New Mexico State University has a dozen research-oriented agricultural science centers spread around the state, from Farmington in the northwest to Artesia in the southeast, Clayton in the northeast, and Las Cruces in the southwest.
At these facilities, faculty researchers develop new cultivars, investigate the viability of nontraditional plants and growing practices, tackle pest problems, study rangeland health and livestock grazing behavior, and pursue other research of relevance to producers and the broader public in New Mexico and beyond.
Field days are a common way for NMSU's science centers to share their findings with producers and industry constituencies. In addition to small field days highlighting research on particular crops, such as pecans, onions, chile peppers, or livestock production, some centers organize periodic field days of a more general nature.
During the summer of 2012, New Mexico's statehood centennial year, most of the science centers will be hosting general field days to showcase the wide array of research projects taking place at their facilities. They will also highlight the broader contributions NMSU's Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service make to New Mexico, dating back to the territorial days. Most of these events are being designed to appeal to the general public with an interest in the state's history and agrarian traditions.
Field day season will kick off June 13 at the Corona Range and Livestock Research Center, with an event titled "Half Day of College." During the morning, center personnel will offer tours of the facility, including the recently completed outreach center, followed by a presentation on how NMSU serves the state. In the afternoon, participants will have a choice of two concurrent class sessions designed to appeal to small landholders as well as larger producers: "Equine Management for Work and Pleasure" and "Range Plant Identification."
A single field day in July will take place at the Agricultural Science Center at Farmington on July 20. This 23rd edition of the center's biennial field day is registered as an official New Mexico Centennial event. In addition to field tours and a celebration of statehood, the event will inform participants about ongoing research in agroforestry, weed control, field and forage crops, vegetables, grapes, biofuel crops and drought tolerant landscape plants.
New Mexicans in the eastern part of the state will be offered back-to-back field days at two centers in early August: Aug. 2 at the Agricultural Science Center at Tucumcari and Aug. 3 at the Agricultural Science Center at Clovis.
The Tucumcari field day will actually celebrate a century of agricultural research at that site, as well as New Mexico's centennial. The event will begin late in the afternoon and run into the evening, with dinner included.
The Clovis field day will begin in the morning and run through lunch. With a focus on declining water resources, the event's keynote speaker will be Scott Verhines, New Mexico state engineer. Additional presenters will recount how agriculture has changed in the region over the past 50 years and there will be a display of crops from years past.
A trio of field days in mid-August will primarily attract audiences from the central and northern parts of the state: Aug. 14 at the Agricultural Science Center at Los Lunas, Aug. 15 at the Sustainable Agriculture Science Center at Alcalde, and Aug. 16 at the Mora Research Center.
The Los Lunas event will include field tours, followed by presentations on topics ranging from grape, pecan and fruit production issues to weed control, riparian restoration and growing native plants and grasses.
The Alcalde event will include an overview of research and Extension programs related to the science center, with an emphasis on their efforts to assist small family farms to remain sustainable.
At Mora, where the emphasis is forestry, the main event will be a dedication of the facility, which is being renamed in honor of the late John Harrington, NMSU professor in the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences and long-time superintendent of the center.
In late August, the southwestern part of the state will be treated to "Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future," at the Leyendecker Plant Science Research Center. This field day is an official New Mexico Centennial event that will also commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Morrill Act of 1862, legislation that established this country's system of land-grant universities. This event will include a historical session in the morning and a research focus in the afternoon. In addition to field tours, there will be displays and demonstrations from the various departments in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, other NMSU colleges, and collaborating agencies and organizations.
Nearly a month later, on Sept. 20, the final field day will be held at the Agricultural Science Center at Artesia. The late afternoon and evening event will include dinner, an antique tractor display, and a review of the various crops that have been planted at that center over the years.
Planning for these events is still ongoing. Further details will be available on the various science center websites.
2012 NMSU Agricultural Science Center Field Days
June 13 Corona Range and Livestock Research Center "Half Day of College"
July 20 Agricultural Science Center at Farmington
Aug. 2 Agricultural Science Center at Tucumcari
Aug. 3 Agricultural Science Center at Clovis
Aug. 14 Agricultural Science Center at Los Lunas
Aug. 15 Sustainable Agriculture Science Center at Alcalde
Aug. 16 Mora Research Center
Aug. 25 Leyendecker Plant Science Research Center "Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future"
Sept. 20 Agricultural Science Center at Artesia