due to drought. Recent USGS research on the middle Rio Grande looked at the effects of those changes on the amount of salts that build up in the Rincon and Mesilla Valleys in Texas and New Mexico. Results showed a decline in the amount of salt carried by the river due to a decrease of releases during the drought. The two valleys responded differently to the decreased releases. Salt levels in the Rincon Valley declined, whereas salt levels in the Mesilla Valley increased. Salt buildup in the soil and water can affect agriculture, which is an important industry in those valleys. Successfully managing water use along the river is important to the sustainability of agricultural and communities along the river. To help with that goal, USGS has measured water gains and losses to the Rio Grande from between the Leasburg Dam near Leasburg, New Mexico, and the American Dam near El Paso, Texas. American Dam is near where the Rio Grande becomes the border with Mexico. For the past several years, drought conditions contributed to decreasing flows along this 64-mile stretch, and sections of the river were dry during parts of the year. Flow in the Rio Grande is affected by how water is used throughout the basin. For instance, the Albuquerque area of New Mexico has two principal sources of water: groundwater from the underlying aquifer system and withdrawals and diversions from the Rio Grande. From 1960 to 2002, pumping from the aquifer system caused groundwater levels to decline from about 40 feet along the Rio Grande in Albuquerque to more than 120 feet in the valley away from the river. As a result, the USGS, in cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation, conducted a study to understand the exchange of water between the Rio Grande and the aquifer system. By characterizing the interaction between surface water from the Rio Grande and groundwater from the aquifer system, scientists provide valuable information to help managers make informed decisions about water use. In addition to helping decision makers determine how to best manage the river for human use, USGS scientists are studying how native fish and their aquatic habitats are affected by different streamflow conditions along the river. For example, previous investigations have shown that the decline in Rio Grande silvery minnow may be attributed to modifications of the natural streamflow regime, channel drying, construction of reservoirs and dams, stream channelization, declining water quality, and interactions with nonnative fish. Understanding native species habitat limitations is important for decision makers to better plan future flow operations to meet desired resource goals. More information on the research and results discussed in this release can be found in the following studies:  Variability of surface-water quantity and quality and shallow groundwater levels and quality within the Rio Grande Project area, New Mexico and Texas, 2009–13  Seepage investigation of the Rio Grande from below Leasburg Dam, Leasburg, New Mexico, to above American Dam, El Paso, Texas, 2014  Seepage investigation of the Rio Grande from below Leasburg Dam, Leasburg, New Mexico, to above American Dam, El Paso, Texas, 2015  Groundwater hydrology and estimation of horizontal groundwater flux from the Rio Grande at selected locations in Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2009–10  Fish assemblage composition and mapped mesohabitat features over a range of streamflows in the Middle Rio Grande, New Mexico, winter 2011-12, summer 2012  Physical characteristics and fish assemblage composition at site and mesohabitat scales over a range of streamflows in the Middle Rio Grande, New Mexico, winter 2011-12, summer 2012

Lawsuit seek accounting for Rio Grande water use.

Lawsuit seeks accounting for Rio Grande water use By Ollie Reed Jr. / Journal Staff Writer Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016 at 12:05am ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A lawsuit filed in state district court by an environmental organization demands that the New Mexico state engineer make the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District prove it uses as much water as it is permitted to use. In the suit, WildEarth Guardians, a Santa Fe-based organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of wildlife, wild places and wild rivers, claims that “despite clear mandates,” the conservancy district has avoided showing it uses all of the water the state Engineer’s Office approved permits for in 1925. The conservancy district delivers water to 65,000 acres of croplands in the Middle Rio Grande Valley. In the suit, filed in Santa Fe on Monday, WildEarth Guardians requests that the court compel state Engineer Tom Blaine to set a date by which the conservancy district prove actual use of the water it claimed in 1925 or cancel the district’s permits. The Engineer’s Office did not immediately respond to phone calls requesting comment. In a news release, the conservancy district declined to comment on the lawsuit but noted that it “does acknowledge that the Rio Grande Compact Commission and the Interstate Stream Commission have been working with the district since its inception and there has not been an accounting issue to date.” The Rio Grande Compact governs the distribution of water among New Mexico, Colorado and Texas. In the suit, WildEarth Guardians refers to a May 1996 state water engineer’s memorandum that indicates the conservancy district put 164,598 acre feet of water to beneficial use in 1979 compared with 301,599 acre feet in 1928. An acre foot is the amount of water it takes to cover one acre at a depth of one foot. According to the suit, state law requires a permit holder to prove beneficial use of water by a specified date. The suit claims the state granted the conservancy district extensions from 1935 to 1987 and set another deadline of Dec. 31, 1997, but the conservancy district has yet to provide proof of beneficial use of all the water it is allowed under the permit. “For 80 years the state has given the district a blank water check which is depriving the Rio Grande, the bosque and their native fish, wildlife and plants of the water they need to thrive,” said Jen Pelz, Wild Rivers program director for WildEarth Guardians. “The district has a responsibility to the water users in the district, as well as the citizens of New Mexico, to only use the water it needs.” WildEarth Guardians also filed two applications with the state engineer to appropriate any water not put to beneficial use by the conservancy district for storage in an environmental pool in Abiquiu Reservoir. Water in the environmental pool would be reserved to protect and restore flows, habitat and ecosystems important to the survival of fish, wildlife and plants of the Rio Grande, the environmental organization said.

