So this has been a good couple of weeks for New Mexico’s farmers and ranchers. The New Mexico Game Commission unanimously approved the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish's proposed Bear and Cougar Rule which increases harvest limits for these predators. That makes life easier for ranchers who have had to deal with a growing number of threats to their herds.
Food producers on the east side were relieved when a federal judge invalidated the Endangered Species Act protections for the lesser prairie chicken. As wildlife biologists told us repeatedly, the lesser prairie chicken population decline was because of the drought. Now the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies says that due to plentiful spring rains, their numbers are up 25 percent this year.
And for the good news trifecta, we have the recent decision by the Supreme Court to take up the Workers Comp issue. The Appeals Court had ruled that not only did workers comp extend to agricultural workers, it was also retroactive to March of 2012. What a disaster for our state’s food producers. The Supreme Court could have let that ruling stand, making it the law of the land, but fortunately they will be reviewing it this fall. Your letters to the editor explaining how mandatory workers comp insurance would negatively impact your family farm/ranch have a big impact on their decision so keep them coming!
Let’s hope the good news keeps rolling in as we approach the harvest season.