Category Archives: NMDA News and Hot Topics

AG Day celebrates everything New Mexico agriculture Sept. 25


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

 NMDA Contact: Brandon Larrañaga
Communications Assistant, New Mexico Department of Agriculture
blarranaga@nmda.nmsu.edu
575-646-1864

Sept. 16, 2021

AG Day celebrates everything New Mexico agriculture Sept. 25

American Idol contestant, Las Cruces native to perform at family-friendly event

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LAS CRUCES – Do you like free entertainment, giveaways, tasty food samples, family-friendly fun and live music? If so, you won’t want to miss the 2021 AG Day.

The event takes place Saturday, Sept. 25 from 2 to 6 p.m. in the Pan American Center south parking lot and the Aggie Memorial Stadium northeast parking lot. Admission is free. Sept. 25 is also NMSU’s Homecoming celebration, with the “Aggies are back in action” theme. The homecoming parade begins at 10 a.m., and the day culminates with the NMSU vs. Hawaii football game at 6 p.m.

AG Day is hosted by the New Mexico Department of Agriculture and New Mexico State University (NMSU) College of Agricultural, Environmental and Consumer Sciences (ACES). New Mexico Beef Council is this year’s title sponsor. AG Day will feature ACES departments’ exhibits, dozens of agricultural organizations, businesses, non-profits and student organizations.

American Idol singer Dzaki Sukarno
Dzaki Sukarno is a young rising musician who has earned national recognition through his tenure on “American Idol” this spring. Sukarno headlines the entertainment for AG Day Sept. 25, 2021 at New Mexico State University. AG Day will feature family-friendly activities from 2 to 6 p.m., and admission is free. The NMSU football team takes on Hawaii following AG Day at 6 p.m. (Photo courtesy New Mexico Department of Agriculture)

The NMSU Alumni Association and AG Day organizers have joined forces to provide live entertainment. Las Cruces musician and American Idol contestant Dzaki Sukarno kicks off this year’s event at 2 p.m. Local artist LC DJ takes the stage from 4 to 6 p.m.

Sukarno is a 20-year-old NMSU student majoring in agricultural business. He has been singing, playing the guitar and practicing music nearly his entire life. This past spring, he earned the opportunity to appear on the hit reality television show “American Idol,” advancing to the second round and receiving national recognition and praise for his talents in the competition. He has a large following of fans on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, where he is known for his covers of popular country hits and singing original songs.

A mother and a child petting a pony.
A pony makes a new friend at a past year’s AG Day event. AG Day is Sept. 25, 2021 at New Mexico State University. AG Day will feature family-friendly activities from 2 to 6 p.m., and admission is free. The NMSU football team takes on Hawaii following AG Day at 6 p.m. (Photo courtesy New Mexico Department of Agriculture)

In addition to local musicians, there will be lots of fun for families to enjoy at AG Day. Groups such as the NMSU Therapeutic Riding Program and the NMSU Animal and Range Sciences department will provide pony and horse rides, along with a variety of farm animals and livestock that the public can interact with to learn more about. New Mexico Ag in the Classroom will have a fishing-pond game, while organizations such as New Mexico 4-H, NMSU Cooperative Extension Service and the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum will help educate the public about how agriculture is integrated into their communities and everyday lives. Attendees will also have the chance to sample New Mexico products, such as beef and dairy.

For more information about AG Day, visit https://www.nmda.nmsu.edu/ag-day/, email krgarcia@nmda.nmsu.edu or call 575-646-2804.

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NMDA’s State Metrology Lab receives top accuracy certification


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact: Kristie Garcia
Director of Public Affairs, New Mexico Department of Agriculture
krgarcia@nmda.nmsu.edu
575-646-2804

Sept. 8, 2021

NMDA’s State Metrology Lab receives top accuracy certification

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LAS CRUCES – People often confuse the word metrology with the word meteorology, but there is only one certified laboratory in the state dedicated to the science of measurement, or, metrology.

The State Metrology Lab is housed in the New Mexico Department of Agriculture’s main building in Las Cruces, and it’s the lab’s responsibility to ensure weights used for commerce are accurate.

The most recent Certificate of Metrological Traceability issued to NMDA’s State Metrology Laboratory includes the Mass Echelon I Scope, the highest level possible. The Mass Echelon I Scope demonstrates the lab’s ability to achieve “extra fine accuracy.” The United States Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology issued the certificate to the lab Aug. 25, and it is effective until Feb. 1, 2023.