USDA changes course, seeks vaccine to prepare for FMD outbreak

USDA changes course, seeks vaccine to prepare for FMD outbreak Agri-Pulse March 23, 2016 USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has concluded that it’s unprepared to handle a large outbreak of the highly virulent foot and mouth livestock disease (FMD) and is taking the first steps to build a stockpile of at least 250 million doses of vaccine. Up until about 2006 the APHIS plan to deal with a “moderate-to-large” FMD outbreak – an event where infection spreads through one to several “livestock-dense” states – was simply to destroy all infected animals, according to USDA officials who spoke with Agri-Pulse. But an ongoing dialogue with livestock producers and rising beef and pork production, as well as an increase in livestock mobility, sparked a change in APHIS’ plan, the officials said. “We examined our ability to respond, and up until about 10 years ago the response was stamping out, which means we would kill the cattle and swine,” one USDA official said. “But the sheer amount of funding and resources it would take to kill a feedlot (full of cattle) or a large number of swine was virtually overwhelming, so vaccination became a much more attractive option.” Dave Sjeklocha, a veterinarian for Cattle Empire, agrees. Testifying before a House Agriculture subcommittee last month as a representative of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, he said that it is estimated that over 400,000 head of cattle are in transit on a daily basis. “The structure of modern agriculture in the United States, including large herd sizes and extensive intra- and interstate movement of cattle and cattle products will make it nearly impossible to control an FMD outbreak in livestock-dense areas without the rapid use of tens of millions of doses of FMD vaccine,” he said. There hasn’t been a case of FMD in the U.S. since 1929, but cattle ranchers and the U.S. meat industry have become increasingly concerned as global meat and livestock trade intensifies, often with countries that have long histories of battling the virus. Just last year APHIS gave the green light to Brazil and Argentina to prepare to begin exporting beef to the U.S. despite industry concerns of an FMD threat. About six months ago, the agency met with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and other rancher groups. The message to APHIS during that meeting, Sjeklocha said, was an emphatic plea to bulk up the agency’s stockpile of vaccines. So on March 14, APHIS sent out what it calls a “sources sought notice,” informing vaccine companies around the world that the agency wants to begin discussions about contracting hundreds of millions of doses. “APHIS has held extensive conversations with livestock producers and related industries while developing our FMD preparedness plans,” the agency said in a memo to leaders of the livestock and meat sectors. “During these discussions, everyone involved recognized there is an increased need for a steady vaccine supply to combat this devastating disease should it enter the country.” But it won’t come quickly and it won’t be cheap. APHIS says it wants to eventually have 25 million doses each for 10 different strains of the virus. If it were to buy all 250 million doses right now – an impossibility because it doesn’t have the money and global production doesn’t yet have the capacity – it would cost anywhere between $100 million and $200 million. The broad range is due to the spread in cost – ranging from 40 cents to 80 cents per dose – between different vaccines for different strains. “It’s important to understand that even if we had the money today, the global production capacity is still limited,” another USDA official said. “It would have to grow in order to meet the need. We simply couldn’t build the bank overnight. It’s not a matter of going to the Internet and placing an order for 25 million doses. This is going to take a number of years in order to have a large enough inventory that we can rely on.” And that bumps up the price, the government officials said, because global vaccine demand is stronger than supply, and prices rise an average of 5 percent every year. Manufacturers are expanding capacity, they said, but South Korea, Japan, Australia and several European countries are all competing for the doses. Further complicating APHIS’ task is that the vaccine manufacturers must be located on foreign soil because the virus is so virulent that U.S. law forbids companies to work with it domestically. “We would like to have the funding available as soon as possible, but that’s going to be contingent on how important Congress views this,” one APHIS official said. It may also be contingent on how hard the Obama administration pushes lawmakers for the funding. USDA asked for just $1.7 million for FMD vaccine purchases in its budget proposal for the 2017 fiscal year. One lawmaker who agrees with APHIS that an FMD outbreak would be “devastating” is Rep. David Rouzer, R-N.C. As chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture, he said at a Feb. 11 hearing: “I’m concerned that an outbreak of FMD in the United States would have catastrophic consequences for the multibillion dollar livestock industry, delivering a very harsh economic effect that would be felt far beyond animal agriculture. In fact, I have seen a recent estimate focusing on the pork industry, estimating an annual impact of $12.8 billion dollars.” That was the conclusion of a recent Iowa State University study that also predicted the corn industry would lose $44 billion annually and the soybean industry $24.9 billion as feed purchases declined. The first conclusion of the Iowa State study, entitled “FMD Vaccine Surge Capacity for Emergency Use in the United States,” is that APHIS must enter “into vendor‐managed‐ inventory contracts with international manufacturers of FMD vaccines, for rapid delivery of multiple strains of finished vaccines into the U.S.”

