• 2017 Census of Agriculture will capture complete picture of New Mexico production

    Questionnaires to be mailed in December

    (Las Cruces, New Mexico) – New Mexico farmers and ranchers should be on the lookout for a Census of Agriculture questionnaire in the mail in December. Farmers and ranchers across the country will soon have the opportunity to make a positive impact on their communities and industry by taking part in the census.

    For a simpler, faster and more efficient process, producers are encouraged to complete the online questionnaire at www.agcensus.usda.gov upon receiving their questionnaire. In order to complete the online version, each person will need his or her unique 17-digit code, which may be found on the questionnaire.

    Conducted every five years by United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the census captures a complete count of all U.S. farms and ranches and those who operate them. Even the smallest plots of land and those raising only a few animals during the census year are counted.

    New Mexico State Statistician Longino Bustillos said the census remains the only source of uniform, comprehensive agricultural data for every county in the nation.

    “It’s a critical tool that gives farmers a voice to influence decisions that will shape the future of their community, industry and operation,” Bustillos said.
    The census highlights land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income, expenditures and other topics. The information gathered by the Census of Agriculture guides Congress, agribusiness, policymakers, researchers, local governments and many others on the creation and funding of agricultural programs and services – decisions that can directly impact local operations and the future of the agriculture industry for years to come.

    New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte encourages all New Mexico producers to respond.

    “We only have this opportunity every five years, so please complete the census and take pride in what we do in New Mexico,” Witte said. “The results of the census truly show the impact of agriculture in our state.”

    This year, NASS will collect new information, including data on active duty and military veteran farmers, as well as expanded questions about food marketing practices.

    In 2012, New Mexico reported a total of 24,721 farms and ranches, spanning more than 43 million acres. This showed an 18 percent increase from the previous census in 2007. Although the state’s average age of farmers and ranchers climbed to over 60 (second highest in the country), New Mexico data showed an increase in young farmers and ranchers. This telling information and thousands of additional farm and ranch statistics are only available every five years, as a direct result of responses to the census.

    Census of Agriculture responses must be submitted by Feb. 5.

    “Your answers to the census impact farm programs and rural services that support your community,” Bustillos said. “So please do your part, and be counted when you receive your form, because there’s strength in numbers that only the census can reveal.”

    For more information about the census, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov or call 1-888-4AG-STAT (1-888-424-7828). The Census of Agriculture is Your Voice, Your Future, Your Opportunity.

  • Eastern New Mexico in-shell pecan weevil quarantine rule takes effect Nov. 20

    Las Cruces, N.M. – The New Mexico Department of Agriculture will issue an emergency pecan weevil quarantine effective Nov. 20 for a duration of 180 days for Chaves, Curry, Eddy, and Lea counties. The quarantine is issued as a result of the continued findings of pecan weevil in residential pecan trees in Hobbs, Lovington, Roswell, Clovis, Artesia and in several commercial southeastern New Mexico orchards.

    The primary objective of the quarantine is to prevent the spread of pecan weevil by providing restrictions on the export of in-shell pecans grown in those counties. During the 180 days, input from the pecan industry will continue to be accepted by NMDA for possible incorporation into a permanent quarantine.

    Although the objective of the quarantine is to prevent the spread of pecan weevil out of known infested counties, New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte said work continues to remove pecan weevil from residential and commercial trees.

    “At this time, we are working with local pest control companies on expanding removal efforts in Artesia, Roswell and Clovis,” said Witte.

    In-shell pecans that are destined to other New Mexico counties from quarantined counties require either cold treatment prior to shipment or transportation in sealed containers directly to an NMDA-approved cold storage facility. Transportation in sealed trailers or containers prevents pecan weevils from emerging from nuts and dropping to the ground where they may infest a new area of the state. Freezing pecan weevil for an extend period of time will kill the pest.

    Pecan weevil is primarily spread through the movement of in-shell pecans and infested equipment. Additional quarantine restrictions apply to equipment and treatments. If the in-shell pecans are shipped to another state, restrictions for the receiving state should be verified by contacting the respective department of agriculture.

    NMDA and New Mexico Pecan Growers Association are asking homeowners with pecan trees to carefully look at their pecans for signs of pecan weevil infestation in order to reduce the movement of pecan weevil within the quarantined counties. A number of websites are available to help individuals determine if their pecans are infested with pecan weevil, including the New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service website at http://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_circulars/CR683.pdf.

