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Pecan Growers Conference early registration deadline is Friday


What better place to hold the 54th annual Western Pecan Growers Association (WPGA) Conference and Trade Show than Las Cruces? The Mesilla Valley is dotted with pecan trees and the state is the world’s largest producer of pecans.

The early-registration deadline is Friday, Feb. 21, for this year’s conference, which will be held at Hotel Encanto, 705 S. Telshor Blvd.

The conference includes an outside equipment show March 1-3, said WPGA Executive Director John White. “We have a Pecan Food Fantasy Contest on Sunday, March 1, where local cooks can show their cooking talents. Educational talks are March 2-3. Featured topics are marketing and market overview, insect management, irrigation and orchard management. Indoor vendors also are set up from March 1-3,” White said.

Here is the conference schedule:

  • Sunday, March 1

4-6 p.m.: Conference reception, Hotel Encanto’s Azul Lounge and Bar.

  • Monday, March 2

Morning-session moderator is Doña Ana County Extension Agriculture Agent Jeff Anderson.

9-9:10 a.m.: Welcome from WPGA President Craig Ivey of Tornillo, Texas.

9:10-9:30 a.m.: Opening address, “What Do Innovations in Plant sciences Have to Do with Orchard Management?” by Dr. Rolston St. Hilaire, New Mexico State University Extension Plant Sciences Department.

9:30-10 a.m.: “Update on Rootstock Study,” University of Arizona Extension Soils Specialist Dr. Jim Walworth of Tucson.

10-10:30 a.m.: “Pecan Genetic Improvement,” by NMSU Plant Molecular Biologist Dr. Jennifer Randall.

10:30 –11 a.m.: Break

11–11:30 a.m.: “History and Future of Glyphosate,” by NMSU Extension Weed Specialist Dr. Leslie Beck.

11:30 a.m.–Noon: “Herbicide Injury and Recovery in Pecans,” by University of Georgia Extension Pecan Specialist Dr. Lenny Wells of Tifton, Ga.

Noon–1:30 p.m.: Lunch

Afternoon-session moderator is El Paso County Extension Agent Orlando Flores of El Paso, Texas.

1:30–2 p.m.: “Drip Irrigation Studies (student research), by NMSU graduate student Curt Pierce.

2-2:30 p.m.: “Dealing with Sticktights in our Orchards: Causes and Potential Solutions” by Noble Research Institute Pecan and Specialty Agriculture Systems Manager Dr. Charles Rohla of Ardmore, Ok.

2:30-3 p.m.: “Hear No Weevil, See No Weevil,” by New Mexico Department of Agriculture Invasive Pest Program Specialist Tiffany Johnson of Las Cruces and Texas Department of Agriculture Coordinator for Agriculture Commodity Boards and Producer Relations Patrick Dudley of Austin.

3–3:30 p.m.: Break                         

3:30–4 p.m.: “The Potential for a Pecan Market in India,” by New Mexico Department of Agriculture Director of the Marketing and Development Division (and former international trade specialist) Jason New of Las Cruces.

4-4:15 p.m.: “India Tariffs Meeting in Washington, D.C.,” by WPGA board member and pecan grower Jacob Arnold of Las Cruces

4:15-4:45 p.m.: “Update from the U.S. Pecan Growers Council,” by council President (and pecan grower) Brad Ellis of Vienna, Ga., and Council Executive Director Janice Dees of Tifton, Ga.

4:45-5:15 p.m.: “Update from the American Pecan Council,” by council Executive Director Alex Ott of Fort Worth.

6-7 p.m.: Social hour in the San Andres Ballroom

7-10 p.m.: WPGA banquet and awards

  • Tuesday, March 3

Final-session moderator is NMSU Extension Pecan Specialist Dr. Richard Heerema.

8:30–9 a.m.: “Leaf, Soil and Irrigation Water Sampling: Dos and Don’ts,” by University of Arizona Extension Area Agent Joshua Sherman of Willcox, Az.

  • 9–10 a.m.: Updates from the state pecan growers associations: Mary Elizabeth Santos, west Texas; Phillip Arnold, New Mexico; Harold Payne, Arizona; and Mark Hendrixson, California.

10-10:30 a.m.: Break

10:30-11 a.m.: WPGA general meeting

11–11:30 a.m.: “Damage and Recovery from Hurricane Michael,” by Georgia Pecan Growers Association President and pecan grower Brent Brinkley of Tifton, Ga.

11:30 a.m.–noon: “Grower’s Panel on Harvest Operations,” with Heerema moderating.

The conference adjourns at noon.

WPGA was established in 1966 “to promote and develop a thriving pecan industry in the Southwest,” according to the WPGA website.

Register for the conference at https://westernpecan.org/ or by calling 575-640-7555 or emailing directorwesternpecan@gmail.com