March 2018 New Mexico Farm & Ranch

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New Mexico Farm & Ranch

2018 Legislative Wrap Up

The Farm Bill and New Mexico

Organic Farmer of the Year March 2018



Stay in the Game As of late, my life outside of farming has been consumed by the 30-day NM Legislative Session. However, in my spare time, I have managed to squeeze in some of the highlights of the 2018 Winter Olympics. Being a proud native of the New Mexico drylands, many of the Winter Olympic events are completely foreign to me. Sure, I’ve done some skiing, but a successful run to me is making it to the bottom without falling. I can’t imagine racing the clock or having to stop and shoot targets. I don’t even pretend to understand the scoring intricacies of subjective events like figure skating or the snowboarding halfpipe—events where the difference between victorious gold and going home empty handed is determined by someone’s opinion.

of our own that are worthy of the podium. The Women’s Leadership Committee is to be commended for their contribution of over $1,000 worth of groceries to the Ronald McDonald House, which affects families throughout the entire state of NM. I salute all members who helped make the 2018 AgFest a great success. Additionally, we had a notable turnout of legislators who attended the breakfast in their honor. As a final note, we partnered with other Ag groups in the state in providing a meal for all legislators and staff in the Round House Rotunda. It’s events like these that help legislators appreciate the toil of New Mexican farmers and ranchers.

“Just because the Session has ended, it

Defending the interest of rural NM is an uphill battle, but just as athletes train every day, the talented staff and board of the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau remain vigilant in our quest to support agriculture. Most importantly, the athletes have a tremendous support group from coaches, family and friends. The NMFLB staff and board rely upon the support and input from each and every one of you throughout the entire year. Just because the Session has ended, it doesn’t mean we can take a break. It is imperative that we continue to stay in touch with our legislators and connect with the leaders in our own community and counties. Don’t miss a chance to stay in the game.

doesn’t mean we can take a break.”

With sports on the mind, I find myself comparing the complexities of Olympic events to the NM Legislature, a game of its own with a 30-day time clock, ever-changing rules and fierce competition. Regardless of whether an amateur or seasoned professional, participants can see handcrafted legislation smashed in a mere committee meeting. We see bills, championed through tireless work hours, survive bouts in both the House and Senate only to become null and void when they cannot secure the final signature necessary for victory. As advocates of agriculture, we cannot solely share our point of view, we must help lawmakers, our own version of Olympic judges, understand its importance. While the Legislature was in session, we had some gold medal events Page 2

New Mexico Farm & Ranch

Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly. March 2018



Building on NAFTA’s Success Agriculture will be keeping a close eye on the next rounds of the North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiation this month in Mexico City and Washington, D.C. For farmers and ranchers across the country, spring is a time of planning, planting and praying for a fruitful year. But if our leading export markets hang in the balance, a cloud of uncertainty hangs over a time that usually is filled with optimism and hope. The impact of U.S. withdrawal from NAFTA could be devastating for farms and ranches of all sizes. Robust trade agreements boost farm prices and help sustain farms and ranches. Twenty-five percent of American-grown products go to customers outside our borders, and in 2017 nearly a third of those exports went to our North American neighbors. Mexico and Canada are top export markets for all types of commodities—from grains to dairy, from poultry and livestock to fresh fruits and vegetables. NAFTA has been a real success story for U.S. agriculture, and it continues to be. Last year, ag exports to Canada and Mexico topped $39 billion—that’s $1 billion higher than in 2016.

from changes in the market. Companies that were once pillars of their industries have crumbled when they couldn’t keep up with the changes taking place around them. For example, there’s no longer a Woolworth’s in every downtown. You can’t get a phone plan with MCI, and you can’t book a world-class flight on Pan-Am. But folks still have plenty of means to shop, communicate and travel. In the same way we’ve adjusted and taken our business elsewhere, our customers in Mexico and Canada will go to other countries for their soybeans, wheat, apples, poultry, and much more, if trade with us no longer remains a good deal all around. That’s not to say that we have a perfect trade agreement with NAFTA. We’ve seen a lot of change in the 20-plus years since it was signed, and agriculture would like to see modernizations that improve on the strong trade partnership with our neighbors. All our trade agreements must be based on scientific standards that advance innovation in our industry. Free trade involves give and take, and U.S. agriculture can’t do all the giving. That’s why we’re looking to these NAFTA talks to reduce tariffs and modernize sanitary rules. We have seen this kind of progress in other trade talks like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and are confident we can get there again.