The certificate also includes the following scopes: Mass Echelon II, Mass Echelon III, Weight Carts, Volume Gravimetric I, Volume Transfer II and Volume Transfer II LPG.

New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte said this most recent certificate demonstrates the lab’s high proficiency in providing an important service to New Mexicans. The lab is one of only eight state labs in the United States to receive the Mass Echelon I designation.

“Whether you’re a consumer or a business owner, you should have peace of mind knowing that our team is doing its best to ensure products are weighed and measured in the most accurate manner possible,” said Witte. “If weights are placed on a scale to ensure the scale is weighing products correctly, our team calibrates those weights at our metrology lab to ensure they are accurate. This could be a platform scale on a farm, a truck scale or a grocery store produce scale at the checkout counter.”

Two male employees standing in front of a display case
The most recent Certificate of Metrological Traceability issued to the New Mexico Department of Agriculture State Metrology Laboratory includes the Mass Echelon I Scope, the highest level possible. The Mass Echelon I Scope demonstrates the lab’s ability to achieve “extra fine accuracy.” The United States Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology issued the certificate to the lab Aug. 25, and it is effective until Feb. 1, 2023. NMDA State Metrology Lab Manager Clay Ivey (right) and NMDA Metrologist Ryan Rust (left) are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of the weights used throughout the state for commercial weights and measure devices. The lab’s reference weights are traceable to the International System of Units through the National Institute of Standards and Technology. (Photo courtesy New Mexico Department of Agriculture)

NMDA State Metrology Lab Manager Clay Ivey and NMDA Metrologist Ryan Rust are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of the weights used throughout the state for commercial weights and measure devices. The lab’s reference weights are traceable to the International System of Units through the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Customers may include registered repair service businesses or manufacturers from across the state. Because of its many certification scopes, customers from across the United States use the NMDA State Metrology Lab for checking the accuracy of their weights.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology issued mass and volume standards to all states in order to provide uniformity throughout the country. The State Metrology Lab maintains the Official State Standards for New Mexico, which ensures a fair and equitable marketplace for producers, sellers and consumers. All mass and volume test standards used by producers, weights and measures repair agencies, and state inspectors are certified annually in the State Metrology Lab.

For a virtual tour of the lab and to learn more about its function, watch this New Mexico Ag in the Classroom video: https://www.facebook.com/100984129944555/videos/268331331539065

For an animated video explaining the National Institute of Standards and Technology, visit https://youtu.be/2j9BGVKbzS4.

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Funding available to New Mexico organic producers and handlers


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact: Kristie Garcia
Director of Public Affairs, New Mexico Department of Agriculture
krgarcia@nmda.nmsu.edu
575-646-2804

Sept. 2, 2021

Funding available to New Mexico organic producers and handlers

Federal funding may be used for receiving or maintaining organic certification

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LAS CRUCES – The New Mexico Department of Agriculture encourages the organic industry in the state to take advantage of federal funding available to assist with the cost of receiving or maintaining organic certification.

Organic producers and handlers may apply for the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Organic Certification Cost-Share Program (OCCSP) at https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/occsp/index. The application deadline is Nov. 1.

To learn more about organic certification cost share, please visit the OCCSP webpage, visit usda.gov/organic or contact your local USDA Service Center.

Organic vegetables on display at the farmer's market
An organic operation sells produce at a farmers’ market in New Mexico. The New Mexico Department of Agriculture encourages the organic industry in the state to take advantage of federal funding available to assist with the cost of receiving or maintaining organic certification. Organic producers and handlers may apply for the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Organic Certification Cost-Share Program until Nov. 1, 2021. (Photo courtesy New Mexico Department of Agriculture)

“This is an excellent opportunity for the New Mexico organic industry, and we encourage our organic producers in the state to apply for funding,” said New Mexico Agriculture Secretary Jeff Witte. “Our organic program here at NMDA is dedicated to the ongoing education, support and promotion of all new and continuing New Mexico organic operations, and our team is here to help.”

For more information about NMDA’s Organic Program or to schedule a consultation, please visit www.nmda.nmsu.edu/organic-program.

