New Mexico’s organic community prepping for state’s biggest agricultural conference

For immediate release: Dec. 18, 2014

Media contact:
Katie Goetz, Public Information Officer
575-646-2804 office

(ALBUQUERQUE) – As fields lie dormant in the final month of winter, farmers, ranchers, and other food and agricultural producers will gather in Albuquerque to build and share knowledge related to organic agriculture.

The 2015 New Mexico Organic Farming Conference happens Friday and Saturday, February 20 and 21, at the Marriott Albuquerque Pyramid North.  People are invited to register now, as discounted registration ends December 31.  A crowd of 800 turned out for last year’s conference, making it the best-attended agricultural conference in the state.

“As always, the conference aims to give farmers and ranchers an opportunity to connect with each other, to share the lessons they’ve learned, and to draw on the latest research in organic agriculture,” said Joanie Quinn, organic commodity advisor for the Organic Program at New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA), one of three entities that coordinate and host the conference.

The two-day event features 36 workshop sessions, each 90 minutes long, spread out over six different time slots.  Session topics include creating an organic system plan, integrated pest management, managing weeds, using pesticide labeled “organic”, sustaining pollinators, selecting and saving seeds, and preparing for new federal food safety rules.  This year’s keynote speaker is “Coach” Mark Smallwood, a longtime organic farmer and the executive director of the nationally renowned Rodale Institute, the Pennsylvania-based nonprofit dedicated to innovative organic farming through research and outreach.

Nearly 50 exhibitors will have booths featuring information about their agricultural, educational, and health services.  Others will have items for sale, including books; irrigation and greenhouse supplies; organic feeds, seeds, and soil amendments; personal care products; and more.

There are 150 certified-organic farms, ranches, and other food and agricultural businesses in New Mexico.  Last year, organic agriculture production and food processing in New Mexico brought in about $50 million.

NMDA’s Organic Program provides nationally accredited organic certification for farmers, ranchers, and food processors/handlers throughout New Mexico, as well as application and marketing assistance.

NMDA’s Organic Program staff work with employees from New Mexico State University’s Cooperative Extension Service and the nonprofit Farm to Table to organize the annual conference.

Visit Farm to Table to view the complete agenda and register for the conference.