• 2015 New Mexico Agricultural Statistics Bulletin

    Click here to view the full, 2015 New Mexico Agricultural Statistics Bulletin.

  • COVER CONTEST: See your image on the cover of this year’s Agriculture Statistics Bulletin

    Can YOU capture New Mexico agriculture in a single image?
    NMDA sponsors Centennial contest to find cover art for agriculture magazine

    (LAS CRUCES) – New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) is sponsoring a contest to find the image most representative of New Mexico agriculture – whether that image is a photo, a drawing, or a painting…and whether it features land, crops, livestock, people, or something else.  The winning entry will become the cover of the New Mexico Agriculture Statistics Bulletin that will be published this December and circulated across the state next year.

    “The ag stats bulletin is the go-to publication to get a snapshot of New Mexico agriculture,” said Jeff Witte, New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture.  “It has important facts and figures about all the things that make up New Mexico’s diverse agricultural landscape.”

    Witte noted that includes dairy, cattle and calves, pecans, hay, corn, onions, nursery stock, chile, cotton, wheat, sorghum, potatoes, peanuts, dry beans, poultry and eggs, cottonseed, sheep and lambs, wool and mohair, and hogs and pigs, among other agricultural items.

    Every year, NMDA publishes the 70-page bulletin in partnership with the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the USDA agency that compiles the important county-level and state-level data across the country.  The publication includes data about agricultural prices, income, and revenues, as well as livestock inventories and values, and crop acreage and values.

    The person with the winning entry will receive an enlarged, framed copy of the cover featuring their art, as well as a gift basket of New Mexico food products and special NEW MEXICO-Taste the Tradition®/Grown with Tradition® merchandise.

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    Contest Details

    • Contestants must be from New Mexico.
    • Each contestant may submit only one entry.
    • All entries require a short caption or title.
    • By entering, participants warrant that their materials are original, do not infringe on any third party’s rights, and that the participant has obtained any necessary permission from any third party if a third party or that party’s property appears in the image.
    • Participants warrant that permission was obtained for all photographed subjects, including minors.
    • Entries must be received by 5 p.m. on November 10, 2012.
    • Entries can be emailed or mail in.  Emailed entries should be sent to pio@nmda.nmsu.edu.  Mailed-in entries will not be returned.  Mailed-in entries should be sent to:
      New Mexico Department of Agriculture

      Attn: PIO / Ag Stats Cover Contest
      P.O. Box 30005
      3190 S. Espina, MSC 3189
      Las Cruces, NM  88003
    • Questions?  Please contact Katie Goetz at pio@nmda.nmsu.edu or 575-646-2804.
  • New Mexico farmers taking novel approaches amid drought, new data shows

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 2, 2014

    Media contact: Longino Bustillos
    New Mexico State Statistician
    USDA-National Agricultural Statistics Service
    575-522-6023
    longino.bustillos@nass.usda.gov

    Media contact: Katie Goetz
    Public Information Officer
    New Mexico Department of Agriculture
    575-646-2804
    kgoetz@nmda.nmsu.edu

    USDA data released today completes picture first seen in February

    (LAS CRUCES, N.M.) – Even as the drought wears on, New Mexico’s agricultural community is diversifying in terms of the kinds of products it grows and in the way it sells its products, according to new federal data released today.

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) revealed in the final results of the 2012 Agriculture Census that, in New Mexico:

    • The number of farms selling directly to their customers increased by 19 percent
    • The number of farms producing nursery, greenhouse, flowers, and sod increased 56 percent
    • New Mexico farmers are planting a wider variety of higher-value specialty crops like vegetables, pecans, and melons

     USDA’s last Agriculture Census was conducted in 2007.

     “The Census of Agriculture provides a wide range of demographic, economic, land, and crop and livestock production information that are only available every five years,” said New Mexico Statistician Longino Bustillos, whose NASS office in Las Cruces oversees outreach efforts, as well as data collection and interpretation, related to the Agriculture Census in New Mexico.

    USDA defines a farm as “as any place that produced and sold, or normally would have sold, $1,000 or more of agricultural products during the Census year.”  In other words, USDA’s definition of “farms” includes farms, ranches, and other businesses selling agricultural products.

    As expected, the 397 pages of New Mexico-specific data also bear the mark of the ongoing drought.  That fact was most noticeable in the 2012 inventories of beef and dairy cattle as compared to the 2007 inventories, as well as in the increased farm expenses such as livestock feed and farm inputs.  As a further reflection of the drought – and of increased Census participation among small farms – the average net cash income per farm dropped from $17,558 in 2007 to $9,501 in 2012.

