12th annual Ag Expo begins in Portales

By Tony Parra

PORTALES — The 12th Annual Ag Expo is right around the corner and people from around the United States will showcase this country’s agriculture at the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds Monday through Wednesday.
The festivities for the Ag Expo range from quilting and cooking to tractor shows and dairy cattle.
“It draws people from within a 100-mile radius of Portales,” Roosevelt County Extension Agent Floyd McAlister said. “It provides the latest changes and educational opportunities in agriculture.”
The Farm/City/Eastern New Mexico University/Cannon Air Force Base Banquet tips off the Ag Expo at 7 p.m. Monday at the fairgrounds. Ag Expo Committee Chairman Dennis Edwards said people are excited about the banquet, which will have Lowell Catlett of New Mexico State University as the guest speaker.
“He is well-known throughout the United States as a futuristic agriculture economist,” Edwards said. “He’s an outstanding speaker and we are pleased to have him. It’s a nice way to start off the ag expo.”
Anna Foster of the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce considers the Ag Expo the largest event for the chamber each year.
Foster said the Women’s Building will offer more activities than in past years, including a quilt show, repairing quilts’ seminar and cooking demonstrations.
Presenters of the Ag Expo expect to draw more than 400 exhibitors from across the United States and Canada.
Clay Mathis of New Mexico State University will offer an update on United States animal identification plans, an issue that has been brought to light because of mad cow disease.
“There is a lot of talk about the new system of animal identification,” Edwards said. “People want to know where the hamburger patty came from. From what cow did it come from and from what ranch did it come from.”
The ag expo covers as many facets of agriculture in Roosevelt County as it possibly can within three days. There are seminars on using and preparing horses for show throughout the day on Tuesday. Seminars on milking and producing compost from manure are two events taking place in the Jake Lopez Building on Wednesday.
“There will be seminars on how to do things better,” Edwards said.
“Farmers need to be certified for pesticides and some of the seminars will count towards their certification.”
The second annual dairy heifer sale will take place on Wednesday. There will be around 200 head of replacement heifers from the eastern part of the United States and a few from the local dairies for sale, according to Randy Bouldin, chairman of the sale.
“The heifers have been picked off the top of the better replacement heifers,” Bouldin said in a press release.
Edwards, who has been on the committee for 11 years, said the Ag Expo has grown in the last 12 years and all of the vendor space at the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds is filled.
“He have a high rate of return exhibitors,” Edwards said. “All of the vendor space is sold out. We requested in the capital outlay to have the pavilion expanded by double the size. We believe we can fill it up.”
Edwards said the success of the Ag Expo is due in part because of a seasoned committee that knows what needs to be done and because the chamber officials work on it year-round.
There is no charge to enter the 12th Annual Ag Expo and there will also be a 16-foot stock trailer given away.
“We crammed as much as we could into three days a person could hope for,” McAlister said. “It should be a good one.”