Category Archives: NMDA News and Hot Topics

New Mexico Organic Farming Conference returns in August as four-part series


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

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

July 28, 2021

New Mexico Organic Farming Conference returns in August as four-part series

Virtual event provides opportunity for education and networking

Haga clic aquí para la versión en español.

LAS CRUCES – Interested in learning all about organic farming and the role it plays in our agriculture industry? Look no further than the 2021 New Mexico Organic Farming Conference (NMOFC), held virtually this August. Whether you’re a seasoned farmer, an up-and-coming agriculturalist or simply a consumer curious to know more, the 2021 NMOFC has something to offer everyone.

The event will cover a multitude of topics and subject areas, ranging from pollinator conservation to cooperative learning in farming; from functional marketing to no-till agriculture. The conference will take place the first four Mondays in August: Aug. 2, 9, 16 and 23. Each session will begin at 6:30 p.m.; participants will be able to join each session webinar beginning at 6 p.m.

New Mexico Organic Farming Conference logo (the O in Organic is the image of an orange; an image of a bee is near the very last E)
The New Mexico Organic Farming Conference is a way for those interested in organic farming to learn from professionals and connect with others from across the state. The 2021 conference will take place virtually in August.

“The last year has highlighted a lot of challenges for all of us, as farmers and in general,” said Sage Faulkner, New Mexico Organic Farming Conference Facilitator. “This event is an opportunity to come together again as farmers in the southwest and think about pollinators, teaching farmers together, marketing and soil health for the first four evenings in August. Everyone has so many challenges right now, but I think our farmers have tremendous opportunity to do so much for our communities, our individual health, and our soil and climate. It is a hard time to be a farmer, but also an exciting time. This virtual gathering touches on a few of these opportunities and will hopefully help farmers and gardeners.”

This conference serves as an opportunity for agriculturalists to learn more about organic farming, a field that is growing and becoming more mainstream, according to New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service Agent John Garlisch.

“Organic farming is gaining more focus throughout the U.S., including here in New Mexico,” said Garlisch. “Education and training are key factors to help farmers be both successful and sustainable in their operations. The ‘August Organic Monday’ webinar series will be an excellent training to learn from farmers and professionals in organic farming and escape from the summer heat.”

The NMOFC is an event made possible thanks to the culmination of the effort from multiple organizations. Each passing year, the conference looks to expand further and find new ways to connect the agriculture industry while sharing knowledge on organic farming practices. New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau Director of Organization Valeria Huerta said there is a communal spirit to the event.

“The organic conference is a great way for those interested in organic agriculture to gather together and learn about organic methods in our state,” said Huerta. “From conserving water to developing markets, this conference helps support organic farmers and ranchers so they can provide healthy, local food for all New Mexicans. New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau is proud to be a part of the organic conference planning committee as we advocate for those who produce our food, fiber and fuel now and for future generations.”

A woman holding a giant-sized check for $500 and a framed certificate, with two men standing on right and a woman standing on her left, also holding the check)
New Mexico Organic Farming Conference (NMOFC) 2021 session speaker Casey Holland is awarded the NMOFC Young Farmer of the Year Award at the 2020 event. The 2021 NMOFC will take place virtually in August this year.

Those interested in participating in the conference can attend all four sessions for a $50 registration fee. Registration will be open until the last session on Monday, Aug. 23. To register for the conference, please visit https://bit.ly/NMOFC2021. For more information, email sagefaulkner@yahoo.com or visit https://www.elevatenmag.com/new-mexico-organic-farming-conference/.

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Find us at:
www.nmda.nmsu.edu
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @NMDeptAg
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New Mexico Department of Agriculture verifies chile products are properly labeled


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

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

July 26, 2021

New Mexico Department of Agriculture verifies chile products are properly labeled

Verification is part of New Mexico Chile Advertising Act

Haga clic aquí para la versión en español.

LAS CRUCES – New Mexico chile is famous around the state, country and world. There’s that unmistakable aroma of fresh New Mexico green chile being roasted, and of course, the unequivocal taste of New Mexico red chile enchilada sauce. Not to mention all the value-added products, such as salsa, wine, jerky, chocolate, spices and more containing New Mexico chile.

