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NEW MEXICO DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

AG Day is Sept. 25, prior to NMSU homecoming game

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“Take a taste of what makes New Mexico great,” New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) Secretary Jeff Witte said as he welcomed the return of AG Day after a one-year hiatus because of Covid.

AG Day 2021, sponsored by NMDA and the NMSU College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) and billed as “a huge tailgate event,” will be held 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, prior to the kickoff of the New Mexico State University vs. University of Hawaii football game, in the Pan American Center south parking lot near Aggie Memorial Stadium.

The event will include vendor booths featuring tastings of New Mexico’s best selling and most popular products, including chile, pecans, pistachios, milk and ice cream. There will also be informational and educational booths. ACES students will show their livestock at the event, and members of the NMSU Rodeo team will conduct rodeo demonstrations. There also will be live music, a petting zoo and pony rides.

“It’s a family-friendly event,” said Witte, who has been NMDA secretary since May 2011.

Witte said Garrey Carruthers started AG Day when he became NMSU president in 2013 to recognize both NMSU – which opened as an agricultural and mechanical arts school in 1888 – and the state’s agriculture industry.

“There are a lot of good things about New Mexico agriculture that people take for granted,” Witte said. “Ag is why NMSU is here.”

Witte said the event is also a chance to cheer on the Aggie football team at its 2021 homecoming gave.

“It’s going to be a really fun day,” Witte said. “The college is really gearing up. I think it’s going to be a tremendous outpouring of support.”

“We are delighted to retake our tradition to celebrate agriculture and all that this magic word represents,” said ACES Dean Rolando Flores. “Agriculture is not only our source of food, but a tradition that has spanned generations in New Mexico. AG Day will provide the opportunity for Las Cruces to join in a day of festivities, learning and multiple activities. It is great to be back and celebrate agriculture in its true meaning.”

Any businesses interested in being an AG Day sponsor (which includes an exhibitor booth) may contact Kristie Garcia at 575-646-2804 or krgarcia@nmda.nmsu.edu.

Nonprofits and NMSU groups and clubs may register for an exhibitor booth at agday2021.eventbrite.com.

Ag stats: New Mexico leads in chile, pecan production; milk production way up

In its latest New Mexico Agricultural Statistics Bulletin, published in November 2020, the New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) reported the total value of agriculture production in the state in 2019 was $3.44 billion. After deductions for labor, production and other expenses, New Mexico’s net farm income was $1.09 billion in 2019, a 7.6 percent increase over 2018, NMDA Secretary Jeff Witte said.

New Mexico was ranked first among all states in both chile (63,075 tons) and pecan (87.8 million pounds) production. Milk sales increased to $1.38 billion in 2019, 14 percent higher than the year before.

The value of livestock production increased to $2.43 billion in 2019, the report said. Crop value increased to $706 million, up 3.6 percent from 2018.

New Mexico's inventory of all cattle and calves was 1,450,000 head as of Jan. 1, 2020, the report said. That is down 2 percent from 2019.  Milk cow inventory increased 1.5 percent to 330,000 head. Gross income from cattle and calves totaled $998 million in 2019.

The state’s sheep and lamb inventory totaled 95,000 head as of Jan. 1, 2020, down 5 percent from 2019. The value of wool produced decreased 2.44 percent to $1.281 million. The average price of wool held steady at $2.10 per pound. 

All hay harvested in New Mexico totaled 245,000 acres in 2019, down from 250,000 acres in 2018, the report said. The average price for all hay was $223 per ton. Harvested alfalfa acreage was unchanged at 160,000 acres. The price of alfalfa hay averaged $231 per ton in 2019. 

Winter wheat production in the state totaled 3.15 million bushels in 2019, double 2018 production. Harvested acreage was unchanged at 105,000. The value of production was $14.2 million, with an average price of $4.50 per bushel.