French beef industry awaits mad cow test results

French beef industry awaits mad cow test results By Daniel Enoch Agri-Pulse MArch 23, 2016 WASHINGTON, March 23, 2016 -- French livestock officials are awaiting test results on tissue samples from a cow suspected of having bovine spongiform encephalopathy. If confirmed, it would be the country's first case of BSE since 2004. France is Europe's biggest cattle producer and there is concern that a new case of BSE - more commonly known as mad cow disease -- could affect exports in an industry already struggling with low prices. Last year French beef exports totaled just over $1 billion, trade ministry data show. The suspect cow died on a farm in the Ardennes region of France. Preliminary testing on the carcass on March 17 indicated the presence of BSE. Tissue samples have been sent to an official European BSE reference laboratory in the UK for further testing. Officials said it could be several days yet before results are available. Confirmation of the disease could prompt the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) to reassess France's official BSE risk level. Only last year the country regained the safest rating of “negligible risk.” South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Singapore lifted embargos on French beef following the OIE decision. BSE is a brain-wasting disease that is fatal to cattle. Scientists say it is usually transmitted through animal feed containing tissue from infected animals. Most countries, including the U.S. and Canada, ended that practice years ago. BSE has also been linked to the incurable variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans, which destroys brain tissue. There have been four confirmed cases of BSE in the U.S. The first was in 2003, in Washington state, in a dairy cow that was born in Canada. The most recent case was in 2012, in a dairy cow in central California. The OIE upgraded the U.S. to a “negligible risk” rating in 2013. It was previously rated as a “controlled risk” country. A spokesman for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association noted that while France is approved to export beef to the U.S., the U.S. hasn't purchased any of the meat from France since March 2010. Future export eligibility, he added, would be based on France's OIE risk status.

Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is suspect in North Eastern France.

USCA News Alert A suspected case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), more commonly known as "mad cow disease", has been found in the northeastern region of Ardennes in France, said an announcement from the farm ministry on Tuesday. This new discovery could largely impact the country's beef exports and reverse France's official BSE risk level. Last year, the country earned the World Organisation for Animal Health's safest category, "negligible risk", after proving that the last infected native animal was born more than 11 years before. Tissue samples from the five-year old cow were collected and sent to a laboratory in Britain, with results expected in eight to ten days. Agri-Pulse reported on the most recent updates on the case this afternoon--their article can be found HERE and below. USCA will continue monitoring this issue and provide additional updates as they come. USCA has been in multiple meetings recently with USDA officials in which the topic of animal health--notably FMD, vaccinations and the general impact on trade was discussed. You will note two articles below from Agri-Pulse which highlight these issues. USCA supports providing adequate funding for vaccines and corresponding research to fight animal diseases, however, USCA has maintained since its inception, that the best way to fight FMD is to PREVENT it from being imported via South American and other affected regions. You can read the two Agri-Pulse pieces below to learn more and see how this effort continues. USCA will continue to monitor and be engaged in these animal health discussions as they continue. Our first and foremost goal is the health of the U.S. domestic herd.

USDA Offers New Toolkit to Assess Economic Impact of Local Foods

USDA Offers New Toolkit to Assess Economic Impact of Local Foods New Report from USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service Helps Communities Measure the Economic Benefits of Local Food Investments With Real-World Examples and Measurement Tactics CHICAGO, March 24, 2016 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today unveiled a new resource created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Colorado State University that will help communities and businesses evaluate the economic benefits of investing in local food systems. The Secretary released details about "The Economics of Local Food Systems: A Toolkit to Guide Community Discussions, Assessments and Choices" in his keynote remarks at the 12th Annual Good Food Festival and Conference in Chicago. "Strong local and regional food systems are helping to revitalize rural and urban communities across the country, and more than 160,000 farmers and ranchers nationwide are tapping into growing consumer demand for locally grown products. With USDA support, this sector is increasing access to healthy foods for local residents and creating opportunity for small businesses that store, process, market and distribute food," said Vilsack. "Now community leaders have a toolkit that can help measure job creation and other economic development indicators, which will help make the case for continued investments." The Local Food System Toolkit was developed by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to help communities reliably evaluate the economic impact of investing in local and regional food systems. The Local Food System Toolkit provides detailed guidance in seven modules to measure and assess the expected economic impacts of local food investments. Using real-world projects, experiences, and applied research, it provides grounded, credible, and useable assessment methods. The Local Food System Toolkit can be used by policy makers, community leaders, private businesses or foundations to offer specific estimates that will help them decide whether to invest in initiatives that increase local food activity. Secretary Vilsack has identified strengthening local and regional food systems as one of the four pillars of USDA's commitment to rural economic development. Over the course of this Administration, USDA has helped farmers, ranchers, and businesses access the growing market for local and regional foods, which was valued at $12 billion in 2014 according to industry estimates. In the last six years, USDA invested more than $800 million in more than 29,100 local and regional food businesses and infrastructure projects. These activities contribute to USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food (KYF2) initiative, which coordinates efforts across USDA to support local and regional food systems. AMS plays a key role in supporting farmers markets, community supported agriculture (CSA), food hubs, and local food businesses by offering technical assistance, conducting research, and awarding grants. The Local Food System Toolkit is the latest resource offered by AMS in support of local and regional food systems. # Get the latest Agricultural Marketing Service news at or follow us on Twitter @USDA_AMS. You can also read about us on the USDA blog.