“As New Mexicans, we’re proud of our chile, and if products are advertised as ‘New Mexico’ chile, we want to be sure that is indeed the case,” said New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte. “The New Mexico Chile Advertising Act was created through legislation, and it’s our job at the New Mexico Department of Agriculture to educate our hard-working producers in the state about the act, so they are in compliance.”

Containers of fresh green chile with chile farm in background
New Mexico Department of Agriculture Standards and Consumer Services Division staff inspects fresh and processed chile products to verify they meet the criteria set forth in the New Mexico Chile Advertising Act. For example, if fresh green chile is advertised as being “Hatch green chile,” that claim must be verified by NMDA. (Photo courtesy New Mexico Department of Agriculture)

NMDA Standards and Consumer Services Division staff inspects fresh and processed chile products to verify they meet the criteria set forth in the act. The act states that individuals cannot advertise chile peppers or products containing chile peppers as New Mexico chile unless they were grown in New Mexico. The act also stipulates that individuals cannot use the name of any city, town, county, village, pueblo, mountain, river or other geographic feature located in New Mexico in a misleading or deceptive manner that states – or reasonably implies – that the chile peppers are, or the product contains, New Mexico chile unless they were grown in New Mexico.

Currently, there are over 200 registered vendors and products, and a list may be found at www.nmda.nmsu.edu/new-mexico-chile-verified/.

Both New Mexico fresh and processed chile registration forms are available at www.nmda.nmsu.edu/new-mexico-chile-labeling-registration/. There is no fee to register. Once successfully registered with NMDA, vendors and products are eligible to enter the various chile competitions held in the state.

For more information, contact the NMDA Standards and Consumer Services Division at 575-646-1616 or nmchile@nmda.nmsu.edu.

Close-up of plate with tortilla chips and glass bowl with salsa, on wooden table
New Mexico Department of Agriculture Standards and Consumer Services Division staff inspects fresh and processed chile products to verify they meet the criteria set forth in the New Mexico Chile Advertising Act. For example, if salsa is advertised as being “New Mexico salsa,” that claim must be verified by NMDA. (Photo courtesy New Mexico Department of Agriculture)

To view the act in its entirety, visit https://www.nmda.nmsu.edu/nmda-homepage/laws-regulations/weights-measures/.

Following are some helpful links for vendors and producers already registered with NMDA as part of the New Mexico Chile Advertising Act:

The New Mexico State Fair Battle of the Salsas:
One of NMDA’s signature events at the State Fair, the 2021 Battle of the Salsas, will be held Saturday, Sept. 11 at the Agricultural Building. The first 150 attendees will receive a set of salsa samples, chips and a ballot, and will have the opportunity to sample many New Mexico salsas. More details to be announced soon. https://statefair.exponm.com/

 NMDA’s New Mexico—Taste the Tradition and New Mexico—Grown with Tradition logo program:
Through NMDA’s marketing efforts, it has been discovered that strong traditions form a common thread across all New Mexico agricultural products. Whether it’s salsa, sopapilla mix, wine, green chile beef jerky, cheese, a blanket woven with New Mexico-grown wool, plant stock grown in a local nursery, or seed stock from one of the many cattle ranches in the state, all New Mexico agricultural products have a history steeped in family traditions worth emphasizing and celebrating. This is why NMDA created the NEW MEXICO—Taste the Tradition® and —Grown with Tradition® Logo Program in 2000. While the main intent of using these logos is to promote New Mexico products and identify them as grown or made in the state, the program has become so much more. There is no fee to register for this program. https://www.elevatenmag.com/logo-program/

 The New Mexico Chile Association’s Great New Mexico Chile Taste-Off:
New Mexico chile growers are invited to participate in the Third Annual Great New Mexico Chile Taste-Off in Socorro Saturday, Sept. 18. Attendees will be able to taste – and take home – a wide selection of red and green chile from around New Mexico. Comprised of growers, processors, manufacturers and others involved in the chile industry, the New Mexico Chile Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that the chile industry remains and prospers in New Mexico. https://www.nmchiletasteoff.com/

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The New Mexico Department of Agriculture benefits the public by promoting the viability and advancement of New Mexico agriculture and affiliated industries. The agency promotes a fair marketplace, food protection, marketing, and economic development; supports the beneficial use and conservation of natural resources; and works cooperatively with the public and private sectors. For grant cycles beginning in 2019, the agency has administered over $1.5 million in funds to support agriculture initiatives in the state through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and Healthy Soil Program combined.

