Rancher and farmer Lane Grau of Grady walked up and down the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds Event Arena Wednesday afternoon looking for the newest technology to improve his operation.
As dryland farmers, Grau and fellow Grady rancher Jack Driever said they attended the 21st annual New Mexico Ag Expo, organized by the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce and New Mexico State University Extension Service, to look at tractors, skid loaders and other machines.
“I got a lot of good information from the vendors,” Grau said. “I basically spent all my time looking for the right machine.”
Grau said the drought has contributed to a rough year for the agricultural industry across eastern New Mexico, but said besides the drought being an obvious burden, the cost of operation inputs such as feed costs and the price of fuel have also plagued the industry the past few years.
Grau and Driever felt the expo was informative on what’s ahead for the farm and ranch industry and felt the technology presented is part of the wave of the future.
NMSU Extension Senior Research Assistant Bryan Niece says it’s no surprise that the drought was the topic of discussion at his booth.
“It’s hot and dry,” Niece said. “That’s what every other person who visited us had to say.”
Niece, who has manned a booth for NMSU at the expo for about six years, said the attendance was quite low compared to other years but felt the concerns they were approached with were on point with where the industry is heading.
Niece says he and the extension office do a lot of general agricultural research and provide that service to farmers and ranchers.
Besides questions regarding the drought, Niece said wind energy and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) were also topics of discussion for farmers.
“It’s misunderstood,” said Niece about GMOs. “You already eat GMOs, but there’s a little bit of hysteria out there about it.”
Roosevelt County Agricultural Extension Agent Patrick Kircher said attendance did not affect the quality of the show.
“I thought it was a really nice show. I heard lots of positive comments,” Kircher said. “We did what we set out to do, provide a positive show with quality information.”
Kircher said he didn’t have officials numbers Wednesday on this year’s two-day event, but said the economy most likely has played a role in a dropped attendance, suggesting that people do not have any spare money to do business.
“It’s a balancing act. Yes I’d love to bring a lot of people through the door and people who need help and use the business and information,” Kircher said.
As organizer of this year’s seminars, he said he was quite impressed with the update on sorghum herbicides.
“I think there’s a lot of folks interested in utilizing sorghum this year,” Kircher said.
He added that the beef industry panel provided a realistic and informative discussion that opened up potential opportunities for those in that industry.
Vendors also labeled this year’s expo as a success.
Kyle Robertson with Frontier Hybrids, a seed company in Abernathy, Texas, said he got to connect with his customers on this side of the state.
“It was good for me,” Robertson said. “The quality of the expo is what’s important. I was very pleased.”