Category Archives: NMDA News and Hot Topics

New Mexico Department of Agriculture launches campaign to promote local products


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)

Jan. 14, 2021

New Mexico Department of Agriculture launches campaign to promote local products

Campaign seeks to bolster agriculture industry and overall economy

Haga clic aquí para la versión en español.

LAS CRUCES – The New Mexico Department of Agriculture and its NEW MEXICO–Taste the Tradition®/Grown with Tradition® logo program have launched the “Elevate New Mexico Agriculture $5 at a Time” campaign.

This campaign was created with the purpose of encouraging New Mexicans to support locally-grown and -made agricultural products.

Also known as the $5 Challenge, the “Elevate New Mexico Agriculture $5 at a Time” campaign specifically aims to inspire every New Mexico household to spend $5 or increase spending by at least $5 on locally-grown and -made products every week. This simple goal ensures New Mexicans across the state can do their part to support New Mexico agriculture and small business.

The New Mexico Department of Agriculture and its NEW MEXICO–Taste the Tradition®/Grown with Tradition® logo program have launched the “Elevate New Mexico Agriculture $5 at a Time” campaign, encouraging New Mexicans to purchase local products and to look for this logo on packaging.

As part of the campaign, shoppers will see promotional materials in grocery stores across the state, bringing attention to the $5 Challenge and the New Mexico products themselves. The campaign includes social media promotions and contests, as well as a new website, ElevateNMAg.com featuring recipes, videos and a growing list of New Mexico producers.

“It’s especially important to encourage New Mexicans to take the challenge at a time like the present, when so many businesses are trying to recover from the effects of the COVD-19 pandemic,” said New Mexico Agriculture Secretary Jeff Witte.

Over 150 retailers in New Mexico will take part in the campaign, including both chain grocery stores and independently-owned food businesses. Locally-grown and -made products are easily identifiable with the NEW MEXICO–Taste the Tradition®/Grown with Tradition® logo. Examples of these products include salsa, pecans, dry mixes, sauces, wine, flowers, honey, beef and jam, and they may be found at many retailers throughout the state.

The New Mexico Department of Agriculture and its NEW MEXICO–Taste the Tradition®/Grown with Tradition® logo program have launched the “Elevate New Mexico Agriculture $5 at a Time” campaign, encouraging New Mexicans to purchase locally-grown and -made products, choosing from a wide variety of items.

Purchasing locally-grown and -made agricultural products not only gives consumers confidence of product quality and freshness, but it is also one of the most simple and effective ways to support New Mexico agriculture and the state economy.

“New Mexico produces iconic food products that start at the farm and ranch,” said Witte. “I encourage everyone to look for local products, taste the tradition, and help grow our local economy in your own community.”

More information about the “Elevate New Mexico Agriculture $5 at a Time” campaign may be found at ElevateNMAg.com and on Taste the Tradition’s Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.

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Pet food recall issued for product shipped to New Mexico


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

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

Jan. 13, 2021

Pet food recall issued for product shipped to New Mexico

New Mexicans encouraged to check the list of recalled products on FDA website

Haga clic aquí para la versión en español.

LAS CRUCES – The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an alert regarding a pet food recall. On Dec. 30, Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc. announced a recall of certain lots of Sportmix pet food products. On Jan. 11, Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc. expanded the recall to include additional products (not just Sportmix) that contain corn and were made in the company’s Oklahoma manufacturing plant. The recalled products may contain potentially fatal levels of aflatoxins. The FDA is working with several state departments of agriculture to investigate these products.

While the New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) is unaware of any reports of affected pets in New Mexico, recalled pet food has been identified in the state.

New Mexico Agriculture Secretary Jeff Witte said consumers in the state are encouraged to check the list of recalled products on the FDA website.

“Not only should New Mexicans check the list of products, but they should specifically check the product codes listed on the FDA website,” said Witte.

Witte also said this serves as an important reminder that pet owners should always keep the original pet food and treat packaging until the product is completely utilized.

“You should not empty pet food into a container and throw away the packaging,” he said. “You should also not just take photos of the product codes and discard the packaging, because there would be no proof that it is actually the product you have.

Aflatoxins are toxins produced by the mold Aspergillus flavus, and at high levels it can cause illness and death in pets. The toxins can be present even if there is no visible mold. The clinical signs of pets suffering from aflatoxin poisoning include:

  • Sluggishness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Jaundice (yellowish tint to the eyes, gums or skin due to liver damage)
  • Unexplained bruising or bleeding and/or
  • Diarrhea

Aflatoxins can also affect blood clotting and cause long-term liver problems and/or death in some cases. Please visit the FDA website for more information regarding Aflatoxin poisoning in pets.

Anyone who suspects their pet has been eating products contaminated with aflatoxins should do the following:

  • Immediately stop feeding the suspected food, especially if the pet is showing signs of illness.
  • Contact their veterinarian.
  • Submit a report to the FDA electronically through the Safety Reporting Portal or by calling the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in the New Mexico district at 303-236-3044. It’s most helpful to work with the pet’s veterinarian to submit its medical records as part of the report.

