Organic Production

Spider Web Woven in between Plum Branches with Purple Plum
Plums (Photo Taken by Geraint Smith)

The first NMSU acres certified organic for the purpose of research were at the Alcalde Sustainable Agriculture Science Center in 2002. We have continued to carry out much of our crops' research on these acres, including research grant projects that require, or prefer, certified organic acres (for example, grant-funded studies on medicinal and culinary herbs, common and tepary beans, and blue corn). The center has also grown most of our fruit under certified organic management. We offer producers information on how we follow organic methods for particular crops, what has worked and what has not, and what challenges we have faced. SASC strives to be a bridge and ally with organic and aspiring organic farmers in Northern New Mexico.


SASC at Alcalde Publications

  • Guide H 168_ Selection and Use of Insecticides for Organic Production
    Well-established organic farms and gardens often have very few insect problems. However, pest issues can still arise. Along with native pests, new invasive species can pose fresh challenges. Additionally, growers transitioning from conventional systems may experience particular difficulties in the first few years of organic production. Under these circumstances, they may be forced to consider using a pesticide. There is a common misconception that because organically approved insecticides are derived from natural sources they are safer for non-pest insects. In fact, many of them are toxic to a broad spectrum of insects, including beneficial predators and parasitic species. Only a very few materials are highly selective, i.e., harmful to the pest but relatively safe for beneficials. Furthermore, since the range of chemical controls available to organic growers is much more limited than those available to conventional farmers, it is particularly important to use these products judiciously to prevent or delay the development of insecticide resistance.


Additional NMSU Publications

  • Guide H 258_Field Production of Organic Chile
    Organic chile production poses novel challenges for growers, and must be dealt with in ways other than those used by conventional producers. Chile is subject to a wide variety of pests and diseases that require management for optimal growth and yield. Early growth of chile plants is slow, and weeds can quickly overcome chile fields if not addressed properly throughout the season. In addition, appropriate levels of nutrients must be available in the soil for optimal plant health and productivity. For organically grown chile, dealing with these challenges requires a whole-farm approach that relies on improving soil fertility and health, managing pests and diseases, and controlling weeds for healthy, productive plants (Bosland and Walker, 2014).
  • Circular 666_Organic Good Agricultural Practices for New Mexico
    Organic agricultural producers can use this document as a guide to implement Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) in their operations. Organic producers should use their Organic System Plan (OSP) and GAPs plan as dynamic management tools specific to their operations. This document reviews the seven-part USDA GAP audit with regulations and reasoning behind each audit point to increase understanding and allow for easier adaptation and implementation of GAPs in a farming operation.