In-person pecan conference scheduled for March 8-10 in Las Cruces

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Nicole E. Drake

LAS CRUCES – The Western Pecan Growers Association and co-sponsor New Mexico State University will host the 56th Western Pecan Growers Association Conference and Trade Show March 8-10 in Las Cruces at the Las Cruces Convention Center, 680 E. University Ave.

Cotton root rot and an update on pecan weevil infestations will be part of the presentations. The Western Pecan Growers Association represents pecan growers in California, Arizona, New Mexico and the West Texas region.

In 2021, the Western Pecan Growers Association hosted a four-part zoom webinar series in lieu of the conference. Western Pecan Grower Association director John White said he was delighted to have the in-person event back.

“Producers like to do more face-to-face activities, so this year we have that opportunity. Hopefully we’ll have a good turnout,” White said. “The conference is very important for people to talk to sellers, other producers, academics, marketers and so it’s kind of a one-stop shop. People really liked him for that reason.

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NMSU Pecan Specialist Richard Heerema is the conference’s educational program organizer.

“This year we have pest management presentations that will be of particular interest to western pecan growers,” Heerema said. “Speakers from the New Mexico and Texas Departments of Agriculture will talk about insect pests of pecans, and Alex Hu from the University of Arizona will talk about cotton root rot in pecans. pecan.”

There will be continuing education units for those with pesticide applicator licenses in Arizona and New Mexico. The program will also include presentations relating to the pecan industry in Texas and Argentina, supply chain distributions by Jay Lillywhite, Professor and Department Head of Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Economics and popularization at NMSU; and the results of a collaborative research project on zinc nutrition involving the University of Arizona and NMSU faculty.

The event kicks off on Tuesday, March 8 with the Pecan Food Fantasy Contest. Winners will receive a cash prize and be featured on the Pecan Food Fantasy blog. This will be followed by activities such as a cornhole tournament and the indoor exhibition starting at 1 p.m. The welcome reception and beer garden will begin at 4 p.m. with live music performed by Chris Baker.

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Wednesday, March 9 will include presentations, a Mesilla-style lunch with live music and exhibits before a marketing panel from 4-5 p.m. with Alex Ott of the American Pecan Council. The panel will include four speakers from across the country to talk about the current and future pecan market. The social hour will be from 6-7 p.m., and the Western Pecan Growers Association banquet, auction and awards will be from 7-10 p.m.

The event will wrap up at noon on Thursday, March 10 with vendor presentations, new this year, and the Western Pecan Growers Association General Meeting.

Due to limited parking at the Las Cruces Convention Center, additional parking will be available at Lot 3 across from Skeen Hall, 2916 Knox St.

The Western Pecan Growers Association also offers scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students interested in the pecan industry. Scholarships can range from $500 to $2,500.

For more information or to register, visit https://westernpecan.org or contact White at 575-640-7555 or [email protected]

Nicole E. Drake writes for New Mexico State University Marketing and Communications and can be reached at [email protected]

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