All posts by Brendan Patrick McSherry

Census of Agriculture data reveals young farmers, farmers with military service play key role in New Mexico

For immediate release
April 18, 2019

United States Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service
New Mexico Field Office
Media Contact: Longino Bustillos, State Statistician
575-522-6023, longino.bustillos@nass.usda.gov

New Mexico Department of AgricultureMedia Contact: Kristie Garcia, Public Information Officer
575-646-2804, krgarcia@nmda.nmsu.edu

Newly released Census of Agriculture data reveals young farmers and farmers with military service play key role in New Mexico
New Mexico’s percentage of farmers and ranchers with military service was higher than national average

(Las Cruces, New Mexico) – Newly released data from the 2017 Census of Agriculture features new tables indicating the relevance of young producers, beginning farmers and ranchers, and producers with military service in New Mexico.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released the Census data last week.

Young producers are those age 35 years or younger, while beginning farmers and ranchers are those with 10 years or fewer on any farm. USDA defines a farm as “any place that produced and sold, or normally would have sold, $1,000 or more of agricultural products during the Census year.” The definition of “farms” includes farms, ranches, nurseries and greenhouses.

New Mexico is one of the few states in which the number of farms continues to increase, and New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte said female producers play an important role in the state’s family farms.

“We had 15,170 farms in 2002, and that number grew to 25,044 in 2017,” said Witte. “And female producers accounted for 41% of our producers in New Mexico in 2017.”

The state also had 10,628 new and beginning producers, which was 26% of the state’s total number of producers (40,850).

“Within the 26% of farmers who consider themselves new or beginning farmers, the average age is 50.1, which tells us that New Mexicans are returning to farming from other careers,” Witte said. “This once again proves that New Mexico has a strong culture in ag and that our people have a strong desire to grow and continue to provide food for their families.”

Witte said it is important to see the number of young producers increase, especially due to the high average age of producers in the state. New Mexico has the second highest average age of producers in the U.S. at 59.8, second only to Hawaii. In 2017, the Land of Enchantment had 2,848 young producers, which was approximately 7% of the state’s total number of producers.

“We need to continue to engage our youth and keep them interested in the agriculture industry,” said Witte. “Whether it’s farming, technology, ranching or the value-added industry, there are many opportunities in New Mexico.”

NASS New Mexico State Statistician Longino Bustillos said the USDA made a shift in the way it counts the number of producers farming or ranching, which affected the age and the number of female producers in 2017.

“The number of female producers and age demographic was calculated by allowing up to four producers at each operation to report, and taking the average age of those individuals,” Bustillos said. “This more accurately reflects the average age and the number of female producers making decisions on the farm. Because of the new method, USDA calculates the average age of producers from the 2012 Census at 58.3 in New Mexico, as opposed to 60.5, which was the average age determined when we only requested the age of the main operator.”

In addition to female producers, young producers and beginning producers, New Mexico saw a shift in farmers and ranchers with military service. That number totaled 5,366, which was 13% of New Mexico’s total and was higher than the national average of 11%.

However, an area of needed improvement for New Mexico is its internet access among farms. Only 60% of farms in New Mexico have internet access. New Mexico continues to lag behind the national average in farms with internet access, which is 75%. Internet access in New Mexico only increased by 4% from the 2012 Census of Agriculture.

Bustillos reiterated the importance of responding to the Census.

“The Census gives voice and opportunity to all farmers and ranchers to tell the changing story of agriculture over the years and identify emerging trends and needs,” said Bustillos. “We thank each and every person who took the time to respond.”

Response to the 2017 Census of Agriculture in New Mexico was 72.2%, which exceeded the national average response rate of 71.5.

NASS is pleased to share first-time data on topics such as military status and on-farm decision making. To make it easier to find data of your interest, results are available in many online formats including a new data query interface, as well as traditional data tables. All Census of Agriculture information is available at www.nass.usda.gov/AgCensus.

– 30 –

Japan & Europe Specialty Food & Beverage Inbound Trade Missions set for Oct. 21-22 in New Mexico

Are you in the business of New Mexico craft beer, spirits, wine or ciders? European and Japan buyers will visit New Mexico Oct. 21-22 for Specialty Food & Beverage Inbound Trade Missions. Registration deadline is Sept. 26. Visit the Western United States Agricultural Trade Association website at https://www.wusata.org/event/ for details or to register.

beer
beer
wine glass
wine

Deadline to register for Mexico HRI Foodservice Outbound Trade Mission this summer is April 26

Are you in the business of fresh fruits and vegetables, consumer ready products, food service products, snack foods, dairy, meats, health foods, beverages or wine? Don’t miss the Mexico Hotel Restaurant Institutions/Foodservice Outbound Trade Mission to Mexico City and Cancun June 9-14! Registration deadline is April 26. Register at the Western United States Agricultural Trade Association website: https://www.wusata.org/event/detail/C47DF0EA-5E5F-4089-8D85-5186CFC1CA99/search/

New Mexico Organic Farming Conference announces 2019 award recipients

For immediate release
March 18, 2019
Media Contact: Baylee Banks
New Mexico Department of Agriculture
575-646-1864, bbanks@nmda.nmsu.edu

New Mexico Organic Farming Conference announces 2019 award recipients

(Albuquerque, New Mexico) – Eight individuals and one organization were recognized at the 2019 New Mexico Organic Farming Conference (NMOFC) last month. The Southwest’s largest organic agricultural gathering, the conference provided the opportunity for 550 attendees to gain valuable knowledge on topics including water conservation, seed saving and variety development, wholesale markets, organic farming, soil health and more. The conference was Feb. 15-16 in Albuquerque.