“Last year ag exports to Canada and Mexico topped $39 billion...”

While NAFTA has a track record of working for agriculture, we can’t be certain that we’ll keep those customers if we back out of the agreement or lose the gains we’ve made. You don’t have to look far to see how markets adjust when better deals come along. No company or industry is exempt Page 3

New Mexico Farm & Ranch

In the middle of these negotiations, I am reminded of a Bible verse in Ecclesiastes: “The race is not to the swift see “NAFTA” pg 10 March 2018




boasts 24,600 farms that cover 43,200,000 acres. In 2015, sales of farm and ranch products contributed $3.3 billion to the state’s economy. New Mexico

The farm bill touches everyone in New Mexico in numerous ways. It is targeted to farmers and ranchers, used to support infrastructure and economic development in rural communities, incentivizes maintenance of good conservation practices and helps provide access to food for those less fortunate and breakfasts and lunches for school children.

The farm bill provides a safety net to farmers and ranchers during difficult times. From 2009 to 2015, USDA invested more than $975 million in New Mexico for programs that provide access to credit, support a strong farm safety net, and promote new markets for farm and ranch products. In 2016, New Mexico farmers and ranchers received: 

in Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs that provide revenue and price loss payments to eligible producers; $14,401,970 in commodity loans to eligible producers who use their crops as collateral; $7,692,632

in Cotton Ginning Cost-Share Program payments to provide cost-share assistance payments to cotton producers; $587,433 in Loan Deficiency Payments to help producers who agree to forgo a commodity loan in return for a payment on the eligible commodity. $2,196,166

The farm bill provides credit to beginning farmers and ranchers and to those who are temporarily unable to obtain private or commercial credit elsewhere. In 2016, New Mexico received $42 million in farm loans including: 

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from the guaranteed loan program. USDA guarantees loans made by conventional ag lenders for up to 95% of any loss. In 2016, USDA guaranteed 35


New Mexico Farm & Ranch

farm ownership loans, 18 operating loans, 21 loans to beginning farmers and 8 guaranteed loans targeted to underserved producers; March 2018

in direct loan programs that are provided to those unable to obtain guaranteed loans. In 2016, USDA funded 66 farm ownership loans and 105 operating loans that included 29 youth loans, 175 direct loans to beginning farmers and 183 $18,288,810

direct loans targeted to underserved producers; and $2,764,450 in microloans which are direct farm ownership and operating loans designed to meet the needs of smaller, nontraditional and niche type operations. In 2016, 99 microloans were made.

The farm bill provides funding for conservation programs to help farmers and ranchers keep land in production while improving the condition of natural resources. From 2009 to 2015, USDA invested $544 million to conserve and protect New Mexico’s land, water and air resources. In 2015, New Mexico received conservation assistance including:  

in Environmental Quality Incentive Payments to provide financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers to plan and implement conservation practices that improve their land; $28.2 million in Conservation Stewardship Program payments that supports ongoing stewardship of private agricultural lands by providing payments and technical assistance for maintaining and enhancing natural resources; and $16.6 million to enroll 435,521 acres in Conservation Reserve Program to remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and plant species that will improve environmental health and quality of the soil. $27.2 million

The farm bill helps fund a portion of the crop insurance programs purchased by farmers to provide a safety net for times of price and weather disasters. In 2015, 68% of all eligible acres were insured under the crop insurance program. In New Mexico, this included:    

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acres of cropland; 2.2 million acres were enrolled in the Pasture, Rangeland and Forest program and $1.3 million in indemnities were paid; $15.7 million in government-paid premium discounts to make the crop insurance policies more affordable for producers; and $10.9 million in crop insurance indemnities. 2.7 million

