Cows, chiles, crops

Jan 12th, 2015

Student group learns about Southern NM agriculture

Agriculture is one of the backbones of the Mesilla Valley’s economy, so it was a natural choice for November’s Junior Leadership topic of the day.

Our young leaders helped set the agenda for the day, which began at Big Sky Dairy in Mesquite. Dairy is New Mexico’s top cash commodity, and the kids witnessed the milking process, saw where the product is Autumn Martinez of New Mexico State University talks about the research going on at NMSU’s Leyendecker Farms.stored, and learned about the cattle’s nutrition and life cycle, as well as about industry regulations.

Our next stop was La Mesa, where the young leaders took a tour of family-owned Cervantes Enterprises. They learned all about processing chile for popular products like wing and barbecue sauces and, of course, salsa.

During a chile-laced lunch at Chope’s, Elephant Butte Irrigation District’s Gary Eslinger spoke about the ag industry’s most important resource: water. Elsinger recounted the history of Elephant Butte Dam, explained how water rights in the district work, and talked about the future of the area’s water supply and its implications for local agriculture.

A trip to New Mexico State University’s Leyendecker Plant Science Research Center capped off the jam-packed day. Leyendecker conducts agricultural experiments that lead to more efficient use of resources and new and different types of crops. The group learned about irrigation methods, various types of chiles, cotton and the many uses of cotton seed.

This is just the beginning of Junior Leadership’s journey to learn more about the Mesilla Valley and some of New Mexico’s greatest treasures as they plan for their future.