Following is a list of award recipients:

The Organic Young Farmer Award, Lisa Anderson and Jim Benson

Lisa Anderson and Jim Benson began growing a mixed garden of seasonal fruits, vegetables and fruit trees on their small farm in Abiquiu in 2013. Selling under the name Malandro Farm, their primary sales outlet is the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market, though they recently expanded their operation to include the Taos Farmers Market. Anderson and Benson focus on providing their customers with the freshest food possible while striving to ensure that the land is continually improving its soil health and biological diversity through the use of cover crops, green manure, compost and crop rotation. This award is sponsored by the New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau–Chad Smith and Farm Bureau Financial Services–Fred Porter.

Educator of the Year Award, Mary Lucero and Jasmine and Zach Cecelic

Mary Lucero is a New Mexico native who received her doctorate in molecular biology and toxicology from New Mexico State University in 1997. As a scientist, she conducted research in chile, native range and medicinal plants, and the discovery and characterization of plant microbiomes. She recognizes that science in the absence of public input has contributed to a failing food system that is impacting public health and disabling the rural economies that produce our food. In 2013, she left her career with USDA and opened End-O-Fite Enterprises LLC in order to rebuild food systems by changing the way we think about microbes, dirt, food, health and the economics that drive our communities. Through End-O-Fite, Lucero educates growers, consumers and health care providers through on-site workshops and online classes that tackle soil health and human nutrition.

Jasmine and Zach Cecelic are the owners of Wildhood Farm located in Truchas, a small community in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. They host workshops and events aimed to help people understand their role as farmers and land stewards. They concentrate on rediscovering ancient farming methods and use native plants and seeds on their high elevation arid farm. Holistic beekeeping, wildlife habitat creation, water conservation and sustainable self-sufficiency are all in the scope of what they hope to share with others. 

Friend of Organic Agriculture Award, New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau and Stacy Gerk

For over 100 years, the New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau has been a voice of agriculture in New Mexico, advocating for farm and ranch families, rural communities, and those interested in protecting private property rights. Crop and livestock improvement, taxation and legislation, and irrigation and grazing rights issues have remained its focus. Food producers recognize the value in an organization working on their behalf and acting as an influential voice, both on the state and national level. As they surpass 19,000-member families, the New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau strives to support and advocate for agriculture as it provides for families now and in the future.

Current New Mexico Department of Agriculture Organic Program supervisor Stacy Gerk has been a longtime member of the NMOFC Planning Committee and is dedicated to the success of organic farmers in New Mexico. He initially began working for NMDA as a part-time survey field aide and later a fruit and vegetable inspector. He began working as a full-time fruit and vegetable inspector in 1994 and became the supervisor for the fruit and vegetable inspection program in 2004. He became the organic program supervisor in 2011.

Good Earth Steward Award, Heather Harrell

This award is presented to an organic farmer who exemplifies caring stewardship of the land and has a deep understanding of the principles of organic agriculture. Heather Harrell has been farming organically since she was a teenager. She began by growing cut flowers, moved on to mixed vegetables and eventually focused her business on growing medicinal herbs and raising honeybees. Throughout her career, Harrell has raised a wide variety of animals for meat and dairy and has maintained beehives for pollination. She has worked with Partners for the Americas Farmer to Farmer program to share knowledge with farmers in Jamaica, worked with Western SARE to develop her farm into a pollinator forage demonstration site and has written a book on Topbar beekeeping with Les Crowder. Harrell has also designed and built a straw bale solar thermal home with the help of permaculture teachers and students. She spent years marketing her products at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market, and served as the president of the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market board for a year and a half. 

Organic Farmer of the Year Award, Greg Nussbaum

Greg Nussbaum is the business and farm director of Camino de Paz School & Farm, located in Santa Cruz. The private Montessori middle school serves grades 7-12, and delivers a hands-on approach to education. Students are given the opportunity to aid in operating a goat dairy and produce farm, supplying products to grocery stores and farmers markets in Albuquerque. Students also act as the farm’s bookkeepers, accountants, salespeople, marketers and purchasers. The pre-collegiate Montessori program is based on an Erdkinder, or ‘Earth school’ approach, which encourages the idea that children thrive on land-based learning. The school is one of the first of its kind to open and serve as a model of this basis of learning.

