Hay and forage producers throughout the West will convene in Reno, Nev., Dec. 11-13 to learn more about the region's multibillion-dollar alfalfa crop and about increasingly popular alternative forages.

Between 600 and 900 participants are expected to attend the 2002 Western Alfalfa and Forage Conference, which will encompass such topics as industry trends, economics, water politics, pest control, varieties, irrigation, big bales, alfalfa marketing, and forage testing and quality.

The conference will begin with a tour of Nevada agricultural sites and other sites of interest on Dec. 11, followed by the conference Dec. 12-13. Time has also been allotted on the agenda for hay grower organizations from each state to meet and discuss common issues.

The conference is cosponsored by the Cooperative Extension Services of the universities of Idaho, Arizona, California, Nevada and Oregon, as well as Utah State University and Washington State University. It will meet jointly with the California and Nevada Alfalfa Symposia and will include a 50-exhibitor Alfalfa and Forage Trade Show.

Dan Putnam, University of California alfalfa and forage Extension agronomist, and Glenn Shewmaker, University of Idaho Extension forage specialist, are conference co-chairs.

Pest Control Adviser and Certified Crop Adviser credits will be offered. To register or for more information, call Nikki Picanco at (530) 752-0700 in Davis, Calif., send e-mail to ndpicanco@ucdavis.edu or check the conference Web site at http://alfalfa.ucdavis.edu/SUBPAGES/2002Symposium/2002WAC.htm. To make room reservations at the conference site, John Ascuaga's Nugget in Sparks, call (800) 648-1177 and request the conference rate.

For additional information contact Picanco at the number and email address above; Putnam at (530) 752-8982 or dhputnam@ucdavis.edu; Shewmaker at (208) 736-3608 or gshew@uidaho.edu; or Marlene Fritz at (208) 384-0649 or mfritz@uidaho.edu.