New Mexico hosts agricultural institute to prep future farmers, ranchers

New Mexico hosts agricultural institute to prep future farmers, ranchers AgriFuture Educational institute to be hosted in Las Cruces, May 16-18 (LAS CRUCES, N.M.) – New Mexico’s current and future farmers, ranchers, and others in agriculture are invited to a conference aimed at informing, inspiring, and connecting those who will produce our food and fiber (cotton, wool, etc.) going forward. New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) and a dozen other agencies and organizations involved in New Mexico agriculture are coordinating and hosting the 2016 AgriFuture Educational Institute for beginning/future farmers and ranchers, as well as those aiming for other careers in agriculture. The institute will be hosted May 16-18 in Las Cruces. According to USDA’s most recent agriculture census, New Mexico saw a slight uptick in the average age of farmers in New Mexico from 59.6 years old in 2007 to 60.5 years old in 2012. At the same time, however, the census showed a dramatic increase in the number of people age 34 and younger who are agricultural producers, from 818 in 2007 to 1,200 in 2012. “The AgriFuture Educational Institute really tries to harness both of those trends, because what lies between them is the opportunity to transfer agricultural knowledge,” New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte said. “We want to bring together experienced farmers and ranchers, and those who are just now entering the world of agriculture or who want to enter it soon.” The institute is open to future agricultural producers age 40 and under; veterans are encouraged to attend. It is also open to current agricultural producers of all ages in hopes that they will serve as mentors going forward. A variety of agricultural topics will be addressed in the breakout session piece of the institute. Then attendees will board several buses to take private tours of a wide variety of agricultural businesses in and around Las Cruces. The 2016 event builds on the success of the inaugural AgriFuture, which was hosted in 2014. A mix of 200 current and future agricultural producers attended, including rancher and New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts executive director Debbie Hughes. “The one-on-one conversations that we were able to have during the dinners [sponsored by current farmers, ranchers, and agribusiness leaders] is what stands out in my mind from AgriFuture 2014,” Hughes said. People can register to attend at, where event updates will soon be posted (as well as at The registration fee for future agriculture producers is only $50 for the Institute and includes lodging. The fee for current agriculture producers (those who can potentially mentor beginning farmers and ranchers) is only $100. The deadline to register is April 29. Institute activities are being planned by NMDA and several of the state’s agricultural organizations: Ag New Mexico Farm Credit Service, Dairy Producers of New Mexico, Farm Credit of New Mexico, New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts, New Mexico Beef Council, New Mexico Cattle Growers Association, New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau, New Mexico State University’s Cooperative Extension Service, New Mexico Wool Growers Inc., USDA-Farm Service Agency, and USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service. Institute activities are also being funded by these and other organizations, as well as a long list of individuals. To help sponsor the institute in any amount, please call NMDA at 575-646-3702. ###

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Western SARE News

Pollinator Forage Development Farmer Heather Harrell and beekeeper Les Crowder of New Mexico recognized the need to develop conservation techniques to preserve the continued presence of honeybees and other pollinator species due to their collapsing populations. Research existed on the potential causes of the collapse; however, more information was needed on remediation. Organic producers, such Harrell and Crowder, had turned to the idea of building healthy habitats for pollinators in areas that are protected from environmental degradation. The goal of their Western SARE farmer/rancher project, “Pollinator Forage Development,” was to begin the process of identifying forage species which provide food and habitat for pollinators while serving as windbreaks, livestock forage, and nitrogen-fixing cover crops. Read More 2016 Funded Projects Announced The Administrative Council approved funding for 37 projects totaling almost $2.9 million in the 2016 grant cycle. Projects are located in 11 Western states and protectorates. Innovative researchers, ag professionals, farmers, and ranchers will be investigating topics important to Western agriculture such as: * Effective water, weed, and nutrient management; * Season extension; * Cover crops and soil health; * Rangeland and riparian habitat management; * Food safety; and more. Read Summaries Improving Irrigation and Nutrient Management Growers on the Central Coast of California face rising costs and increasing regulatory scrutiny due to implementation of Total Maximum Daily Load. Thus, many growers are seeking more sustainable and cost-effective irrigation and nutrient management strategies. Pamela Krone-Davis, Agricultural Water Quality Coordinator for the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Foundation, noted that this had led to demand for technical assistance for implementation of irrigation and nutrient best management practices in Central Coast watersheds. With project partners, it was determined that a cross training program was needed to assist agricultural and resource conservation professionals across California’s Central Coast in coordinating and building technical capacity to ensure delivery of the most up-to-date, comprehensive, and consistent information. Read More Open Source Software for CSAs The Siskiyou Sustainable Cooperative CSA has recently unveiled innovative, open source software developed through funds acquired from Western SARE to assist CSA farmers in connecting with their members. At a time when farmers work hard to keep up with some of the latest trends in the local food movement nationally, CSA coordinator Maud Powell sought to provide a high-tech, user friendly tool to support CSA members interested in having their member information right at their fingertips. "CSAs continue to be a great marketing channel for farmers, but in order to attract customers, they need to be adaptive to cultural trends," says Maud. Read More 2015/2016 Report from the Field Read about SARE-funded work in the areas of sustainable dairy cropping systems, soil health assessments, nutrient management, cover crops, beginning farmers, pollinators, technical assistance programs for women farmers, and more. This edition includes highlights of projects funded through the graduate student program and the highly regarded Sustainable Agriculture Fellowship, a professional development program coordinated by SARE and NACAA. Download Report twitter facebook # This email was sent from Western SARE to Western SARE | 4865 Old Main Hill, Utah State University, Logan, UT, 84322, United States Utah State University | 4865 Old Main Hill | Logan UT 84322-4865 | (435) 797- 2257 Click here to unsubscribe Powered by Mailigen

EQUIP sign up period ends soon.

