AgriFuture Educational Institute


About 150 people attended the 2018 AgriFuture Educational Institute in Albuquerque May 15-17. Thank you to all the attendees, panelists and keynote speakers! The conference – held every other year – helps connect future producers with current producers. Veterans of the armed forces are encouraged to attend.

The next AgriFuture will be held in 2020. Please check back for details!

2018 AgriFuture Agenda

Tuesday, May 15
Opening Remarks: Jeff Witte, New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture
Keynote Speaker: Vonnie Estes – Innovation Shaping Food and Agriculture

Wednesday, May 16
Session 1
Panel: Marketing: What Do Retailers Want?
Moderator: David Lucero, New Mexico Department of Agriculture
Benjamin Bartley, La Montanita Co-op
Cherie Montoya, Farm & Table

Session 2
Panel: Marketing: Finding Your Niche
Moderator: David Lucero, New Mexico Department of Agriculture
Aimee Conlee, Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm
Sean Sheehan, Sheehan Winery
Tom Bertelle, Ben E. Keith food service distributor
Lunch Guest Speaker: Rolando Flores, Dean, NMSU College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

Session 3
Panel: Tools and Training Opportunities
Moderator: Dennis Fike, Farm Credit of New Mexico
Anthony Chavez, USDA – Farm Service Agency
Kristin Graham Chavez, USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service
Ryon Groesbeck, Farm Credit of New Mexico
Rick Lopez, USDA – Farm Service Agency
Newt McCarty, New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service
Warren Russell, Ag New Mexico Farm Credit
Jessica Smith, USDA – Farm Service Agency

Session 4
Option 1: Panel: Opportunities for Income Diversification
Moderator: Bernarr Treat, Xcel Energy
Pat Boone, rancher, New Mexico Cattle Growers Association immediate past president
Ryan Flynn, New Mexico Oil & Gas Association
Keven Groenewold, New Mexico Rural Electric Cooperative Association
Kevin McCall, McCall’s Pumpkin Patch

Option 2: Panel: Using Social Media to Effectively Promote Your Business
Moderator: Laura Smigielski Garcia, Marketing Solutions
Donnie Bidegain, Bidegain Farms
Emily Calhoun, Floriography Flowers
Erin Roy, The Harvest Trail Journey
Ashley Wagner & Chantelle Wagner, Farmer’s Daughters

Thursday, May 17
Session 5
Panel: Connecting the New Generation to Future Opportunities
Moderator: Debbie Hughes, New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts
Donne Gonzales, New Mexico Acequia Association (Los Sembradores Farmer Training Program)
Monica Pless, Quivira Coalition (New Agrarian Program)
Ann Simon, Mid-Region Council of Governments (New Mexico LandLink)
Shacey Sullivan, Cattlegrowers Foundation Inc. (Raising Ranchers Program)

Session 6
Option 1: Panel: Innovations and Future Technology in Production Agriculture
Moderator: Zetdi Sloan, Arrowhead Center Technology Incubator at New Mexico State University
Wendy Lu McGill, Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch
Tara Vander Dussen, Glorieta Geoscience, Inc.
Val Giddings, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

Option 2: Agriculture: The Transition Process
Cristy Carbon-Gaul, Law Office of Cristy J. Carbon-Gaul (estate planning attorney)
Brian Green, rancher
Debbie Hughes, New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts Executive Director, rancher
Closing Lunch Keynote Speaker: David Waters – On the Making of Beef Poets

Click here for session/panel descriptions.

Click here for speaker bios.

Questions? Call Kristie Garcia at the New Mexico Department of Agriculture at 575-646-2804 or email


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