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Battle of the Salsas and New Mexico Green Chile Cheeseburger Challenge return to 2021 State Fair


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

NMDA Contact: Brandon Larrañaga
Communications Assistant, New Mexico Department of Agriculture
blarranaga@nmda.nmsu.edu
575-646-1864

Sept. 1, 2021

Battle of the Salsas and New Mexico Green Chile Cheeseburger Challenge return to 2021 State Fair

Celebrations of favorite New Mexico foods take place Sept. 11 and Sept. 13

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ALBUQUERQUE – Clear your calendar and prepare your taste buds, because the New Mexico Department of Agriculture is excited to announce that both the Battle of the Salsas and the New Mexico Green Chile Cheeseburger Challenge are back at the 2021 New Mexico State Fair.

The Battle of the Salsas is Saturday, Sept. 11 at 1 p.m. in the Agriculture Building courtyard. This contest has become a long-standing tradition at the fair. It’s a great way to showcase one of New Mexico’s signature foods, as well as highlight the Land of Enchantment’s salsa producers.

Rachel Schneider, owner of Ol’ Gringo Chile Company, said the Battle of the Salsas is the perfect opportunity for New Mexico companies to showcase their commercially-produced salsa.

Male and female judge reviewing contestant's salsa
Fairgoers put their tasting skills to the test by sampling salsas at the 2018 New Mexico State Fair. The Battle of the Salsas and the Green Chile Cheeseburger Challenge are returning to the 2021 New Mexico State Fair. (Photo courtesy New Mexico Department of Agriculture)

“Ol’ Gringo Chile Company has been entering – and winning – top honors since 2014,” said Schneider. “The recognition that our brands (Ol’ Gringo Chile Company, Andele Restaurant and Aztec) have received over the years has helped put our little company on the map with consumers. It’s a competitive field, with more than 30 New Mexico brands of all different sizes vying for the public’s attention in past contests. We are honored to put our products next to others to earn the public’s vote. We appreciate New Mexico Department of Agriculture’s Taste the Tradition program and the New Mexico Chile Commission for presenting a platform for all of us to showcase and celebrate what we love doing.”

The first 150 people in attendance will serve as judges. Each judge will receive individually packaged salsa samples, a bag of tortilla chips and a ballot. After judges try all salsas, cast their votes and submit their ballots, the results will be tallied, and the top three winners will be announced.

Battle of the Salsas top 3 winners displayed with their trophies
The top three winning products are lauded at the 2019 Battle of the Salsas. The Battle of the Salsas and the New Mexico Green Chile Cheeseburger Challenge are returning to the 2021 New Mexico State Fair. (Photo courtesy New Mexico Department of Agriculture)

Of course, the Battle of the Salsas isn’t the only competition bringing the heat at the New Mexico State Fair this year.

The New Mexico Green Chile Cheeseburger Challenge will take place on Monday, Sept. 13 at 12 p.m. in the Agriculture Building Courtyard. This contest sees some of New Mexico’s most renowned restaurants go head-to-head in a fiery matchup as they compete for the title of best green chile cheeseburger in New Mexico.

A panel of judges consisting of prominent figures in New Mexico’s community determine which restaurant can call itself the green chile cheeseburger champion.

Competitors prepare their burgers live before they’re presented to the judges, who taste each one and judge them blindly before crowning a champion.

In addition, fairgoers are invited to watch the challenge take place before being allowed to taste and judge the burgers for themselves. Only a limited number are able to participate and are admitted at a first-come, first-serve basis. Once the judging is completed, both a Judge’s Winner and People’s Choice Winner are crowned.

Contestant preparing to serve a green chile burger
Competitors prepare mouthwatering cheeseburgers while fairgoers watch on at the 2018 New Mexico State Fair. The Battle of the Salsas and the New Mexico Green Chile Cheeseburger Challenge are returning to the 2021 New Mexico State Fair. (Photo courtesy New Mexico Department of Agriculture)

New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte said the event is a great way to gather the entire community together and celebrate the agriculture industry.

“The green chile cheeseburger is an iconic food in New Mexico,” said Witte. “The New Mexico Green Chile Cheeseburger Challenge at the New Mexico State Fair is a fantastic contest that gathers every part of the community to celebrate and enjoy some of the best food New Mexico has to offer. It’s incredible to watch restaurant owners, leaders in our community, and spirited fairgoers come together to take part in this event. Using New Mexico home-grown and -made agriculture products to make one of our favorite meals is the perfect way to celebrate some of the best parts of the New Mexico agriculture industry. Come out and be a part of the fun! See you at the fair!”