NRCS Contact Rey T. Adame (505) 761-4406 ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., March 23, 2016 - Assistant State Conservationist Kris Graham Chavez of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in New Mexico recently announced that a sign up for fiscal year 2016 Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is underway and all New Mexico agricultural producers who would like to be considered for financial assistance under special conservation initiatives need to apply by Friday, April 15, 2016. While ag producers can apply year round for EQIP assistance, this application cutoff announcement is specific to the following 11 National Initiatives, 2 State Initiatives and 1 Local Program: 1. Organic 2. On-Farm Energy 3. Conservation Activity Plans 4. Ogallala National Initiative 5. StrikeForce 6. Lesser Prairie Chicken Initiative 7. Southwestern Willow Flycatcher Initiative 8. Drought Initiative 9. National Water Quality Initiative 10. Joint Chiefs Landscape Restoration 11. Resiliency to Climate Change Initiative 12. New Mexico State Acequia Initiative 13. New Mexico Watershed Initiative 14. Roswell AFO Local Program Producers can apply by visiting their local USDA Service Center. Producers who have established a Client Gateway account may submit their application online. Producers need to receive a farm and tract number from the Farm Service Agency (FSA) by the application deadline. "We want New Mexico farmers and ranchers to know that we are ready to assist producers get conservation on the ground and hope they will take this time to stop by their local NRCS office to discuss their current conservation needs. If one of these initiatives does not fit the needs of the customer, the field office staff will be happy to discuss a conservation plan and financial assistance that will be available in Fiscal Year 2017 that would fit their operation," said Graham Chavez. EQIP provides a targeted, science-based approach to restoring and protecting habitat while strengthening rural economies and cultivating collaboration among conservation partners. EQIP provides a flat rate payment to producers to install conservation practices, such as Range Planting, Windbreaks, Residue Management No-Till, Riparian Forest Buffers, Watering Facilities, Fence, Tree Planting, and Wildlife Habitat Management. NRCS provides leadership in a partnership effort to help people conserve, maintain and improve our natural resources and environment. You can find more Program information at NRCS New Mexico Programs. For more information about NRCS New Mexico visit NRCS New Mexico.

New book on the Pecos river water strugules.

A new book about the struggles for water on the Pecos is out. The book is Bitter Waters: the struggles of The Pecos River by Patrick Dearen. from University of Oklahoma Press. Phone !-800-627-737

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute Hosting Community Meeting on Produced Water

FOR RELEASE: MARCH 14, 2016 From: Robert Sabie, 575-646-5026 New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute Hosting Community Meeting on Produced Water The New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute (NM WRRI), along with the NMSU Eddy County Extension Office, will host a meeting on the potential use of produced water as a means to extend freshwater aquifer supply in Southeastern New Mexico. The meeting will be held at Pecos River Village Conference Center, Room 4 on March 29, 2016 at 2:00 PM in Carlsbad and is open to the public. Persons interested in community water planning are encouraged to attend. NM WRRI recently started a six-month project in Lea and Eddy counties focused on produced water; that is, water that is an incidental byproduct of oil and gas production. The project is funded by the New Mexico Environment Department through funds set aside for protecting sources of public drinking water supply. Researchers from NM WRRI, New Mexico Tech, New Mexico State University, and Los Alamos National Laboratory are collaborating with the communities of Lea and Eddy counties as well as reaching out to agriculturalists, oil and gas industries, and state agencies to approach the research with a holistic view of the various issues surrounding produced water. The project will provide new information on produced water quality and volume by analyzing existing data. New and existing data will be aggregated into an updated produced water database that will drive both geochemical and spatial analyses. The outputs from the analyses will be made available online as web map services. Deliverables also include a regulatory framework and treatment technologies decision support tool. The decision support tool will use criteria such as: status of technology, treatment efficiencies, infrastructure, and energy use, to provide information on the viability, economic feasibility, and beneficial use potential of produced water. The project is slated to be completed by June 30, 2016. Please contact Robert Sabie, Jr.,, 575-646-5026, at the NM WRRI for additional information.

Population growth could drive use of biotechnology Mar 14, 2016 Joyce Lobeck, Contributing Writer | Western Farm Press