    NMDA asks homeowners to destroy pecan weevils in infested pecans by freezing the pecans for a period of seven days or crushing the nuts. Homeowners should also call NMDA at 575-646-3007 or their local Cooperative Extension Service office, which may be found at http://aces.nmsu.edu/county/. Homeowners are also being asked to ensure they are not contributing to the spread of pecan weevil to neighbors or other towns by moving infested pecans.

    To help identify pecan weevil infested locations and ensure compliance with the quarantine, pecan buyers or accumulators are required to collect information from the seller. Information required for each transaction includes seller’s contact information, physical location of where nuts were grown and amount of nuts purchased.

    New Mexico’s exterior pecan weevil quarantine that was enacted in 1997 restricts the movement of in-shell pecans originating in all states except Arizona, California and the Texas counties of El Paso and Hudspeth, and parts of Culberson County.

    Economic Impact of Pecan

    Phillip Arnold, New Mexico Pecan Growers Association President said pecans are vital to the New Mexico agricultural economy.

    “Pecan production is now New Mexico’s number one crop, with respect to cash receipts,” said Arnold. “We have over 2,000 pecan farms in the state and an unknown number of homeowners with pecan trees that are also an important part of the business.”

    The 2017 pecan crop forecast for New Mexico is a record 79 million pounds.

    Western pecan growers consider pecan weevil the most significant pest of pecans. Pecan weevil establishment in commercial pecan orchards results in increased production costs, crop loss, reductions in nut quality, increased use of insecticides.

    Because of its significant impact on pecan production, NMDA and the Western Pecan Growers Association have worked over the past 40 years to prevent pecan weevil from establishing in the state and to prevent the movement of pecan weevil. During the past eight years, NMDA has worked with contractors and growers to remove pecan weevil from specific neighborhoods and orchards in eastern New Mexico. Once initiated, removal of pecan weevil from an infested area or tree may take up to seven years or more.

    History of Pecan Weevil

    For over 30 years, New Mexico has seen periodic introductions of pecan weevil, which have been eradicated each time with the help of the pecan industry. It was determined last year that pecan weevil had spread from known areas of active eradication, which resulted in an emergency quarantine rule taking effect Jan. 27, 2017. The quarantine was directed at protecting New Mexico’s pecan industry from additional spread of pecan weevil to uninfested pecan-growing counties.

    Who to Contact

    NMSU Extension is collaborating with NMDA and Western Pecan Growers Association to provide outreach and education to the affected communities. To contact your local extension agent, visit http://aces.nmsu.edu/county/. A copy of the quarantine rule may be found at www.nmda.nmsu.edu or by calling 575-646-3007. The draft quarantine is subject to change as industry continues to provide input.

  • NMDA invites New Mexico ranchers to meet with Mexican cattle buyers


    Meeting will take place during annual Joint Stockmen’s Convention in Albuquerque

    (Albuquerque, N.M.) –New Mexico ranchers are invited to meet with Mexican cattle buyers from 1 to 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1 at the Albuquerque Crowne Plaza, located at 1901 University Blvd. NE. The New Mexico Department of Agriculture is hosting the meeting in the International Room for attendees of the annual Joint Stockmen’s Convention, which is Thursday, Nov. 30 through Sunday, Dec. 3.

    This is the third consecutive year the NMDA has facilitated this meeting during the convention hosted by the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association.

    “This meeting provides a unique opportunity for cattle buyers and sellers to connect,” said New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte. “The previous meetings the last two years have resulted in successful sales, so we encourage New Mexico ranchers to attend.”

    David Lucero, director of NMDA Marketing and Development Division, along with marketing specialist Juan Sanchez, will facilitate the meeting and translate if needed.

    Buyers are interested in Angus, Hereford, Charolais, Santa Gertrudis and Brangus breeds. Ranchers are encouraged to bring catalogs, photos, Expected Progeny Differences and DVDs, as laptops will be available.

    Ranchers attending the meeting do not have to be members of the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association, however, they must register for the Joint Stockmen’s Convention. Visit http://nmagriculture.org/2017-joint-stockmens-convention/ to register. For more information about the convention, contact the NMCGA at 505-247-0584 or nmcga@nmagriculture.org.

    For more information regarding the international meeting, or if you are unable to attend, contact Sanchez at 575-646-4929 or jsanchez@nmda.nmsu.edu.

    To learn more about the NMDA, visit www.nmda.nmsu.edu. Like us on Facebook www.facebook.com/NMDepartmentofAg and follow us on Twitter @NMDeptAg.

