Category Archives: NMDA News and Hot Topics

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 –

NMDA to host specialty crop grant workshops Jan. 31, Feb. 7

For immediate release

Jan. 17, 2019
Media Contact: Kristie Garcia, Public Information Officer
New Mexico Department of Agriculture
575-646-2804, krgarcia@nmda.nmsu.edu

Workshops announced for New Mexico specialty crop funding

Workshops to be held in Santa Fe and Las Cruces

(Las Cruces, New Mexico) – If you have a specialty crop, you may be eligible for federal funding as part of the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP). The New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) has announced two workshops to assist growers and processors with the application process.

The workshops will be held as follows:

  • Thursday, Jan. 31 (3 to 4 p.m.) in Las Cruces at NMDA, located at 3190 South Espina
  • Thursday, Feb. 7 (8:30 to 9:30 a.m.) in Santa Fe at Sunrise Springs Spa Resort, located at 242 Los Pinos Road

Meals will not be provided at either workshop. Registration is not necessary. NMDA staff will review the program, timeline and application process in detail. Attendees are encouraged to have a project in mind so options may be discussed.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) provides grants to state departments of agriculture solely to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in either domestic or foreign markets. Increasing competitiveness may include developing local and rural food systems, improving food access in underserved communities, specialty crop research, feasibility studies, marketing projects and much more.

Specialty crops are defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. Please check the USDA website at https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/scbgp for a comprehensive list.

The funding cycle begins Sept. 29, and grant funds are disbursed on a reimbursement basis only. Funds cannot be awarded to projects that solely benefit a particular commercial product or provide a profit to a single organization, institution or individual.

Previously funded projects range from one-to-three years in length and vary in amounts from $15,000 to over $100,000.

Funds may not be used for the following:

  • Capital expenditures (equipment, buildings, land) or expenditures to make improvements to capital assets that materially increase their value or useful life
  • General purpose equipment (equipment not limited to research, scientific or other technical activities)
  • Equipment (an article of nonexpendable, tangible personal property having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost equal to or greater than $1,000)

Proposals must be submitted to NMDA via email by 5 p.m. Thursday, March 7, using the template provided by NMDA at http://www.nmda.nmsu.edu/home/divisions/marketing/ under competitive grant programs. Projects may begin Sept. 29, as long as a sub-award is in place.

For more information, please contact NMDA Marketing Specialists Felicia Frost or Sarah Hacker at specialtycrops@nmda.nmsu.edu or 575-646-4929.

Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NMDeptAg and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @NMDeptAg.

The New Mexico Department of Agriculture is hosting two workshops to assist growers and processors with the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program application process. Specialty crops are defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. (Photo courtesy New Mexico Department of Agriculture)
The New Mexico Department of Agriculture is hosting two workshops to assist growers and processors with the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program application process. Specialty crops are defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. (Photo courtesy New Mexico Department of Agriculture)

– NMDA –

New Mexico Organic Farming Conference is Feb. 15-16

For immediate release

Jan. 15, 2019
Media Contact:
Baylee Banks
New Mexico Department of Agriculture
575-646-1864, bbanks@nmda.nmsu.edu

2019 New Mexico Organic Farming Conference provides opportunity to learn and connect

Annual conference is Feb. 15 and 16

(Albuquerque, New Mexico) – Are you interested in the art of organic production? Whether you are an experienced farmer, a back-yard grower or a curious consumer, the New Mexico Organic Farming Conference will provide you with the opportunity to gain valuable knowledge on topics ranging from water conservation to new and exciting ideas in the realm of organic farming.

The Southwest’s largest organic agricultural gathering is Friday, Feb. 15 and Saturday, Feb. 16 at Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town, located at 800 Rio Grande Blvd. Northwest in Albuquerque.

The annual conference will focus on resilience and will comprise of over 30 session tracks including the following:

  • A panel on Tools and Strategies for Water Conservation and Resilience
  • Seed Saving and Variety Development for the Future in the Arid Southwest (Laurie Lange)
  • Wholesale Markets: The Next Frontier for New Mexico Growers (Kendal Chavez and Michael Venticinque)
  • A Practical Transition Toward a Functioning Soil (Dave Scott)
  • Using Cover Crops Creatively to Transition Ground to Organic (Rex Dufour)
  • A workshop on Advancing Your Soil Health

Attendees can also expect 60 exhibitor booths offering locally grown organic snacks, as well as an organic luncheon and endless networking opportunities that could help advance an interest or career in organic farming.

The keynote speaker for the conference is 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.

New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte will provide the welcome address.

Anyone interested in attending the conference should visit https://tinyurl.com/NMOFC2019 to register and to view a tentative schedule of events. Early registration is recommended as luncheon tickets are limited.

For more information, email sagefaulkner@yahoo.com, call 505-490-2822 or visit www.nmofc.org.

 

– NMDA –

NMDA is accepting livestock scale inspection requests through March 31

For immediate release

Dec. 4, 2018
Media Contact:
Kristie Garcia, Public Information Officer,
New Mexico Department of Agriculture
575-646-2804, krgarcia@nmda.nmsu.edu

NMDA is accepting 2019 livestock scale inspection requests through March 31

2019 marks first year of routine inspection program

(Las Cruces, New Mexico) – If you own a livestock scale in New Mexico, be sure to request an inspection by the New Mexico Department of Agriculture by March 31. If a request is received by March 31, or if you’re part of the Routine Livestock Scale Inspection Program, the initial inspection will be provided at no charge.

To join the Routine Livestock Scale Inspection Program, you must submit a request form by March 31. To request a form, call the NMDA Standards and Consumer Services Division at 575-646-1616 or email livestockscale@nmda.nmsu.edu. The NMDA SCS Division is responsible for enforcing New Mexico’s weights and measures laws and regulations.

The forms may be found here.

If you have already completed and returned the Routine Livestock Scale Inspection Program form and received a confirmation email, no further action is needed.

Benefits of joining the Routine Livestock Scale Inspection Program include being on NMDA’s permanent routine inspection list, not having to call annually to request an inspection and avoiding late fees.

If scale owners do not want to participate in the new program, they still have the option to call in and request every year by the March 31 deadline.

All ranches and farms must maintain current contact information with the NMDA Standards and Consumer Services Division, including names, phone numbers, mailing addresses and, most importantly, email addresses. Email will serve as the main point of communication for future updates, new information and inspector correspondence.

A fee will be assessed if the following apply:

  • The request is received after March 31
  • You need your scale inspected before the routinely scheduled inspection date
  • You request an additional inspection in 2019
  • You request a re-inspection of a scale that was previously inspected and not in compliance in 2019
  • Your scale is not ready for inspection when the inspector is in the area

The fee will be assessed based on the current “fees for weights and measures services” schedule, which may be found here.

For more information visit http://www.nmda.nmsu.edu/scs/licenseregistration/livestock-inspection. Like us on Facebook www.facebook.com/NMDeptAg and follow us on Twitter @NMDeptAg.

– NMDA –