The biggest challenge for genetically modified crops is overcoming public resistance, says Timothy Dennehy, former entomologist with the University of Arizona. Denneny, who now manages the global insecticide resistance program for Bayer CropSciences, says it’s a delicate balancing act to convince people. “We can’t win by shoving things down people’s throats,” he said at the recent Southwest Ag Summit at Yuma, Ariz. “We have to respect people’s opinions, even if they’re not science based.” By 2050, conference speakers noted, the world will need to double its food production. How it will do that is the question. We’re not making new land,” said Jeffrey Silvertooth, associate dean and director for extension and economic development for the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Just the opposite, in fact: Millions of acres of arable land for growing crops are being lost around the world due to degradation. “We’re already facing widespread hunger,” Silvertooth says. There is a bottleneck caused by unprecedented growth in population, expected to exceed nine billion by 2050, placing maximum demand on natural resources and maximum need for human ingenuity. “Norman Borlaug showed what can be done with technology,” Silvertooth says, referring to the American biologist who has been called “the father of the Green Revolution” for his plant breeding research. “He was addressing the same issue in the 1940s — the population monster.” In a research position in Mexico, Borlaug developed semi-dwarf, high-yielding, disease-resistant wheat varieties and combined them with modern agricultural production techniques in Mexico, Pakistan, and India. Mexico became a net exporter of wheat by 1963, and wheat yields nearly doubled between 1965 and 1970 in Pakistan and India, staving off starvation for a billion people. Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 in recognition of his contributions to world peace through increased food supply. “But the hunger war isn’t over,” Silvertooth says. “The problem hasn’t gone away. We still have a lot of work to do.” Plant breeding — the crossing of plants with desirable traits to create a new variety — has been going on since the dawn of human agriculture some 10,000 years ago, he notes. “Plants today are very different from their parent plants. Corn is a good example; you can hardly see the similarities in the plants.” Ancient farmers in what is now Mexico took the first steps in domesticating maize (also known as corn) when they simply chose which kernels to plant. They saved kernels from plants with desirable characteristics and planted them for the next season's harvest. Maize cobs became larger over time, with more rows of kernels, and eventually took on the form of the modern crop. Transgenic or molecular breeding takes that selective process a step further in the lab, transferring a gene for a desired trait into a recipient plant, then backcrossing or traditionally breeding the recipient several times until the modified property is incorporated into the plant’s genome for commercial use. Benefits of GMO’s Traits might include natural resistance to a destructive pest or disease, herbicide tolerance, higher yields, improved quality, or increased nutritional value. Transgenic crops, also known as GMOs (genetically modified organisms) or biotechs, have met with resistance amid fears they might harm humans or the environment. There is no scientific evidence of harm to humans, and they’re actually beneficial to the environment, Silvertooth says. He cites the example of the pink bollworm that was devastating the cotton industry in the early 1950s, when fields were being sprayed 15 to 20 times a year. Transgenic cotton containing the Bt gene that made the plant toxic to the bollworm was first planted in Arizona in 1996. Its adoption resulted in an 82 percent decrease in pesticide applications, increasing safety for workers and improving field ecology through recovery of beneficial insects. Today nearly all — if not all — cotton planted in Arizona, and much of the crop worldwide, is Bt varieties. “We see the benefit in Arizona,” Silvertooth says. “It’s a viable technology that has its place.” That view is not universally shared around the world. For example, two African countries, Zambia and Zimbabwe, have rejected shipments of genetically modified corn from the United States, even though millions of their citizens were in need of emergency food aid. Rick Ward, director of the University of Arizona Maricopa Agriculture Center, added his voice to the urgency for new technology to close the food gap. While food production has increased over the years, he says, the rate of increase is declining. “We won’t make the 69 percent increases in food production needed by 2050 unless we push out forests — and that’s not good for climate change,” Ward said. “But we can’t have places with people with empty stomachs. The challenge whether people will be poisoned by GMOs; it’s whether their children and grandchildren will be fighting over food. It’s not about a fuzzy feeling about food, it’s about basic humanity.” Yet, he says, there’s not one GMO field of wheat planted in the world. “Wheat is an extraordinarily important crop but not one country allows anyone to plant a commercial GMO wheat field.” Acceptance of other GMO crops is growing around the globe, Ward says. In 1996, six countries — the U.S., China, Argentina, Canada, Australia, and Mexico — planted biotech crops. By 2014, 18 million farmers in 28 countries planted more than 46 million acres of biotech crops, a 100-fold increase, according to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications. Another 39 countries imported biotech crops in 2014. While the dominant biotech crops are soybeans, corn, cotton, and canola, other crops are quickly being added to the list. The U.S. recently approved biotech potatoes and alfalfa, Bangladesh just approved Bt eggplant (the poor man’s potato there), Taiwan has approved GMO cotton, Australia and New Zealand in January approved GMO sugar beets. The European Union recently approved a law to allow member countries to decide whether to grow GMOs. Ward, who worked on wheat breeding with Borlaug in Mexico and on projects in Afghanistan and Pakistan, says it’s also critical to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture. For instance, the Gulf of Mexico often becomes a dead zone from fertilizer runoff, with an impact on fish, wildlife, and humans. Meanwhile, Hawaii has resisted all GMO crops except papayas, says Dennehy. That crop was in danger of extinction until a biotech variety resistant to a devastating virus was developed, “Industry is working very hard,” he says. “The last 12 months there has been an avalanche of new and novel possibilities.”

Public meetings to address access to state Wildlife Management Areas

Public meetings to address access to state Wildlife Management Areas SANTA FE – The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish will conduct four public meetings to outline proposed changes to the Gaining Access into Nature program for State Game Commission-owned Wildlife Management Areas. The program outlines the use of these Wildlife Management Areas for recreational activities other than, or in addition to, hunting, fishing and trapping, such as hiking, wildlife viewing, and horseback riding. The proposed changes are intended to make it easier for the public to access and enjoy Commissioned-owned and managed properties. Department staff will conduct a short presentation, accept public comments and answer questions. The meetings will be at 6 p.m. at the following locations: • Abiquiu, March 28, Rio Arriba County Rural Event Center. • Taos, March 29, Taos County Agricultural Center. • Roswell, March 30, New Mexico Game and Fish office. • Silver City, March 31, Grant County Administration Building. The current recommendation from the Department is to manage designated properties as “open unless otherwise closed,” and to eliminate the need for a special GAIN permit. Access would be allowed for a group of up to four people, provided at least one of those individuals possesses a hunting, fishing, or trapping license and/or a Habitat Management and Access Validation permit. Current rules require every member in a group visiting a wildlife management area to possess a GAIN permit and/or a hunting, fishing or trapping license. Other proposed changes include increasing the camping limit to 14 days, allowing scouting activities for seven days before a hunt period, and updating specific access rules for certain properties. No license or permit is required for youths under 18 years old. Please visit for more information about the proposed changes. The department is accepting email comments on the proposed changes at