Alongside conference facilitator Sage Faulkner, the conference was organized through a collaboration between the NMDA’s Organic Program, the New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service, the New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau and Walking Trout Farm.

The keynote speaker for the conference was Ron Rosmann of Rosmann Family Farms. The Rosmann family has been dedicated to organic farming for 30 years and received the 2018 Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Services Organic Farmer of the Year Award.

For more information about the New Mexico Organic Farming Conference, email sagefaulkner@yahoo.com, call 505-490-2822 or visit www.nmofc.org. – NMDA –

New Mexico Department of Agriculture Organic Program Supervisor Stacy Gerk (third from left) and the New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau (NMFLB) received the Friend of Organic Agriculture Award at the 2019 New Mexico Organic Farming Conference Feb. 15-16 in Albuquerque. NMFLB CEO Chad Smith (second from left) accepted the award on behalf of NMFLB. Pictured left to right are Theresa Widner, Chad Smith, Stacy Gerk, Valerie Huerta, Francisco Hatay and Joseph Marcoline. (Photo by Erin Roy)
New Mexico Department of Agriculture Organic Program Supervisor Stacy Gerk (third from left) and the New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau (NMFLB) received the Friend of Organic Agriculture Award at the 2019 New Mexico Organic Farming Conference Feb. 15-16 in Albuquerque. NMFLB CEO Chad Smith (second from left) accepted the award on behalf of NMFLB. Pictured left to right are Theresa Widner, Chad Smith, Stacy Gerk, Valerie Huerta, Francisco Hatay and Joseph Marcoline. (Photo by Erin Roy)
New Mexico Department of Agriculture Organic Program Supervisor Stacy Gerk (left) and Walking Trout Farm’s Joseph Marcoline (right) presented one of two Organic Farming Conference Educator of the Year Awards to Mary Lucero (center) at the 2019 New Mexico Organic Farming Conference Feb. 15-16 in Albuquerque. (Photo by Erin Roy)
New Mexico Department of Agriculture Organic Program Supervisor Stacy Gerk (left) and Walking Trout Farm’s Joseph Marcoline (right) presented one of two Organic Farming Conference Educator of the Year Awards to Mary Lucero (center) at the 2019 New Mexico Organic Farming Conference Feb. 15-16 in Albuquerque. (Photo by Erin Roy)
New Mexico Department of Agriculture Organic Program supervisor Stacy Gerk (left) and Walking Trout Farm’s Joseph Marcoline (right) presented one of two Organic Farming Conference Educator of the Year Awards to Zach and Jasmine Cecelic (center) at the 2019 New Mexico Organic Farming Conference Feb. 15-16 in Albuquerque. (Photo by Erin Roy)
New Mexico Department of Agriculture Organic Program supervisor Stacy Gerk (left) and Walking Trout Farm’s Joseph Marcoline (right) presented one of two Organic Farming Conference Educator of the Year Awards to Zach and Jasmine Cecelic (center) at the 2019 New Mexico Organic Farming Conference Feb. 15-16 in Albuquerque. (Photo by Erin Roy)

Ag Reporting Hotline available to report suspicious activity

For immediate release

Jan. 24, 2019
Media Contact:
Baylee Banks
New Mexico Department of Agriculture
575-646-1864, bbanks@nmda.nmsu.edu

 Agricultural Reporting Hotline available to anonymously report suspicious activity

(Las Cruces, New Mexico) – If you suspect suspicious activity within the agriculture community, such as ongoing pecan or cattle theft, the New Mexico Department of Agriculture’s office of biosecurity urges you to call the Agricultural Reporting Hotline at 1-800-525-2782 or 575-646-9191.

As part of AGROGUARD, a community policing program designed to protect the agriculture industry, the Agricultural Reporting Hotline allows anyone to report suspicious activity anonymously. Once reported, the alert is immediately sent as a message to the NMDA biosecurity department as well as the New Mexico Livestock Board for review. The appropriate department or organization is then appointed to manage the situation.

The Agricultural Reporting Hotline is not a replacement for 9-1-1 and should only be used to report non-immediate concerns within the agriculture community. If an emergency crime is suspected, contact local law enforcement immediately.

For more information, contact NMDA Office of Biosecurity Director Kelly Hamilton at KHamilton@nmda.nmsu.edu or 575-646-7243.

For more information about NMDA, visit www.nmda.nmsu.edu. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NMDeptAg and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @NMDeptAg.

AGROGUARD is a community policing program designed by the New Mexico Department of Agriculture’s office of biosecurity to protect the agriculture industry. As part of AGROGUARD, the Agricultural Reporting Hotline allows anyone to anonymously report suspicious activity within the agriculture community.
AGROGUARD is a community policing program designed by the New Mexico Department of Agriculture’s office of biosecurity to protect the agriculture industry. As part of AGROGUARD, the Agricultural Reporting Hotline allows anyone to anonymously report suspicious activity within the agriculture community.

– NMDA –