If you want to enjoy some tasty New Mexico agriculture products and put your taste buds to the test, don’t miss the Battle of the Salsas and the New Mexico Green Chile Cheeseburger Challenge. For more information about both events, visit the New Mexico State Fair website at www.statefair.exponm.com or contact the New Mexico Department of Agriculture Marketing and Development Division at 575-646-4929.

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Reds, Whites and Brews Happy Hours, Country Store celebrate local tastes and flavors


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

NMDA Contact: Brandon Larrañaga
Communications Assistant, New Mexico Department of Agriculture
blarranaga@nmda.nmsu.edu
575-646-1864

Aug. 30, 2021

Reds, Whites and Brews Happy Hours, Country Store celebrate local tastes and flavors

New Mexico food and drink products showcased at state fair

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ALBUQUERQUE – The New Mexico State Fair is the perfect place to enjoy everything great about the state, and local brews, wines, chile products, nuts, and dozens of other food and drink products are no exception. Luckily, fairgoers can enjoy all of these things this year during the Reds, Whites and Brews Happy Hours and at the Country Store.

The Reds, Whites and Brews Happy Hours return to the fairgrounds this year. A wide variety of New Mexico-made brews, wines and non-alcoholic beverages will be available to purchase. The happy hours will be held in the Agriculture Building Courtyard on the following dates and times:

Friday, Sept. 10, Saturday, Sept. 11 and Sunday, Sept. 12 from 3 to 8 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 17 and Saturday, Sept. 18 from 3 to 8 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 19 from 1 to 5 p.m.

A beer being poured from tap
One of the many featured New Mexico craft beers is served at a past Reds, Whites and Brews Happy Hour event. The Reds, Whites and Brews Happy Hours and the Country Store will both showcase local food and beverage products at the 2021 New Mexico State Fair. (Photo courtesy New Mexico Department of Agriculture)

Enjoying brews and wines at happy hours also means supporting New Mexico agriculture. According to New Mexico Brewers Guild Executive Director Leah Black, the events are a great way to promote local industries.

“We are so grateful for our New Mexico craft beer fans and their constant outpouring of love for our local breweries,” said Black. “It is so very important to support local New Mexico businesses to keep the money in our local economy. Please make sure to add one or all of our New Mexico craft beer happy hour events at the state fair to your calendars and invite your friends!”

The happy hours are made possible thanks to the collaboration of the New Mexico Brewers Guild and New Mexico Wine. The New Mexico Beef Council is also joining in the fun by providing beef hors d’oeuvres, paired with beer and wine during the Reds, Whites and Brews Happy Hours on Sept. 18 and 19.

The happy hour events aren’t the only way that New Mexico agriculture is being showcased at the state fair. The New Mexico Department of Agriculture will once again partner with the Rio Rancho Rotary Club to bring fairgoers to the Country Store.

Popcorn, sauces and other products on display.
A variety of products are displayed at the Country Store during a past year’s state fair. The Reds, Whites and Brews Happy Hours and the Country Store will both showcase local food and beverage products at the 2021 New Mexico State Fair. (Photo courtesy New Mexico Department of Agriculture)

The store provides a plethora of New Mexico homegrown and -made products, showcasing food and beverage companies from across the state. First opened in 1991, the Country Store has become a staple for fairgoers as they seek to enjoy the best products the Land of Enchantment has to offer.

The store will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the entirety of the state fair, from Thursday, Sept. 9 through Sunday, Sept. 19 in the Agriculture Building, located west of the Manuel Lujan commercial building and south of the livestock barns. Visitors will be able to purchase a wide array of local New Mexico products, including, but not limited to, chile products, chips, spices and spice mixes, baked goods, jams and jellies, candies, coffee, pecans and nuts, and much more.

NMDA and Rio Rancho Rotary Club partnership is a long-lasting collaboration that has helped promote the importance of local producers to the state’s agriculture industry for years now, said New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte.

“There are hundreds of different agriculture products that are produced all across our state that are featured at the Country Store,” said Witte. “With such a wide variety, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. I invite all fairgoers to drop by the country store and see for themselves all of the fantastic products available for purchase, and support New Mexico agriculture!”

All fairgoers are encouraged to check out both the Reds, Whites and Brews Happy Hours and the Country Store for a taste of some homegrown New Mexico flavor! For more information on both events, visit the New Mexico State Fair website at www.statefair.exponm.com or contact the NMDA Marketing and Development Division at 575-646-4929.

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