Monday, March 21, 2016

Circular 678: Poisonous Plants of New Mexico Rangelands

Circular 678: Poisonous Plants of New Mexico Rangelands By Christopher D. Allison (Range Scientist, Linebery Policy Center for Natural Resource Management) Jason L. Turner (Professor/Extension Horse Specialist, Dept. of Extension Animal Sciences and Natural Resources) John C. Wenzel (Extension Veterinarian, Dept. of Extension Animal Sciences and Natural Resources) NOTE: A high-resulution (82.9 MB) version for print is also available:

NMSU to host annual Indian Livestock Days on May 11-13 in Albuquerque

NMSU to host annual Indian Livestock Days on May 11-13 in Albuquerque DATE: 03/21/2016 WRITER: Jane Moorman, 505-249-0527, CONTACT: Kathy Landers, 505-870-3336, ALBUQUERQUE – Cattle production in the Indian Country of northwestern New Mexico is on the increase, with revenue of $125 million in 2015, according to the New Mexico Department of Agriculture annual agricultural statistics. To help producers continue to improve their herds and profit, New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service hosts the New Mexico Indian Livestock Days annually in Albuquerque. This year’s conference will be Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, May 11 to 13, at Route 66 Casino Hotel on Interstate 25 west of Albuquerque. “The participants have asked for more live demonstrations, so this year we have added a second afternoon of three outdoor sessions,” said Kathy Landers, NMSU McKinley County Extension county director. “As always, there is going to be a lot of information for livestock producers.” The conference registration begins at 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 11. The first series of outdoor programs will be during the afternoon on bull selection, cattle reproduction and calf castration. “The programs will be repeated so people can attend all three,” said Landers. The full schedule of presentations will begin at 8 a.m. Thursday, May 12. Topics during the morning indoor sessions will include developing a livestock association, cost of owning a cow, and updates from U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service and Farm Service Agency. Thursday, beginning at 1 p.m., there will be sessions outdoors and indoors. As on Wednesday, the outdoor sessions will repeat three times. Topics will include trailer safety and hauling, horse health and horse confirmation. Indoor sessions will be canning, season extension, soil building and drip irrigation. Friday, May 13, sessions will begin at 8 a.m. and concluded at 4 p.m. Topics will include rodent control, invasive weeds, brush control, cattle prices, range management, an update from the USDA National Agricultural Statistic Service and a panel of livestock producers sharing success stories. Registration fee is $75 if received by May 1; after that date and for walk-ins, the cost is $100. Registration includes lunch on Thursday and Friday. Register on line at, or by mail at NMSU-CES – Northern, 4001 Office Court, Suite 308, Santa Fe, NM 87507. Special room rates of $69 per night have been secured at Route 66 Hotel if reserved by May 1. Call for reservations at 1-866-352-7866 and ask for NM Livestock 2016 group rate. - 30 - Follow NMSU News on Twitter: Follow NMSU News on Facebook:

EPA Observes National Poison Prevention Week and Urges Public to Store Common Household Products out of Children’s Reach

March 21, 2016 In This Update: EPA Observes National Poison Prevention Week and Urges Public to Store Common Household Products out of Children’s Reach During National Poison Prevention Week, March 20-26, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is highlighting the importance of properly storing common household products like cleaning supplies and insect repellents. Keeping these products out of children’s reach is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your kids from accidental poisonings. Help spread the word about Poison Prevention Week by sharing our blog post and messages through social media, listservs, and other outreach opportunities: • Read Assistant Administrator Jim Jones’ blog on poison prevention • Retweet us In 2014, America’s 56 poison control centers served 323 million people nation-wide. Of their 2.9 million cases, about 2.2 million involved people coming into contact with dangerous or potentially dangerous substances. According to recently published poison center data, in 2014, nearly 140,000 calls to poison centers involved pesticides, including disinfectants. Moreover, the California Poison Control System and the Central California Children’s Hospital identified more than 1,400 cases of accidental poisoning caused by storage of non-food substances in soda bottles, unmarked bottles, cups or glasses. National Poison Prevention Week is a time to raise awareness about simple steps that can be taken to prevent poisonings. Most poisonings happen in people’s homes and are preventable. Check out our poison prevention tips at

Monday, March 14, 2016

Melvin "Pee Wee" Eugene Switzer, 82 passed away. Pee Wee was Brand Inspector for Eddy County.

