Official: Ag expo on track

FNM correspondent photo: Karl Terry New Mexico Ag Expo committee volunteers Colton Haragan, left, and Lonnie Banister set up booth space in the Idsinga Pavilion at the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds. The 18th annual Ag Expo runs Tuesday and Wednesday in Portales with approximately 150 vendors expected.

By Karl Terry: FNM correspondent

Organizers of the 18th annual New Mexico Ag Expo hope the two-day event will give agriculture producers a chance to put thoughts of economic recession aside in favor of learning ways to improve their operations.

The Ag Expo runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds in Portales.

Admission is free.

More than 150 vendors from 13 states and one Canadian province are expected. Organizers say more than 4,000 visitors attend the Expo.

“Last year I was scared to death we might have to cancel because of the slow economy,” said Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce executive director Sharon King. “Instead we ended up with a record number of vendors. We’re on track to at least equal that number this year.”

King says it will be interesting to gage the mood of attendees and exhibitors after two years of tough economic times. She says the end result of the lean times may lead to opportunities for producers.

“Since it’s been a long year, I would suspect there might be some wheeling and dealing this year,” King said of exhibitors’ eagerness to pull out the stops to do business.

New Mexico Extension Home Economist Connie Moyers said education was an early goal of Extension in cosponsoring the Expo with the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce. Seminars play an important part in the event.

“I think it’s always important for people to find out about the latest tools and education,” Moyers said. “They appreciate new information that will help their operation run smoother.”

Moyers said horse training and working dog clinics have been a popular part of the program for the last several years and two new seminar presenters in those areas are on this year’s schedule. Scott Bagley of Dimmitt, Texas, will present “Building a Better Stock Horse” on Tuesday and Kyle Dillard of Milnesand will present a day-long clinic Wednesday on working dogs.

King said wind energy seminars have been well attended in recent years and Tuesday’s schedule will feature another one. Other presentations deal with a variety of dairy issues, a small vertebrate control seminar and cooking schools both days presented by Moyers.

A parade of antique tractors and antique tractor games will be on tap.

Attendees can become eligible to win a 14-foot stock trailer, provided by Sam Jenkins’ Rodeo Shop in Texico, by having various vendors validate their entry card and dropping it in a drawing box.

The Portales Rotary Club will serve a chuck wagon lunch of smoked pork chops on Tuesday and Boy Scouts will provide a concession stand and vendor Chabela’s Kitchen will sell Mexican food items.