FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 18, 2016
Public Information Officer
AgriFuture Educational Institute, May 16-18, preps future farmers, ranchers
(LAS CRUCES, N.M.) – Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell, who was raised on a farm in Georgia, will focus on her “Healthy Children, Strong America” issues campaign when she speaks to a group of future and current farmers, ranchers, and others at the 2016 AgriFuture Educational Institute happening in Las Cruces, May 16-18.
Cantrell is among those who will lend their talents and tales of experience during the conference, which aims to inform, inspire, and connect those who will produce our food and fiber (cotton, wool, etc.) going forward.
Other speakers include:
- Mesilla Valley farmer, entrepreneur, and past member of the national Faces of Farming and Ranching program Jay Hill
- Ruidoso-area ranchers and entrepreneurs Laura Jean Schneider (author of a series on ranching in High Country News) and Sam Ryerson
- Former National FFA officers Paul Moya, a native New Mexican, and Wiley Bailey
The farm-to-retail sector, value-added production, and international trade will be addressed during the institute’s breakout sessions. Then attendees will board several buses to take private tours of a wide variety of agricultural businesses in and around Las Cruces.
New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) and a dozen other agencies and organizations involved in New Mexico agriculture are coordinating and hosting AgriFuture, which 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.
“The breakout sessions that allowed the young beginner producers to simply have a conversation with established producers was great,” Chad Smith, president and CEO of New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau, said of the inaugural AgriFuture event held in Albuquerque in 2014. “It allowed a platform for our future agriculturists to hear both the ups and downs of agriculture and to gain insight of the what-not-to-dos and the successes.”
People who want to attend must register here by May 6. Event updates are being posted on the Facebook event page. The registration fee for future agriculture producers is only $50 for the Institute and includes lodging at Ramada Las Cruces Hotel and Conference Center. The fee for current agriculture producers (those who can potentially mentor beginning farmers and ranchers) is only $100. While the registration fee for current producers does not include lodging, current producers are invited to book their own rooms at Ramada at the discounted rate available as part of the “AgriFuture” room block.
Institute activities are being planned by NMDA and several of the state’s agricultural organizations: Ag New Mexico Farm Credit Service, Dairy Producers of New Mexico, Farm Credit of New Mexico, New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts, New Mexico Beef Council, New Mexico Cattle Growers Association, New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau, New Mexico State University’s Cooperative Extension Service, New Mexico Wool Growers Inc., USDA-Farm Service Agency, and USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Institute activities are also being funded by these and other organizations, as well as a long list of individuals. To help sponsor the institute in any amount, please call NMDA at 575-646-5063.