Find us at:
www.nmda.nmsu.edu
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @NMDeptAg
YouTube: NMDeptAg
LinkedIn: New Mexico Department of Agriculture

Agriculture industry photos sought for “NM Ag Never Stops” display at New Mexico State Fair


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

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

July 12, 2021

Agriculture industry photos sought for “NM Ag Never Stops” display at New Mexico State Fair

NMDA to highlight stories of resilience during pandemic

Haga clic aquí para la versión en español.

LAS CRUCES – The New Mexico Department of Agriculture is seeking photos from the state’s agriculture industry for its display at the New Mexico State Fair in Albuquerque in September.

Titled “NM Agriculture Never Stops,” the display will feature photos and captions of those in the agriculture and food industry who demonstrated resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Food and agriculture-related businesses are “essential” every day, and the pandemic emphasized the importance of the local food supply. The state’s Public Health Order recognized the importance of the food and agriculture sector, ensuring that its operations could continue. And New Mexico producers never stopped.

Anyone interested in submitting a photo (high resolution only) should email it to pio@nmda.nmsu.edu by Wednesday, July 28. Please include a caption of 200 words or fewer describing the photo.

Long concrete floored walkway with large displays
The New Mexico Department of Agriculture seeks photos from the state’s agriculture industry for its “NM Ag Never Stops” display at the 2021 New Mexico State Fair in Albuquerque in September. The 2019 display featured New Mexico export products. (Photo courtesy New Mexico Department of Agriculture)

New Mexico Agriculture Secretary Jeff Witte said this is the perfect opportunity to highlight the state’s agriculture industry for its effort and fortitude during the pandemic.

“During a pandemic, agriculture does not just stop,” said Witte. “People and animals still need food, crops still need to be harvested, cows need to be milked, and food still needs to be processed. New Mexico’s farmers, ranchers, processors, retailers – and the entire ag community – found ways to continue to deliver for fellow citizens. This display will allow us to tell the story of how ag never stopped.”

Several agriculture-related displays on wooden wall and standing on concrete floor
The New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) seeks photos from the state’s agriculture industry for its “NM Ag Never Stops” display at the 2021 New Mexico State Fair in Albuquerque in September. The 2018 display highlighted NMDA’s domestic and international marketing efforts. (Photo courtesy New Mexico Department of Agriculture)

The New Mexico State Fair runs Thursday, Sept. 9 through Sunday, Sept. 19. The “NM Ag Never Stops” display will be located adjacent to the Country Store in the Agriculture Building, located west of the Manuel Lujan building.

NMDA cannot guarantee all submitted photos will be used, as space is limited.

For more information, please call the NMDA Marketing Division at 575-649-4929.

Long walkway with plants and tall agriculture-related displays
The New Mexico Department of Agriculture seeks photos from the state’s agriculture industry for its “NM Ag Never Stops” display at the 2021 New Mexico State Fair in Albuquerque in September. The theme of the 2016 display was “The Next Face of New Mexico Agriculture.” (Photo courtesy New Mexico Department of Agriculture)

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The New Mexico Department of Agriculture benefits the public by promoting the viability and advancement of New Mexico agriculture and affiliated industries. The agency promotes a fair marketplace, food protection, marketing, and economic development; supports the beneficial use and conservation of natural resources; and works cooperatively with the public and private sectors. For grant cycles beginning in 2019, the agency has administered over $1.5 million in funds to support agriculture initiatives in the state through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and Healthy Soil Program combined.