New Mexico Farm & Ranch

March 2018

Legislative Wrap Up

By Matt Gonzales, Director of Governmental Affairs The 2018 Legislative Session is over and in the books. This was about as productive of a session as one could ask for given that it was a 30-day budget session. The “bad” bills we were tracking were successfully killed in committees. We didn’t get all of the “good” bills we were advocating for but we did get several initiatives through that are big wins for New Mexico’s agricultural community. The bills that NMF&LB supported that made it to the Governor’s desk still need her signature to make them law. Please call her office at 505-476-2200 and ask the Governor to sign these important bills! A breakdown of the legislation NMF&LB was tracking this session can be found below. Legislation: HB214: Pecan Buyers Licensure Act sponsored by Rep. Yvette Herrell, Rep. Bill Gomez and Rep. Jim Townsend and SB217: (Same Title) sponsored by Sen. Cliff Pirtle and Sen. George Munoz create the Pecan Buyers Licensure Act which directs the New Mexico Department of Agriculture to establish an in-shell pecan licensing and inspection program directed at buyers of in-shell pecans; adopt rules to implement this act; collect a reasonable annual licensure fee, established in rule, not to exceed $500. NMF&LB supports these bills. The Senate heard all bills through item 41 on their floor calendar. Unfortunately, HB214 was item #44 on the list and died when the Senate adjourned last Thursday at noon. Fortunately, SB217 was passed by the House of Representatives at 10pm last Thursday night. It passed the House on a vote 63-1. SB217 now awaits the Governor’s consideration. Please call her office and ask her sign SB217! HB227: Soil & Water Conservation District Levies sponsored by Rep. Debbie Rodella and SB169 (Same Title) sponsored by Sen. Carroll Leavell amend the Soil and Water Conservation District Act to increase the amount of potential levy that may be assessed by a district from $1 to $5 on each $1,000 of net taxable value, as the term is defined in the Property Tax Code. Also eliminates the 10-year limit that is currently imposed on a levy. With elimination of the 10-year period, requirements related to an extension of the original authorized period are also stricken from the act. NMF&LB support these bills. HB227 and SB169 passed both chambers and now both bills are on the governor’s desk awaiting her consideration. Please call the Governor’s office and ask her to sign HB227 & SB169. HB161: Agriculture & Vegetable Seed Preemption sponsored by Rep. Bill Rehm & Rep. Jimmy Hall prohibits political subdivisions from adopting or continuing in effect any ordinance, rule, regulation or statute regulating agricultural or vegetable seeds, including cultivation, harvesting, sale, testing, transporting, possessing and 15 other uses. This law maintains private property rights. NMF&LB believes it should be the right of the farmer to decide what crops make sense for their business and the tools (tools approved by the federal and state governments) to use to cultivate those crops. NMF&LB supports this bill. HB161 was tabled in House Local Governments, Elections, Land Grants and Cultural Affairs Committee on a party-line vote. The bill was opposed by nearly every tribe in New Mexico. The bill sponsor as well as the expert witness gave several reasons why HB161 would not impact tribes, but the plea fell on deaf ears. NMF&LB will work on this issue during the interim with hopes of bringing a committee supported bill this next 60-day legislative session. HB163: Unimproved Land Property Tax Valuation sponsored by Rep. Nate Gentry, Rep. Bobby Gonzales, Sen. Peter Wirth and Sen. Steve Neville creates a new “conservation” schedule. For property taxation purposes, unimproved land used primarily to conserve the land under a qualified conservation management plan shall be valued at five percent of its current continued on pg 8 Page 6

