New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service will host the 2013 Western Pecan Growers Association Conference and Trade Show Sunday through Tuesday, March 3-5, at Hotel Encanto, 705 S. Telshor Blvd. in Las Cruces. This will mark the 47th year the organization, which represents growers in California, Arizona, New Mexico and West Texas, has sponsored the event. NMSU is a co-sponsor.

According to Olivia Carver, the association's deputy director, last year's event attracted about 500 people from the region, elsewhere in the U.S., and even from other countries.

The trade show component kicks off Sunday at noon and goes until 5 p.m., then runs in tandem with the educational program on subsequent days. It will feature about 70 vendors.

"The vendors will address a wide spectrum of pecan production, harvest and marketing, including plant nutrition, fertilizers and agricultural chemicals; various types of equipment; nursery trees; well drilling; and crop insurance," Carver said.

The popular annual Pecan Food Fantasy contest will also take place on Sunday.

Richard Heerema, NMSU pecan specialist, is the organizer of the conference's educational program, which takes place Monday and Tuesday. The program includes 15 presentations by researchers from NMSU, other universities and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as representatives from Farm Bureau and the pecan industry.

Topics range from pecan load management, soil health, nutrition, canopy and water management, pests and disease, and herbicide injury, to more business and technical issues like taxes, international markets and competition, and smart-phone apps for producers.

The final session will be a grower's panel on pressurized irrigation systems.

In addition to the educational program, trade show and baking contest, the program includes a Sunday welcome reception from 4-6 p.m. at the Azul Bar in the Hotel Encanto, as well as a Monday social hour at 6 p.m., immediately followed by the 7 p.m. banquet and awards ceremony.

Continuing Education Credits will be offered by Arizona, New Mexico and Texas to attendees.

Presentations from several previous conferences are archived at http://aces.nmsu.edu/ces/pecans/pecan-management.html.

For full information about the 2013 conference or to register and pay online, visit www.westernpecan.org. This year all conference registration is either online or at the door. Online registration closes after Feb. 25. Interested parties can also contact Olivia Carver directly at 575-640-7798 or oliviakcarver@gmail.com.