Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Alisa Boswell
Portales managing editor 

Ag secretary comes to Expo


March 22, 2017

By Alisa Boswell

Managing editor

[email protected]

PORTALES — New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte is taking advantage of this year’s Portales Ag Expo by reaching out to his local constituents.

Witte will be at the Jake Lopez Community Center at 3 p.m. Friday for a “listening session” to hear concerns from local farmers.

“It’s really an opportunity to go out and talk to local folks and get to know them and talk about ag issues,” Witte said. “We want to make sure we hear from current New Mexico farmers what’s important with the next farm bill and what needs to be cut and what needs to be added.”

Witte said the New Mexico State University extension program continues to evolve and they are attending a lot of constituent meetings to make sure they are well informed, so NMSU officials will also be joining him for the session.

“It’s just a good opportunity to hear from constituents and what’s important to them,” he said. “I think probably the biggest issue right now is the farm bill and what is going to happen with the 2018 farm bill ... Another things that’s on everyone’s mind these days is farm labor and how that is going to evolve over the next few years with immigration reform and farm labor reform.”

And of course, water is another topic usually fresh in farmers’ minds.

“The challenge we have in New Mexico with limited water is you want to get the biggest return with limited water,” Witte said. “I haven’t been to Ag Expo in a few years, so I think it’s going to be a great opportunity to check it out and visit with all the folks over there.”

Some new programs are coming to Ag Expo on Saturday with a new home economist class on cake baking and a landscaping class about cloning vegetables, according to Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Karl Terry.

“We have a good variety of vendors coming,” he said, adding that tractor games will be scheduled along with the tractor parades, such as one that entails a tractor trying to balance a beam.

“That’s not easy on an old tractor where you have a clutch and old torque,” Terry said, laughing. “Holding it in March, we’ve been able to do the games.”

And the mounted shooting demonstration will be returning, along with the tumbleweed dog trials, Terry said.

“They bring a big group from around the region to compete in those trials,” he added.

And there will be two to three cooks at the Chuck Wagon this year rather than just one, and of course, don’t forget the 25th anniversary celebration being held at noon Friday in conjunction with the pork chop luncheon, Terry said.

“I think it’s (Ag Expo) a staple of Portales now, and it obviously keeps an awareness of ag,” said Clovis economic developer Chase Gentry, who will be attending the anniversary celebration. “It puts Portales and the whole region on the map.”


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