Melvin "Pee Wee" Eugene Switzer, 82, of Tower Dr., Carlsbad, NM, passed away on February 26, 2016 at his home. Graveside services will be held at 11 am on Monday, March 14, 2016 at the Carlsbad Cemetery (new section). Rev. Jimmy Tarvin of the Loving Baptist Church will officiate. There is no public visitation. Services have been entrusted to West Funeral Home. Condolences may be expressed at Melvin Eugene "PeeWee" Switzer was born to Elmer Ned and Verna Lea (Trotter) Switzer on December 12, 1933 in Ingram, TX. He was raised in Ingram and moved to Carlsbad as a young man to work with family in Queens, NM. Pee Wee and Gayla Hepler Switzer were married August 31, 1952 in Carlsbad and she preceded him in death in 1997. As a young family, PeeWee and Gayla lived in the Ingram area for a very brief period, and then moved to Carlsbad. He worked at IMC Potash Mines when his children were young, then the family moved to the Elmer Hepler Ranch in Dog Canyon. They continued to live in the Dog Canyon and Crow Flat area until around 1977. PeeWee and Gayla then moved to Hayward, California, where PeeWee hauled race horses to the various fairs and race tracks throughout California. Moving back to New Mexico in 1980, PeeWee became a New Mexico Livestock Inspector and later retired from that profession. Martha Jane "Martie" Weldy and PeeWee Switzer were married June 15, 2000. He was a lifetime member of the Eddy County Sherriff's Posse and Carlsbad B.P.O.Elk's Lodge #1558. PeeWee liked spending time with his grandkids, fishing and going to the park, spending time in his garden, playing dominoes, telling tales of his younger days and playing jokes on everyone. But most of all PeeWee loved spending time with his wife, Martie. He is preceded in death by his wife Gayla Hepler Switzer, his parents, 2 brothers and one sister. PeeWee is survived by his wife Martie Switzer of Carlsbad, children: Jane Switzer Terrell and husband J.B. of Ruidoso, NM, Zana Switzer Moore and husband David of Alpine, TX, John Switzer and wife Diana of Carlsbad, NM, Joe Switzer and wife Estella of Hondo, NM, Joe Thompson and wife Tina, Doug Thompson and wife Sherri and Tausha Wright, all of Carlsbad; brother-in-law, Ken Schilling of Kerrville, TX; mother and father-in-law, Jane and Doug Weldy; brother and sister-in-laws (Martie's side) Edward Weldy, Dale and Tiguna Weldy, David Weldy, Steve and Lana Weldy, all of Hobbs, NM; Tammy and Mark Luna of Midland, TX; 22 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. Pallbearers: Elmer (Joe) Switzer, John Switzer, Joe Thompson, Doug Thompson, Shawn Walker and Tim Trotter. Honorary Pallbearers: Bryen and Steve Anthony Villegas, Matthew and Stetson Thompson, Bill Havens, Jay Trotter and Justin Green. Special Honorary Pallbearers: Eddy County Sheriff's Posse Members. - See more at:

NMSU researcher develops model to help chile growers battle weeds

NMSU researcher develops model to help chile growers battle weeds DATE: 03/14/2016 WRITER: Kristie Garcia, 575-646-4211, CONTACT: Brian Schutte, 575-646-7082, The tall morning glory weed can be problematic for chile growers. The presence of this weed in crops may lead to an increase in harvesting time or hoeing time and may also result in fewer chile pods. A solution just may be integrated pest management that focuses on the soil seed bank. Brian Schutte at New Mexico State University developed a user-friendly economic model that strives to assist growers with saving time in the long run. Schutte is an assistant professor of weed physiology in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. “A focus of my work is not just to direct (pest) management to the emerged plant but also to direct management toward the seeds in the soil to prevent them from producing seedlings that eventually become costly problems,” Schutte said. “With this model, we are trying to link tangible management outcomes back to the soil seed bank.” Schutte explained that with an increase in seed-bank density, there is a greater possibility that a large number of weeds will escape treatment. The interactive model, which may be accessed through Schutte’s faculty link on the NMSU Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology and Weed Science website, is in a spreadsheet format. Growers may input information regarding morning glory infestation estimates, expected chile crop yield and details regarding the type of herbicide used. “Growers would then see the effects of increasing the number of seeds in the soil on management outcomes, such as hoe time requirements – how long they’ll be in the field hoeing – and harvest time requirements,” Schutte said. If people have to reach around the tall twining weeds when removing the chile pods from the plant, it will add time to the harvesting process. With the help of several NMSU students over a two-year period, Schutte completed the model in late November after conducting several field studies. He plans to make improvements to the model as needed. While chile is not the only crop with tall morning glory as its enemy, the weed is particularly problematic in chile, as it is difficult to control and manage. Hence, the decision was made to use chile crops in this study. Tall morning glories may appear from May through August, which makes it challenging for growers to know when to apply control methods. Because it is an annual weed and completes its life cycle in one growing season, tall morning glory depends highly on the seeds in the soil seed bank. “It’s dependent upon the seeds in soil for year-to-year persistence,” Schutte said. “Ultimately, we hope to reduce the number of morning glory and other annual weeds in chile fields.” Schutte had opportunities in January and February to present the model to growers, including attendees at NMSU’s annual New Mexico Chile Conference in Las Cruces. He hopes more and more people in the agricultural industry will take advantage of this new learning tool. “The hope is that as people better appreciate the impacts of this seed bank, they will make efforts toward reducing the number of seeds in soil,” Schutte explained. “There are a number of things they can do, but the first thing is to just prevent them from setting seed to begin with. That’s the goal here with this project.” The model, which was funded by the Western IPM (Integrated Pest Management) Center, may be accessed at: For more information, contact Schutte at