Find us at:
www.nmda.nmsu.edu
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @NMDeptAg
YouTube: NMDeptAg
LinkedIn: New Mexico Department of Agriculture

NMDA recognizes exemplary employees with 2021 awards


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

NMDA Contact: Brandon Larrañaga
Communications Assistant, New Mexico Department of Agriculture
blarranaga@nmda.nmsu.edu
575-339-5011 (Kristie Garcia, Public Affairs Director)

July 2, 2021

NMDA recognizes exemplary employees with 2021 awards

Haga clic aquí para la versión en español.

LAS CRUCES – The past year has brought upon new challenges for everyone in all walks of life, including the workplace. Luckily, there were countless individuals who stepped up to the plate and worked diligently in order to ensure that agriculture-related industries prospered as much as possible. The New Mexico Department of Agriculture acknowledged and awarded some of those individuals in May.

The department issued 2021 Distinguished Service Awards to two employees that demonstrated dedication to duty, innovations, public service, human relations or other achievements. The first of these was awarded to Patricia Depner from the Agricultural Programs and Resources (APR) Division. Serving as the program coordinator for the APR Division, Patricia’s work is of critical importance and allows for the rest of the department to flourish.

New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte said Patricia has taken on a great deal of hard work during the legislative sessions in the last several years, in addition to her normal duties as program coordinator.

“Patricia stays on top of what legislation we are tracking, as well as the status of the items we’re analyzing,” said Witte. “She stays up late to provide our team with new information and works with many individuals across NMDA and within the legislative system. She is both a dedicated and unselfish member or our team.”

Smiling woman kneeling down with one hand on rock wall and one hand on back of brown and white dog
Patricia Depner was the recipient of one of the New Mexico Department of Agriculture’s 2021 Distinguished Service Awards for her dedication and unselfishness. She is a program coordinator for the Agricultural Programs and Resources Division.

Marshal Wilson from the Agricultural Production Services Division also received a 2021 Distinguished Service Award. Having only recently assumed his position of Assistant Division Director when the pandemic hit in spring of 2020, he hit the ground running.

“Marshal worked diligently and unselfishly during the pandemic,” said Witte. “The New Mexico Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Management leaned on him heavily for guidance and leadership regarding food supply. His efforts definitely did not go unnoticed.”

Man in black jacket sitting in communications room looking at computer screen with phone held to his hear
Marshal Wilson was the recipient of one of the New Mexico Department of Agriculture’s 2021 Distinguished Service Awards for his efforts and diligence at the Emergency Operations Center during the pandemic. He serves as the Assistant Division Director in the Agricultural Production Services Division.

The department also issued the Exemplary Colleague Award. In its second year of existence, the award was granted to an individual through nominations from her coworkers that recognized the quality of her work, positivity and professionalism. The 2021 Exemplary Colleague Award went to Kim Reiten, a veterinary laboratory scientist for the Veterinary Diagnostic Services (VDS) Division.

“Several of Kim’s colleagues had exceptional things to say about her,” said Witte. “Kim consistently steps up, encourages others, is supportive and understanding, is always willing to help and really cares about the quality of her work. It’s evident she wants the best for our clients at VDS.”

Smiling woman sitting outdoors on ground in camouflage clothing near camouflage backpack with trees in background
Kim Reiten was the recipient of the New Mexico Department of Agriculture’s 2021 Exemplary Colleague Award. Coworkers nominated Reiten for the quality of her work, positivity and professionalism. She is a veterinary laboratory scientist for the Veterinary Diagnostic Services Division.

Lastly, NMDA granted the Secretary Honor’s Award to an entire team that made all the difference in this last year – the Information Technology & Communications team.

“For several years, the NMDA leadership team has talked about preparing for the event that our building would not be available,” said Witte. “How would we handle finances, or communications? Would we be prepared? There was one group that ensured we were. Everyone contributed to the successful transformation toward working from home, but the ITC team truly made it happen. This special group made sure our operations could communicate, connect, access and more to what we needed to maintain operations. Led by Tony Marquez, Karen Carter, Joel Johnson, David Parada, Jerry Shakal, Shannon Smith and their students – successful teleworking was ensured for all of us.”