  • Industrial Hemp Research Program

    Senate Bill 6, Industrial Hemp Research

    Frequently Asked Questions here!

    [Update: 04/30/2018]

    On April 25, 2018, the New Mexico Supreme Court overturned the previous veto of Senate Bill 6 (Industrial Hemp Research Rules) by Governor Martinez. At this time, the New Mexico Department of Agriculture has initiated the rule-making process. Updates will be posted when information is available, including public input opportunities. Please see Las Cruces Sun News article at https://www.lcsun-news.com/story/news/local/new-mexico/2018/04/25/new-mexico-supreme-court-rejects-governors-vetoes/551544002/.


    The New Mexico Supreme Court will hear oral arguments regarding 10 bills that were vetoed during the 2017 legislative session. Two of the ten bills pertain to the development of an industrial hemp program at NMDA. Oral arguments in front of the supreme court are scheduled for April 25. The link below will guide you to the supreme court calendar and pending case information page.  https://supremecourt.nmcourts.gov/court-calendar-and-pending-case-information.aspx?calEventId=ac52d6d1c7e5490a800354f9132bd463#/CalendarContent


    On Tuesday, January 2, 2018, New Mexico’s Supreme Court blocked District Judge Sarah Singleton’s decision that determined that Governor Martinez did not legally veto 10 bills passed during the 2017 legislative session. The January 2 ruling puts a hold on the promulgation of all 10 bills until the court has a ‘full and fair opportunity’ to consider the case.

    The 10 bills, including two bills legalizing hemp research, were passed by legislators during the 2017 legislative session and then vetoed by Governor Martinez. The Governor’s veto was challenged in District Court with Judge Sarah Singleton ruling that the 10 bills were not vetoed through a legal process, and therefore should be promulgated. The Governor’s office then challenged Judge Singleton’s ruling in the New Mexico Supreme Court. The recent Supreme Court decision puts the 10 bills, including hemp, back in legal limbo until the court address the issue at a later date.

    A full story can be found at the following link:  http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/divided-supreme-court-stalls-new-laws-in-ongoing-veto-fight/article_b0e91116-4cdf-56b2-b5ad-4a6d0ec4848e.html


    Below is background information regarding Senate Bill 6, Industrial Hemp Research.

    Appeal CASE #: S1SC36731

    November 6, 2017, the New Mexico Supreme Court will consider an appeal by the governor challenging a judge’s August decision to overturn the vetoes and allow the bills to become law.

    State Supreme court will hear a veto plea from the governor

    September 28, 2017, ten bills that passed the Legislature but were invalidly vetoed were chaptered today. Senate Bill 6 and the story can be found below.

    Judge lets vetoed bills become law

    Senate Bill 6 Industrial Hemp Research 


  • New Mexico Feed and Food Rapid Response Team coordinator hired

    For immediate release

    Nov. 3, 2017
    Media Contact:
    Kristie Garcia, Public Information Officer,
    New Mexico Department of Agriculture
    575-646-2804, krgarcia@nmda.nmsu.edu



    (Las Cruces, N.M.) – Julie Anderson has been hired as the state coordinator for the Feed and Food Rapid Response Team (RRT) in New Mexico. The New Mexico Department of Agricultureand Southwest Border Food Protection and Emergency Preparedness Center are leading a statewide coordination effort to establish the Feed and Food RRT.

    The RRT follows the Food and Drug Administration model, and the State of Washington is a mentor for New Mexico’s team. The RRT will train according to state and national standards and will be ready to deploy health, environmental and agriculture-related investigation response, mitigation and recovery services in a feed or food emergency.

    New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte said the RRT will consider food protection rapid response from a food safety, food defense and food security perspective.

    “We are working closely with our partners at the New Mexico Environment Department and New Mexico Department of Health on this project, as well as the Albuquerque Environmental Health Department,” said Witte. “Julie understands the need for safe food, and she has worked closely with federal, state and local agencies on food protection.”

    Anderson, who previously served as the food sourcing liaison for Roadrunner Food Bank, has an extensive background in retail grocery and the non-profit sector. She will ensure that partners in the private sector are included in the development of the RRT.

    For more information about the Southwest Border Food Protection and Emergency Preparedness Center, visit http://aces.nmsu.edu/preparedness/.

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

    – NMDA –


    Photo attached: Julie Anderson is the state coordinator for the Feed and Food Rapid Response Team in New Mexico. The New Mexico Department of Agriculture and Southwest Border Food Protection and Emergency Preparedness Center are leading a statewide coordination effort to establish the Feed and Food RRT.

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