NMDA regulates commercial feed, including livestock feed, poultry feed, fish feed and pet/specialty pet food, at the state level through the New Mexico Commercial Feed Act.

“Rest assured that the NMDA State Chemistry Laboratory is capable of testing for aflatoxin in animal feed,” said Witte.

The NMDA State Chemist Laboratory became an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) accredited laboratory in 2019. This ISO 17025: 2017 accreditation means that the lab has met specific criteria to qualify as an accredited testing lab, within a scope that includes chemical and biological methods for testing animal feed. The accreditation demonstrates the lab’s capacity to deliver reliable results.

NMDA Feed, Seed and Fertilizer inspectors are available to assist in investigating possible toxicities and obtain official samples. The goals of the commercial feed team are consumer protection, animal protection and human health protection.

In the unfortunate circumstance in which an animal dies of suspected aflatoxin toxicity, NMDA Veterinary Diagnostic Services (VDS) is available to perform diagnostics. The NMDA VDS Division became a fully-certified ISO laboratory in 2018. Just as with the chemistry lab, the ISO 17025 certification means that the VDS lab has met specific criteria to qualify as an accredited testing lab and demonstrates the lab’s capacity to deliver reliable results. The VDS lab tests numerous animal samples, including carcasses for necropsies (animal autopsies), tissue samples and bacterial swabs, as well as bodily fluids, such as blood, serum and plasma.

“At NMDA, we are doing our best to stay on top of this issue, and we encourage New Mexicans to be vigilant about checking the FDA website for a list of products and product codes,” said Witte.

This investigation is ongoing. Please visit the FDA website for more information and updates on the recall.

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New Mexico Department of Agriculture accepting applicants for specialty crop grant program


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)

Jan. 13, 2021

New Mexico Department of Agriculture accepting applicants for specialty crop grant program

Grant program seeks to bolster specialty crop industry in New Mexico

Haga clic aquí para la versión en español.

LAS CRUCES – The New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) is accepting new proposals for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP).

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) established the grant program with the purpose of enhancing the competitiveness of specialty crops. Specialty crops are defined by the USDA as “fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops.” Through enhanced competitiveness of specialty crops, the goal is to improve food access in underserved communities and improve development of local and rural food systems.

Rows of leafy green lettuce stretch in a field of produce.
The New Mexico Department of Agriculture is accepting applications of new proposals for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program until Feb. 15. Lettuce is a prominent specialty crop in New Mexico. (Photo courtesy New Mexico Department of Agriculture.)

The program is part of the Farm Bill, and the USDA allocates funding to state departments of agriculture. Interested individuals and non-federal entities (producer groups, non-profits, trade associations and colleges/universities) are eligible to apply The deadline for all proposal applications is Monday, Feb. 15. In order to apply, interested parties must submit a project proposal to NMDA for review by a panel of staff and experts. Grant funds cannot be awarded to projects that solely benefit a particular commercial product or provide a profit to a single organization, institution or an individual.

All project proposals must prioritize either marketing, training, certification, food safety, pest control or plant health for the benefit of specialty crops.

“These are all areas that most effectively advance the competitiveness of specialty crops in New Mexico,” said New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte. “Keeping these priority areas in mind, we can provide the necessary support to projects that will fruitfully progress the specialty crop industry in our state.”

NMDA has emphasized several target outcomes for potential proposals.

“Projects that help rebuild following the COVID-19 pandemic, expand markets, connect consumers to producers, promote local agriculture or promote the growing emphasis of female and young farmers are all favorable,” said Witte.

Rows of colorful flowers blossom in an indoor greenhouse.
The New Mexico Department of Agriculture is accepting applications of new proposals for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program until Feb. 15. Horticulture is an example of a specialty crop. (Photo courtesy New Mexico Department of Agriculture.)

Before applying, applicants should consider their eligibility for federal funds, types of expenses needed, infrastructure, timeframe, potential beneficiaries, possible partners, reimbursement of expenditures and other factors. Considering all of these factors beforehand can help determine the potential need for federal aid.

Visit https://youtu.be/QS20-zFY420 to watch a video explaining this grant program.

In order for potential applicants to learn more information and gain a better understanding of the program, the following virtual outreach workshops will be held:

Thursday, Jan. 14 at 1 p.m. Mountain Time
Register in advance for this meeting at:
https://nmsu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJ0qc-ugrDwrE9GzUC39wwt4AkZ5U96gI-Y2

Tuesday. Jan. 19  at 4:30 p.m. Mountain Time
Register in advance for this meeting at:
https://nmsu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJ0tcumtrj4pH90AY1JclczFZR4z9TERrlVi

Thursday, Jan. 21 at 7 a.m. Mountain Time
Register in advance for this meeting at:
https://nmsu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYof-uqrTooE9YQNuu_wFK53MLeoNn-wSLT

If interested parties cannot attend any of the workshops, a one-on-one meeting may be scheduled by emailing specialtycrops@nmda.nmsu.edu by Thursday, Jan. 14. Emails must include the preferred date and time.

