Category Archives: NMDA News and Hot Topics

Shipping New Mexico chile to California? You’d better label it


(LAS CRUCES, N.M.) – New Mexicans feeling generous enough to share their fresh New Mexico chile peppers with friends and family are being advised on how to label the packages they intend to mail to California in order to ensure prompt delivery.

Every year New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) receives notifications that shipments of fresh chile have been delayed due to improperly labeled packages.

California Department of Food and Agriculture staff routinely inspect shipments at the post office, FedEx stores, UPS stores, and the like in order to protect against plant pests and disease that could harm that state’s agricultural sector.  Although fresh New Mexico chile peppers are not considered such a threat, packages that aren’t properly labeled are subject to delays if inspectors have to open them to determine their contents.

To minimize delays in the delivery of fresh New Mexico chile peppers to California, New Mexicans should clearly print the following on the outside of their packages:

          Contents: Pungent Capsicum Peppers
          Origin: New Mexico

“Adding the label is a simple step that will go a long way in ensuring that your out-of-state family and friends get their fix of fresh New Mexico chile,“ New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte said.

Witte added that New Mexico chile growers are increasingly shipping their chile into states such as California where it’s sold at grocery stores, at restaurants for seasonal dishes, and at festivals to celebrate its long-awaited arrival.  Through its decade-old “Get Your Fix” campaign, NMDA has helped the New Mexico’s chile growers and shippers to develop new markets for their gourmet peppers as well as to expand existing markets.

For questions regarding shipments of chile or other New Mexico products to other states, contact NMDA at 575-646-3207.

Sept. 7 marks Agriculture Day at the NMSU Aggies home opener against the Univ. of Minn. Gophers


Join us for AGRICULTURE DAY!

Come out on September 7, 2013, before your NMSU Aggies take on the University of Minnesota Gophers at the Aggies’ first home football game of the season.  The AGRICULTURE DAY fun will take place in the area just north of Aggie Memorial Stadium from 2 p.m. until kickoff.

Just walk up and down Payne Street and you’ll find a street fair environment featuring AGRICULTURE DAY fun for the whole family:

  • Enjoy plenty of kids’ activities
  • Sample some tasty New Mexico foods
  • Get your picture with El Whoppo, the giant New Mexico green chile cheeseburger
  • Talk with farmers and ranchers and others in New Mexico agriculture
  • And much more!

Come hungry because you’ll find plenty of New Mexico foods – including our state’s famous roasted green chile – at the concessions stand inside Aggie Memorial Stadium.

AGRICULTURE DAY events, as well as the game itself, are sponsored by organizations and companies involved in New Mexico agriculture.

Three cheers for New Mexico agriculture and for the NMSU Aggies as they look to win their home game of the season.  We’ll see you at AGRICULTURE DAY!

New Mexico sees growth in farmers’ markets

Markets are in full swing; National Farmers’ Market Week is Aug. 4-10

(LAS CRUCES, N.M.) – When you look at a digital map of farmers’ markets across New Mexico, one thing stands out: there are so many markets that trying to count them on a computer screen is a bit dizzying.

Seventy-five markets are operational across the state; seven of them opened between last season and this one.  Two decades ago, you were lucky to live near one of the approximately 20 markets that existed in the state at that time.

“We’ve seen incredible growth over the years,” said Denise Miller, executive director of the New Mexico Farmers’ Marketing Association (NMFMA), which serves as a centralized resource center for markets across the state.  “That growth isn’t just in the number of markets but also in the variety of fresh produce and other items you can find at any given market.”

The list of fresh items you’ll find at the market this time of year is extensive: chile, corn, apples, kale, grapes, and tomatoes…eggs, honey, meat and goat cheese, to name a few.  And precisely because the time is ripe for the picking, the week of Aug. 4-10 has been declared National Farmers Market Week in New Mexico and across the country.

“If you’re never been to your local farmers’ market, now’s the time to go,” said New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte.  “Go for the fresh, local food – stay for the rich conversations you’ll have with the people who actually produced it.”

Another factor feeding into the growth of New Mexico farmers’ markets is the increasing convenience of buying items from them.  Several markets have begun to accept credit and debit cards, while most markets now accept benefits related to programs such as the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program and the Senior Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

For more information – including the address, day(s), and hours of the market(s) near you – please visit the NMFMA’s website at www.farmersmarketsnm.org.

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Retired NMDA employee honored with national lifetime achievement award


(LAS CRUCES, N.M.) – A longtime employee of New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) has been honored at the national level for a lifetime’s worth of contributions to the field of weights and measures. That field ensures marketplace fairness through the certification of devices used to weigh and measure products marked for sale – everything from the produce you buy at the grocery store to the fuel you buy at the gas station.

Dr. Charles Greene, now retired, was presented the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) earlier this month.  In his 20 years at NMDA, Dr. Greene oversaw some major changes: from modernizing the state’s Weights and Measures Law, to increasing the number of inspectors in order to implement a full-service weights and measures enforcement program, to adding petroleum measurement and quality standards to the long list of services NMDA provides to New Mexicans.  He retired in 1991.

“Dr. Greene’s leadership of NMDA’s Weights and Measures program helped to ensure the cornerstone of commerce: a fair marketplace for both buyer and seller,” New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte said.  “A fair marketplace is one in which customers get what they pay for – and one in which the sellers themselves aren’t unwittingly shorting themselves on the sale.”

Examples of the work done by NMDA’s Weights and Measures program include:

  • Certifying scales to ensure they accurately weigh meat and produce;
  • Certifying scales to ensure they accurately weigh livestock; and
  • Certifying fuel pumps to ensure they accurately measure gasoline and diesel.

“The next time you’re at the grocery store or the gas station, look and you’ll find a round sticker showing that the device – whether it’s a scale or a fuel pump – has been certified by NMDA,” New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte said.  “This is the kind of service that enhances consumer confidence and enables New Mexico businesses to compete fairly in the state and elsewhere – both of which go a long way in strengthening New Mexico’s economy.”

The National Institute of Standards and Technology estimates that “sales of products or services impacted by weights and measures laws in the United States represent approximately 50 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product.”

For more information on NMDA’s Weights and Measures program, please visit the homepage for NMDA’s Standards and Consumer Services Division.

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