New Mexico Farm & Ranch

March 2018

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New Mexico Farm & Ranch

March 2018

continued from pg 6 and correct value. Eligibility for this method of valuation is limited to unimproved land (1) valued in the previous year as agricultural land but which is no longer eligible for that status and (2) is either greater than 10 acres or, if less, has water rights for agricultural purposes. NMF&LB opposes this bill. HB163 was tabled in House Local Government, Elections, Land Grants & Cultural Affairs Committee. NMF&LB fought hard against this bill both in this session and the last (SB350). We do expect to see this legislation comeback next session. We will work with other groups who also opposed the bill to come up with our own legislation (that everyone can live with if adopted). We should expect a new governor to be open to this idea so it’s imperative that industry be proactive on this topic in the interim. HB184: Eradication of Pecan Weevil sponsored by Rep. Bill Gomez & Rep. Jim Townsend and SB160: (Same Title) sponsored by Sen. Carroll Leavell appropriate $250,000 (GF) to NMSU’s Board of Regents for use in FY2019 and subsequent fiscal years for the Department of Agriculture to undertake activities directed at pecan weevil detection, eradication and mitigation. Pecans are one of New Mexico’s top cash crops year after year. New Mexico is one of the largest pecan producers in the country, second only to Georgia. More than 2000 farms in the state are involved in commercial production of pecans. NMF&LB feels it’s imperative to support the efforts of NMDA to eradicate the pecan weevil in New Mexico. NMF&LB support these bills. Both bills passed out of their first committees and were tabled in their second committees once the $250,000 appropriation was included in the budget. NMF&LB worked with the House Appropriations and Finance Committee to get the funding added into HB2 and we were successful in doing so. Now the Governor must sign HB2, but can still line-item veto our weevil eradication funding. We encourage you to call the Governor’s office and urge her to support funding for eradication efforts. SJR12: Right to Hunt & Fish, CA sponsored by Sen. George Munoz proposes an amendment to Article 2 of the Constitution of New Mexico, purportedly to protect the right of the residents to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife lawfully, but also appears to be an attempt to prohibit preservation efforts from ever taking place. The amendment proposed by this resolution shall be submitted to the voters for their approval or rejection at the next general election or at any special election prior to that date that may be called for that purpose. NMF&LB supports this joint resolution. SJR12 was not heard in Senate Rules Committee. SJM5: Wild Horse & Burro Management sponsored by Sen. Pat Woods requests that the U.S. Department of the Interior follow the federal Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, and utilize all management tools provided in the act, including unrestricted sale and humane euthanasia of excess animals, to achieve ecologically sustainable wild horse and burro populations. NMF&LB supports this joint memorial. SJM5 did not receive a hearing in Senate Rules Committee. SB226: Motor Vehicle Tax to Road Fund sponsored by Sen. Carroll Leavell and Sen. John Arthur Smith. While NMF&LB did not have a position on legislation (funding) to address the Carlsbad Brine Well issue, we did talk with legislators about the importance of finding some solutions to address what is seen by many as an inevitable collapse of the brine well. If the brine well were to collapse, it would have a devastating impact on the Carlsbad Irrigation District and the agriculture producers in the district; cutting off water resources to most if not all producers in the area. Several bills to address the issue were all killed in committee early in the session, but legislators were able to work a deal that in total will send about $45 million to Carlsbad to start remediation of the well. Thank you for engaging in this legislative session. Those that show up are the voices that get heard and the ones influencing our future. Every phone call, email, testimony in committee, and even casual conversations with friends about important issues affecting New Mexico agriculture made a difference. As your lobbyist, it is a privilege to represent you at the Roundhouse knowing that the work you put in daily provides food, fuel, and fiber for our local communities, our nation, and the world. This session may be over, but our work is not. We must continue to engage with neighbors, legislators and other stakeholders throughout the year. Again, thank your help this session. I look forward to continuing to work with you to strengthen New Mexico’s agriculture industry and rural communities. Cover photo: Brothers Tanner Anderson (left) and Collin (right) with AFBF President Zippy Duvall at the YF&R National Conference in Reno. Page 8

New Mexico Farm & Ranch

March 2018

ATTENTION BEEF PRODUCERS The New Mexico Beef Council’s FY 2016-2017 Annual Report is available. Please visit the NMBC website @, call 505-841-9407, or email to request your copy of the report.

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New Mexico Farm & Ranch

March 2018

Sean Ludden - Organic Farmer of the Year Congratulations to Sean Ludden who was named the Young Organic Farmer of the Year at the recently held New Mexico Organic Conference. Sean and his wife Mimi and daughter Maya own Nepantla Farms where they grow medicinal herbs for local herbalists and culinary herbs for local restaurants. Ludden is also the Farm Manager at Rio Grande Community Farm, where he oversees seed saving projects, habitat restoration, and advocacy of organic and regenerative farming practices. Rio Grande Community Farm, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, has been operating on leased City of Albuquerque Open Space for twenty years and is New Mexico’s oldest and largest community garden. The farm makes use of land saved from speculative deFrom left to right: Fred Porter FBFS Agent, Mimi, Sean and Maya Ludvelopment to provide education, community garden den, and Chad Smith, NMF&LB CEO. access, wildlife habitat, and scenic beauty for the Photo courtesy of Jane Moorman, NMSU Cooperative Extension Service. Middle Rio Grande Valley. In 2016, to expand the farm’s educational offerings, we developed the Las Huertas Farmer Training Program, which provides technical training in organic and regenerative agriculture for the next generation of aspiring farmers in the Albuquerque area. “We’re proud to honor Sean for the work he does to engage a new generation of farmers,” said Chad Smith.

