New Mexico Agricultural Producers Encouraged To Attend Drought Management Virtual Sessions

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LAS CRUCES – New Mexico agricultural producers are invited to attend virtual sessions regarding drought management and the water outlook in the state. The Southwest Border Food Protection and Emergency Preparedness Center at New Mexico State University will host the sessions via Zoom.

The first session is from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5 and is intended for Southern and Central New Mexico producers. Experts from the following agencies will discuss forecasts, drought updates and risk management tools available:

  • Elephant Butte Irrigation District
  • Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District
  • National Weather Service
  • United States Department of Agriculture–Farm Service Agency

Producers who want to join the Nov. 5 session must register at http://nmsu.life/waterZOOM in advance to receive the link.

Plans are underway to host Zoom calls for producers in other parts of the state as well. A session for Northern New Mexico producers is set for Tuesday, Nov. 10, and one is also being planned for Eastern New Mexico producers. Experts specific to the respective locations will present during the sessions. Details will be announced as soon as they are available.

“As of October 20, nearly two-thirds of New Mexico is classified in extreme or exceptional drought,” said Kerry Jones of the National Weather Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “The record-breaking winter storm system brought much needed precipitation to a majority of the state; however, long-term precipitation deficits and a winter outlook that will tilt the odds toward a drier than normal winter calls for drought conditions to persist through at least February.”

Dr. Phil King, the water resources consultant for Elephant Butte Irrigation District, emphasized the reality of the state’s water outlook and encourages farmers to prepare.

“EBID is always tracking current and developing conditions in our water supply,” said King. “Elephant Butte Reservoir is our key storage facility, and it is at about 4% of capacity. The Rio Grande Basin is in moderate to exceptional drought, and forecasts are for a warm dry winter. While we are getting a bit of precipitation from a passing storm system, we will need significant sustained precipitation to get up to a decent water supply, and that appears unlikely. We are cautioning our farmers to prepare for a tough 2021 water season – we expect to start around the beginning of June and end the season early. We are estimating that the final allotment will be six inches or less. While we hope for improvement, a critically short season looks likely right now.”

For more information about the Zoom sessions, please call 575-646-5949.

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