New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau's Response to the Recent Designation of the Organ Mountains National Monument

5/21/2014 10:23:31 AM


Statement regarding designation of Organ Mountains National Monument

New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau represents our state’s farmers and ranchers, including those who will be negatively affected in Dona Ana County, and we oppose the designation of the Organ Mountains National Monument.  This designation is a disservice to local farmers and ranchers and will negatively affect the economy of the area as a whole. According to our polls, the consensus was that the Organ Mountains themselves deserve protection however, the additional 450,000 acres of outlying land had an economic value and provided jobs that will now be eliminated.  Our lawmakers encouraged an end-around of the legislative process and this bypass silenced the voice of the voter.

This proposal, drafted by the Wilderness Alliance, is too restrictive and locks away too much land, over 500,000 acres, from the people of Dona Ana County.  It squanders future economic development and robs our citizens of jobs at a time when the state has posted a negative job growth rate for seven consecutive months.

 Our area has a proud ranching tradition dating back to the 1500’s with the Spanish explorers.  Monument designation will jeopardize this heritage and families will be forced off of lands they have stewarded for generations. Traditional ranching activities such as dredging stock tanks, repairing wind mills and checking fences will be severely curtailed since motorized access is eliminated with the proposal.  Wildlife will incur severe die-off if ranchers are not allowed to maintain the man-made watering facilities that are such a vital part of the habitat.

The Organ Mountains Monument forever silences local input while turning control of natural resources over to the federal government which has already proven itself to be a poor steward.

Chad Smith is the CEO of New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau, an 18,000 member families organization representing the state's farmers and ranchers.