America’s farmers and ranchers are swift, strong, wise and learned. There’s nothing we can’t do, including feed our nation and much of the world. It’s up to us to make the right decisions to ensure we make the most of the opportunities we have. We must remain in NAFTA and keep working to make it better, so America’s farmers and ranchers can continue the export growth we’ve seen in our closest markets. Page 10

New Mexico Farm & Ranch

TO feed our future


No matter how good a job we do in American agriculture, winning the “race” is not guaranteed. We are not promised success. But all of us get our time and chance to be successful, if we are smart enough to see the opportunity in front of us and act on it. If the U.S. pulls out of NAFTA, our competitors around the world certainly will see their opportunity to swallow up the markets we would leave behind for the taking.


“NAFTA” from pg 3 or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.” I often look to God’s Word for guidance on all kinds of issues. It’s amazing how much wisdom in the Bible applies to our business and professional lives, as well as our spiritual lives.

04.14.2018 Las Cruces, NM NMF&LB Foundation Dinner Benefiting NMAITCMarch 2018

Less algorithm.

More agent.

We treat people like people. Sure, computers can be helpful, but when it comes to creating a customized plan for your future, nothing can really replace a human. Together, we’ll create a plan that’s right for you, not anyone else.

It’s your future. Let’s protect it.



Farm Bureau Property & Casualty Insurance Company,* Western Agricultural Insurance Company,* Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company*/West Des Moines, IA. *Company providers of Farm Bureau Financial Services M192 (2-18)

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New Mexico Farm & Ranch

March 2018

Non-profit Organization U.S. POSTAGE PAID Las Cruces, N.M. Permit No.2093

2220 N. Telshor Las Cruces, NM 88011


NEW MEXICO FARM & LIVESTOCK BUREAU Since 1917 . . . a Leader in New Mexico

ISSN 0028-6192 2220 N. TELSHOR BLVD. • LAS CRUCES, NM 88011 575.532.4700 • FAX: 575.532.4710 PUBLISHER: New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau New Mexico Farm & Ranch is published monthly. Yearly subscription is $24.00. New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau members receive a complimentary subscription with yearly dues. U.S. Postage PAID, bulk rate, PERMIT #31, Las Cruces, NM 88001. FORWARDING/RETURN POSTAGE GUARANTEED, ADDRESS CORRECTION REQUESTED. OFFICERS Craig Ogden President, Loving Larry Reagan 1st Vice President, Ft. Sumner

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Burl Brown, Des Moines Bud Deerman, La Mesa Jim Ellett, Hope Duane Frost, Claunch Gary Hathorn, Flora Vista Leon Hemann, McDonald Jay Hill, Mesilla Park George Jackson, Lordsburg John Jackson, Lake Arthur Deena Kinman, Elida Matt Lansford, Clovis Danielle Lowry, Albuquerque Donald Martinez, El Rito Tommy Ortiz, Las Vegas Troy Sauble, Maxwell Casey Spradley, Cuba John Sweetser, Deming Tom Wilton, Ft. Sumner Anita Hand, Chair Women’s Leadership Committee Andy Ellett, Chair Young Farmer & Rancher Committee

REGIONAL DIRECTORS Tanner Anderson, Portales Valerie Huerta, Santa Cruz Benjie Segovia, Las Cruces Matthew Gonzales Director of Government Affairs Traci Curry Southern Director, Ag in the Classroom Francisco Hatay Marketing Coordinator Dalene Hodnett Director of Communications and Media Relations Cecilia Diaz-Johnson Bookkeeper Theresa Widner Director of Membership Services

Boe Lopez 2nd Vice President, Springer Chad Smith Chief Executive Officer Page 12

New Mexico Farm & Ranch

March 2018

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