Group of seven people (two women, two men in back row and three men in front row) standing, facing camera and smiling
The Information Technology & Communications Team was the recipient of the New Mexico Department of Agriculture’s 2021 Secretary Honor’s Award. The team was recognized for ensuring NMDA operations had the ability to communicate, connect and access what was needed to maintain operations during the pandemic. Back row L to R: software developer Karen Carter, system analyst Joel Johnson, system analyst Shannon Smith, systems administrator Jerry Shakal. Front row L to R: software developer David Parada, computer operations manager Tony Marquez, student aide Jeremy Townsend.

Multiple employees were recognized for their various milestone anniversaries working at NMDA – some of whom have worked at the department for 40 years.

The New Mexico Department of Agriculture is proud to acknowledge all of these individuals, plus countless others who have ensured another year of success and growth within the agricultural industry for not only the department, but the entire state of New Mexico. For more information on the New Mexico Department of Agriculture and its team, visit www.nmda.nmsu.edu.

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Find us at:
www.nmda.nmsu.edu
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @NMDeptAg
YouTube: NMDeptAg
LinkedIn: New Mexico Department of Agriculture

Food, agriculture industry encouraged to attend cybersecurity webinar July 8


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact: Kristie Garcia
Director of Public Affairs, New Mexico Department of Agriculture
krgarcia@nmda.nmsu.edu
575-339-5011

July 1, 2021

Food, agriculture industry encouraged to attend cybersecurity webinar July 8

NMDA, NMSU offer webinar free of charge

Haga clic aquí para la versión en español.

LAS CRUCES – The New Mexico food and agriculture industry is encouraged to attend a cybersecurity webinar at 3 p.m. Thursday, July 8. The Southwest Border Food Protection and Emergency Preparedness Center (Center) is offering the webinar free-of-charge to New Mexico businesses.

Topics to be discussed include:

  • Current cyber threat landscape.
  • Recent cyberattacks targeting or impacting the agriculture sector.
  • Basic cyber hygiene recommendations operations can implement.

The Center is a collaboration between New Mexico State University (NMSU), the NMSU College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, the Cooperative Extension Service and the New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA).

The webinar will include a ransomware presentation from George Reeves, New Mexico’s Cybersecurity Advisor for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

Register for the webinar at https://nmsu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIvc-6gqjIiHtwClgpiCXluZXcHybRFQVRg.

red and white cybersecurity graphic
The New Mexico food and agriculture industry is encouraged to attend a cybersecurity webinar at 3 p.m. Thursday, July 8. The New Mexico State University Southwest Border Food Protection and Emergency Preparedness Center is offering the webinar free-of-charge to New Mexico businesses. (Image credit: Dreamstime)

New Mexico Agriculture Secretary Jeff Witte said it’s more important now than ever to be vigilant when it comes to cybersecurity.

“We rely on cyber connectivity more today than we realize – from the phones in our pockets, to the watches on our wrists, to the complex computer systems that guide our business transactions on a daily basis,” said Witte. “Unfortunately, we have recently seen what bad actors are capable of doing, and the food industry has not been immune to these cyberattacks. It’s our priority at NMDA and at the NMSU Southwest Border Food Protection and Emergency Preparedness Center to inform and educate the industry in order to avoid any damage or disruptions to businesses or the food supply chain from cyber events. We must all take appropriate steps to protect this critical infrastructure in our own businesses and in our personal lives.”

For more information about the webinar, please contact Marshal Wilson, NMDA’s Agricultural Production Services Assistant Division Director and co-director of the Center. mwilson@nmda.nmsu.edu or 575-339-5035.

To learn more about the Southwest Border Food Protection and Emergency Preparedness Center visit https://aces.nmsu.edu/preparedness/.

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The New Mexico Department of Agriculture benefits the public by promoting the viability and advancement of New Mexico agriculture and affiliated industries. The agency promotes a fair marketplace, food protection, marketing, and economic development; supports the beneficial use and conservation of natural resources; and works cooperatively with the public and private sectors. For grant cycles beginning in 2019, the agency has administered over $1.5 million in funds to support agriculture initiatives in the state through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and Healthy Soil Program combined.

Find us at:
www.nmda.nmsu.edu
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @NMDeptAg
YouTube: NMDeptAg
LinkedIn: New Mexico Department of Agriculture