Pecan conference to draw 600
By Darrell J. Pehr
For the Bulletin
With an update on the proposed pecan marketing order and the excitement of an “on” year for pecan production, a big turnout is expected for the 50th annual Western Pecan Growers Association conference and trade show Sunday to Tuesday, March 6 to 8 in Las Cruces at Hotel Encanto, 705 S. Telshor Blvd.
“We have a lot of interest already,” said John White, director of the association. “We are expecting up to 600 people.”
Registered conference attendees will have access to meals, a reception, the conference and the equipment show.
Two speakers will address the proposed marketing order, which would authorize data collection, research and promotional activities.
The statewide pecan crop makes up a sizable percentage of the agricultural economic activity each year in New Mexico. White said this year’s crop is one of the best in the past four or five years.
New Mexico State University’s Cooperative Extension Service will host the 2016 Western Pecan Growers Association conference and trade show.
The association, which represents growers in California, Arizona, New Mexico and West Texas, co-sponsors the event with NMSU.
The annual event includes a trade show that runs from noon-5 p.m. Sunday, March 6, then continues during the educational program all day Monday and Tuesday morning, March 7-8. It will feature about 70 vendors. The popular annual Pecan Food Fantasy baking contest will also take place on Sunday.
Richard Heerema, NMSU pecan specialist, is the organizer of the conference’s educational program Monday and Tuesday. The agenda includes 17 presentations by NMSU experts, experts from other universities and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as representatives from the pecan industry.
Topics such as potassium and phosphorous management, freeze injury risk and the use of wind machines and managing salinity will be presented.
Heerema will present an update on the discovery of pecan bacterial leaf scorch in the Southwest as well as scheduling irrigations with a pressure chamber. NMSU IR-4 program coordinator Cary Hamilton will give an IR-4 project overview. NMSU program coordinator Larry Blackwell will speak on translaminar insecticides. Rolston St. Hilaire, NMSU horticulture professor, will discuss midday stem water potential.
In addition to the educational program, trade show and baking contest, the program includes a Sunday welcome reception from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Azul Bar in the Hotel Encanto, as well as a Monday social hour at 6 p.m., immediately followed by the 7 p.m. banquet and awards ceremony. Continuing Education Credits will be offered by Arizona, New Mexico and Texas to attendees For full information about the 2016 conference or to register and pay online, visit www.westernpecan. org.
Parking is limited around the hotel and overflow parking can use the Mesilla Valley Mall designated parking area and take the hotel shuttle to the hotel and back.