    Taken together, these data highlights suggest that farmers and ranchers are looking for ways to maximize their returns on less water by selling higher-value crops via a wider variety of channels.

    “While these are challenging times in agriculture, it’s really interesting to see the shift in dynamic.  New Mexico producers are resilient and resourceful,” said New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte.

    Other highlights include that 97 percent of the state’s farms are family-owned.  On a national level, Dona Ana County ranks as the top county in pecan acreage; New Mexico ranks third behind only Texas and Georgia in pecan acreage per state.  Dona Ana, Luna, and Sierra rank in the top five counties in the nation in chile acreage.

    The final Census results released today add detail to the portrait first outlined by preliminary data released in February.  Those results showed an increase in the number of farms, young farmers, minority farmers rising in New Mexico – news that was widely trumpeted across the state and the country.

    Agriculture organizations and agencies are looking to build on the trend of increasing diversity by hosting a conference this month for beginning and future farmers, ranchers, and those looking to carve out other careers in agriculture. 

    Conducted since 1840, the Census of Agriculture accounts for all U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them.  The data help farmers, ranchers, policymakers, agribusiness and a host of others make decisions for the future.

    For more information about the Census, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov.  Click here for more information about and to register for the 2014 AgriFuture Educational Institute happening in Albuquerque, May 12-14.

  • New Mexico creates agricultural institute to prepare future farmers, ranchers, agribusiness leaders

    AgriFuture to be hosted in Albuquerque, May 12-14

    (ALBUQUERQUE) – Agricultural organizations and agencies in New Mexico are looking to expand upon an exciting new trend: more young people are taking up farming, ranching, and other careers in agricultural production in the Land of Enchantment.

    New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) and a dozen other agencies and organizations involved in New Mexico agriculture are coordinating and hosting the 2014 AgriFuture Educational Institute for beginning/future farmers and ranchers, as well as those aiming for other careers in agriculture.  The institute will be hosted May 12-14 in Albuquerque.

    “The goal of the AgriFuture Educational Institute is to inform, inspire, and connect the people who will produce our food and fiber going forward,” said New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte.  “And how the Institute aims to achieve that lofty goal is by bringing together future ag producers and current ag producers, and really facilitating a conversation among that diverse group.”

    According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture released by USDA last month, New Mexico saw an increase in the number of people age 34 and younger who are agricultural producers, from 818 in 2007 to 1,200 in 2012.  At the same time, the census showed a slight uptick in the average age of farmers in New Mexico from 59.6 years old in 2007 to 60.5 years old in 2012.

    “Taken together, what those two statistics tell us is that we’re headed in the right direction in terms of getting more young people into agriculture, but that we still have work to do,” Witte said.

    Access to land and capital are often said to be the major roadblocks for young people who want to join the ranks of today’s farmers and ranchers.  Witte said that topic will be one of many addressed in the breakout session piece of the institute.  Then attendees will board several buses to take private tours of a wide variety of agricultural businesses in and around Albuquerque.

    “New Mexico depends on agriculture, and thus we depend on future generations getting involved with the entire spectrum of agriculture from farming and ranching to banking to teaching to communications and much, much more,” said Caren Cowan, executive director of the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association, one of the institute’s organizers and sponsors.  “[AgriFuture] hopes to expose young people to the wide range of possibilities.”

    The institute is open to future agricultural producers age 40 and under; veterans are encouraged to attend.  It is also open to current agricultural producers of all ages in hopes that they will serve as mentors going forward.  Witte said the idea of community is critical in agriculture, because people often develop their best practices on the farm or ranch by talking with others rather than by, say, reading a handbook.

    The registration fee for future agriculture producers is only $50 for the Institute, while the fee for current agriculture producers (those who can potentially mentor beginning farmers and ranchers) is only $100.  Institute activities are also being funded in part by such sponsors as Farm Credit of New Mexico, which is also helping organize the institute.

    “Farm Credit of New Mexico is passionate about youth and their development in agriculture,” said Al Porter, president and CEO of Farm Credit of New Mexico.  “This conference is a great way for us to all work together to make sure future agriculturists are prepared to enhance rural New Mexico.”

    In addition to NMDA, Cattle Growers’, and Farm Credit, institute organizers include Ag New Mexico Farm Credit; New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau; New Mexico Beef Council; Dairy Producers of New Mexico; New Mexico Wool Growers, Inc.; New Mexico Soil and Water Conservation Districts; New Mexico State University-Cooperative Extension Service; USDA-Farm Service Agency’s New Mexico office; USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service’s New Mexico office; and USDA-Rural Development’s New Mexico office.

