All posts by Brendan Patrick McSherry

Hemp manufacturing act public hearings set for June 27-28

For immediate release
June 3, 2019
Media Contact:
Kristie Garcia, Public Information Officer,
New Mexico Department of Agriculture

NMDA schedules public hearings regarding hemp manufacturing act

Hearings to be held in Las Cruces, Albuquerque the end of June

(Las Cruces, New Mexico) – The New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) has scheduled formal hearings to receive public input on the newly developed hemp manufacturing rule.

Public hearings will be held as follows:

  • Thursday, June 27at 10 a.m. at the Crowne Plaza Albuquerque, located at 1901 University Blvd. NE, in Albuquerque
  • Friday, June 28 at 8 a.m. at the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, located at 3190 S. Espina, in Las Cruces on the corner of Espina and Gregg

The proposed rule establishes regulations related to the licensing, fees, eligibility and inspection requirements for persons involved in specific activities involving the testing of raw hemp for regulatory purposes, as well as persons involved in specific activities related to the breeding of hemp.

Interested individuals may provide comments regarding the proposed rulemaking actions at the rule hearing and/or submit written comments via email at Written comments must be received no later than 5 p.m. Friday, June 28. Individuals are encouraged to submit written comments as soon as possible. Persons offering written comments at the meeting must have two copies for the hearing officer.

If you are an individual with a disability who is in need of a reader, amplifier, qualified sign language interpreter or any other form of auxiliary aid or service to attend or participate in the hearing or meeting, please contact NMDA at 575-646-3702 as soon as possible but at least one week prior to the meeting.


To develop a rule to accompany statutory language which provides NMDA specific administration authorities related to the licensing and inspection of laboratories testing raw hemp for regulatory purposes, as well as the licensing and inspection of persons breeding hemp that may possess plants greater than .3% and less than 5% THC.  

The 2018 farm bill removed hemp from the federal controlled substances act and provided a framework for the growing of hemp. NMDA is currently licensing hemp producers.

NMDA has worked closely with producers and processors who are seeking security in the development of the extracting, processing and manufacturing components of this new industry.

During the 2019 legislative session, House Bill 581 Hemp Manufacturing Act was passed and signed into law. The legislation grants NMDA and the New Mexico Environment Department the regulatory authority over manufacturers, processors, labs, researchers and plant breeders.

The hemp manufacturing act may be viewed in its entirety at

Legal authority authorizing the rule is granted to the board of regents of New Mexico State University under Chapter 76, Article 24, Section 1, NMSA 1978 Compilation.

The full text of the proposed 21.20.3 NMAC – Hemp Manufacturing Ruleis available at and at NMDA, which is located at 3190 S. Espina in Las Cruces.

For more information about NMDA, visit Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @NMDeptAg.

– NMDA –

Deadline extended to June 14 for New Mexico Ag & Innovation Trade Mission to Brazil Aug. 11-19

Attention New Mexico producers:

Don’t miss this opportunity to join the New Mexico Department of Agriculture on the New Mexico Agriculture Innovation and Trade Mission to Brazil August 11-19, 2019! THE REGISTRATION DEADLINE HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO JUNE 14!

New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte and NMDA International Marketing Specialist Jason New will help you:

  • Open doors to prime international markets and gain exposure to new and innovative agricultural production, processing, and marketing techniques
  • Create international relationships and gain a deeper understanding of markets in large production countries similar to the U.S.
  • Explore competitive trends in the global marketplace and how government regulation and support affect production and practices

Your participation fee of either $300 per person (double occupancy) or $595 per person (single occupancy) covers coordination of travel and tours, lodging, designated group meals, ground transportation, translator, site entry fees and resource materials about Brazil.

The Healy Foundation is providing partial funding assistance for New Mexico producers to experience international agriculture and trade. Participants are responsible for their own airfare (approx. $1,650 round trip), meals outside of planned activities, alcoholic beverages, travel & international health insurance, tips, portage services and passport fees.

Space is limited! The deadline to register is Friday, June 14.

The deadline to book your flight with Frederick Travel Waterloo is Friday, June 21.

To register, or if you have any questions, contact Jason New at or 575-646-4929.

Click here for the registration form.

New Mexico hemp growers must obtain license from NMDA

May 2, 2019
Media Contact:
Kristie Garcia, Public Information Officer,
New Mexico Department of Agriculture

New Mexico hemp growers must obtain license from NMDA

It is illegal to grow hemp without a license in New Mexico

(Las Cruces, New Mexico) – New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte would like to remind the public that all hemp growers in New Mexico must obtain a license from the New Mexico Department of Agriculture.

State and federal laws require oversight of hemp production to ensure cannabis plants grown meet the state and federal definition of hemp. In New Mexico, both the individual grower and the growing location must be registered with NMDA.

Interested individuals may download a hemp production application at For more information, call NMDA at 575-646-3207 or email

– NMDA –

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

New Mexico Department of AgricultureMedia Contact: Kristie Garcia, Public Information Officer

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

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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 for details or to register.

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