For more information about the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and the application process, please visit the ElevateNMAg website or www.nmda.nmsu.edu. Questions should be directed to specialtycrops@nmda.nmsu.edu.

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Find us at:
www.nmda.nmsu.edu or ElevateNMag.com
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Latest New Mexico Agricultural Statistics bulletin released


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

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

Dec. 10, 2020

Latest New Mexico Agricultural Statistics bulletin released

New Mexico’s value of agriculture totaled $3.44 billion in 2019

Haga clic aquí para la versión en español.

LAS CRUCES – Have you ever wondered how many acres of chile are grown in New Mexico? Are you curious about where New Mexico pecan production ranks nationally? Do you want to become more educated about New Mexico agriculture in general?

Learn all about New Mexico agriculture in the 2019 New Mexico Agricultural Statistics bulletin.

In cooperation with the New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA), the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) New Mexico Field Office released the bulletin last week.

New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte said the publication includes updated statistics that reflect the industry’s significant economic impact on the state.

“The ag stats bulletin not only reveals the impact of crops, livestock, farms and commodities,” said Witte. “It also reflects the importance of the growing value-added agriculture industry in our state.

The 2019 New Mexico Agricultural Statistics cover features pallets and boxes of colorful packaged produce in a large warehouse.
In cooperation with the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service New Mexico Field Office released the 2019 New Mexico Agricultural Statistics bulletin in early December 2020. (Photo courtesy New Mexico Department of Agriculture)

“When you see the numbers in this publication, you realize the impact of agriculture in New Mexico. The bottom line is that agriculturalists are resilient. They work through adversity to bring food to the plates of all New Mexicans, and they constantly seek new opportunities to connect directly to consumers.”

Highlights of the 2019 New Mexico bulletin include:

  • Total value of agriculture production was $3.44 billion.
  • Milk sales were $1.38 billion.
  • The state is No. 1 nationally in chile production.
  • The state is No. 1 nationally in pecan production.
  • Value of livestock production was $2.43 billion.
  • Value of hay production was $211 million.

Each year, a team of enumerators collect the data, and the USDA-NASS state and federal staff compiles the data to publish the New Mexico Agricultural Statistics bulletin.

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New Mexico agricultural producers encouraged to attend drought management virtual sessions


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

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

Nov. 24, 2020

New Mexico agricultural producers encouraged to attend drought management virtual sessions

Eastern New Mexico producers invited to Dec. 1 session

Haga clic aquí para la versión en español.

LAS CRUCES – New Mexico agricultural producers are invited to attend online sessions regarding drought management and the water outlook in the state. The Southwest Border Food Protection and Emergency Preparedness Center at New Mexico State University will host the sessions virtually.

The next session is from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1 and is intended for Eastern New Mexico producers. Experts from the following agencies will discuss forecasts, drought updates and risk management tools available:

  • National Weather Service
  • Pecos Valley Artesian Conservancy District
  • New Mexico Office of the State Engineer
  • United States Department of Agriculture–Farm Service Agency

Producers who want to join the Dec. 1 session must register in advance to receive the link.

A barren New Mexican mesa stands tall amidst the dry rangeland.
(Drought_DaveDuBois)
Drought persists in New Mexico. In an effort to assist producers in planning to mitigate drought effects, the Southwest Border Food Protection and Emergency Preparedness Center at New Mexico State University is hosting a series of virtual sessions to discuss drought management and the water outlook. The next session is Dec. 1, 2020. (Photo by Dave DuBois)

“As of October 20, nearly two-thirds of New Mexico is classified in extreme or exceptional drought,” said Kerry Jones of the National Weather Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “The record-breaking winter storm system brought much needed precipitation to a majority of the state; however, long-term precipitation deficits and a winter outlook that will tilt the odds toward a drier than normal winter calls for drought conditions to persist through at least February.”

A session for Southern and Central New Mexico producers was held Nov. 5, and a session for Northern New Mexico producers has held Nov. 10. Both sessions featured experts from the National Weather Service and United States Department of Agriculture–Farm Service Agency. The Nov. 5 session also featured experts from Elephant Butte Irrigation District and Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, while the Nov. 10 session also featured experts from the New Mexico Acequia Association and New Mexico State University’s Sustainable Agriculture Science Center at Alcalde.

Individuals who registered for the Joint Stockmen’s Convention – hosted by the New Mexico Cattle Grower’s Association – will have the opportunity to attend a virtual session for livestock producers Monday, Dec. 14. For more information about the convention, visit https://www.nmagriculture.org/.

For more information about the virtual sessions, please email mwilson@nmda.nmsu.edu, or call 575-646-5949 or 575-339-5035.

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