Agricultural extension agent plans to help businesses and individuals
Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
The new Agricultural Extension Service Officer at the Roswell-based Chaves County Co-operative Extension Service Office said his job is to help large farm businesses as well as the individual owner with concerns about a tree or garden.
“My main concern is the people here in Chaves County,” said Drew (Andrew) Garnett. “The purpose of the extension is to benefit all members of our community. Because the agricultural industry here is so large, yes I will put a lot of effort into our agricultural producers to make sure they have what they need and the information they need to be profitable and sustainable. . But anyone who has a home garden, anyone who has a random plant that concerns them, a question about livestock or their yard, we are there and available for that as well.
Garnett is the second new extension officer in recent months to join the local office, which is part of the statewide cooperative extension network affiliated with New Mexico State University to help communities in applying research conducted by professors and scientists from NMSU and other institutions.
Located in Chaves County, it works with the second largest agricultural production area in the state in terms of cash receipts for livestock and crops. Cash inflows totaled over $ 467 million in 2019, the most recent year for which information is available from the New Mexico Department of Agriculture.
Tamara Schubert has also joined the office as a consumer science extension officer, information on her work will be provided in a future article. Another change is that Andrea Stapp, the longtime 4-H extension agent, is now the acting county manager.
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Garnett has spent the past seven years in Florida, but his move to Chaves County is a throwback to his roots. Dexter is where he grew up – a graduate of Dexter High School and a participant in his FFA (formerly the Future Farmers of America) club – and it’s where his family still lives.
After high school, he earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in agricultural biology with a focus in entomology at New Mexico State University. He did his masters research on glandless and glanded cotton and how different types of cotton affect crop pests at an extension service research station in Artesia.
After graduating with his masters degree, he moved to Florida to be closer to his fiancee, who worked for a Florida wildlife conservation agency. Garnett taught high school science for two years, then, for five years, was a horticulturist for the Walt Disney World theme park and its Animal Kingdom park.
“I was in charge of plant health for the southern half of the property,” he said. “I went from cotton, corn and alfalfa to suddenly birds of paradise, tabebuia and tibouchina. It was a very different array of plants on the agricultural side of things. “
But part of his job was also to help grow food for the animal kingdom. He said his family had brought him back here.
“We loved what we did and the people we were with, but there’s something about family and Green Chile that you miss,” he said.
As an Agricultural Extension Officer, Garnett will coordinate the Master Gardener Program, Beef Quality Assurance Program, and Pesticide Applicator Program, which provide training and continuing education credits and authorization to practice.
The main issues in the region that he intends to help are managing the noxious weeds that can harm livestock and crops and managing drought by “using every ounce of technology and information we have. have “. He added that he believes the farmers and ranchers in Chaves County are practicing good water and soil management.
Another persistent problem in the region is the control of the pecan weevil. Chaves County remains under quarantine and Garnett said the region still had reports of the pecan weevil affecting trees. If it infests orchards, the weevil will destroy the pecans. The quarantine affects the shipping of inshell pecans out of Chaves, Lea or Eddy counties, unless certain safety criteria are met, and the shipping of inshell pecans within the state. The pecan weevil has emerged as a potential threat to the state’s second-largest harvest in 2016, with invasions of home orchards being the main concern in the state’s commercial pecan cultivation. The quarantine affecting out-of-county shipments is in effect at least until March 2023.
“If people think they have the pecan weevil or a problem with their pecans, please call us,” Garnett said. “I would love to go out to their house and look at their pecans. Or bring them and we’ll review them here.
He said people can contact him or the Cooperative Extension office through its social media pages or can call the office at 575-622-3210 to ask questions about a specific issue or sign up to be notified of classes or upcoming programs.
Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at [email protected]