    The institute agenda and registration are available at our homepage.  People can also join the Facebook event page to stay tuned for institute updates and connect with other attendees.  If you wish to help sponsor the institute in any amount, you are asked to call NMDA at 575-646-3702.

  • Number of farms, young farmers, minority farmers rising in New Mexico

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 20, 2014

    Media contact: Longino Bustillos
    New Mexico State Statistician
    USDA-National Agricultural Statistics Service
    575-522-6023
    longino.bustillos@nass.usda.gov

    Media contact: Katie Goetz
    Public Information Officer
    New Mexico Department of Agriculture
    575-646-2804
    kgoetz@nmda.nmsu.edu

    New federal data reveal diverse portrait of farming, ranching across Land of Enchantment

    (LAS CRUCES, N.M.) – There have been significant increases in the number of farms, young farmers, and minority farmers in New Mexico in recent years, according to the preliminary results of the 2012 Census of Agriculture released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

    The census shows that the number of farms and ranches in New Mexico is 24,721 farms, which translates to an 18 percent increase from the 2007 Census.  That stands in contrast to a national decline in the number of farms over the same period.  The amount of farmland in New Mexico was relatively unchanged at approximately 43.2 million acres.

    While in the West the term “farm” may conjure images of crops rather than livestock, USDA’s definition of farms is quite broad: the federal agency defines a farm as “as any place that produced and sold, or normally would have sold, $1,000 or more of agricultural products during the Census year.”  In other words, USDA’s definition of “farms” includes farms, ranches, nurseries, greenhouses, and the like.

    Other New Mexico-specific highlights from the census include an increase in the number of minority-operated farms during the period between the 2007 and 2012 censuses, particularly among the Hispanic community.  The number of Hispanic-operated farms jumped from 6,475 to 9,377 in the five-year span.

    The average age of the principal farm operator in New Mexico continued its upward trend, rising from 59.6 years old in 2007 to 60.5 years old in 2012. However, there was also an increase in the number of farmers and ranchers under age 34, jumping from 818 in 2007 to the current tally of 1,200.

    “I’m glad to see a wider diversity of people getting into farming and ranching in New Mexico,” said New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte.  “Diversity in farming and ranching creates opportunity.  I’m proud of the increased numbers of young and beginning farmers and ranchers in the state, which assures us that agriculture will continue to be a major economic driver in New Mexico for years to come.”

    In 2012, the value of New Mexico agriculture products sold totaled $2.55 billion, up 17 percent from 2007.  Livestock, poultry and their products accounted for 76 percent of the state total at $1.93 billion.

    “Part of what we are seeing is that more farmers and ranchers in New Mexico are taking the time to fill out the census as they understand the importance of having data that reflects agriculture trends in their communities,” said New Mexico State Statistician Longino Bustillos.  “The Census of Agriculture is used for decision-making by producers as well as those who serve farmers, ranchers, and rural communities – federal, state and local governments, agribusinesses, trade associations, and many others.”

    Nationally, the 2012 Census reported little change in the amount of farmland, a more diverse principal operator population, and several historic changes in value of sales for U.S. agriculture producers from 2007 to 2012.  At the national level:

    • The United States had 2.1 million farms, down 4.3 percent in 2012.  In terms of farm size by acres, the decline continued a downward trend in mid-sized farms, while the smallest- and largest-size farms held steady.
    • The average age of a principal farm operator was 58.3 years, up 1.2 years since 2007, and continuing a 30-year trend of steady increase.  More minority-operated farms were also accounted for in 2012 than in 2007.
    • In 2012, the value of agriculture products sold totaled $394.6 billion, up 33 percent ($97.4 billion) from 2007.  For only the second time in census history crop sales ($212.4 billion) exceeded livestock sales ($182.2 billion).

    “The release of the preliminary 2012 Census of Agriculture results is only a first look at the data and NASS is eager to publish the final report this May,” said NASS Administrator Cynthia Clark. “The 2012 census was not conducted in a typical crop year, and drought had a major impact on U.S. agriculture, affecting crop yields, production and prices. NASS is still reviewing all 2012 census items to the county level and therefore data are preliminary until published in the final report.”

    Conducted since 1840, the Census of Agriculture accounts for all U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. When available in May, the final report will provide more detailed information for New Mexico providing data on all farm operators and data down to the county level.

    For more information about the census, including access to the 2012 Census of Agriculture preliminary report and the full report when it is released in May, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov.

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