Interim Committee Reports - Economic and Rural Development

Interim Committee Reports - Economic and Rural Development

Interim Legislative Update for 8-31-3017

For the first time in decades, the New Mexico Legislature hosted interim committee meetings in the Village of Cimarron on Aug. 31 & Sept 1, 2017. The Economic and Rural Development Committee heard  a number of presentations over their two days at Cimarron High School.

On Thursday morning NMFLB’s new Government Affairs Director, Matthew Gonzales, provided the welcoming remarks on behalf of Cimarron Municipal Schools Board of Education of which he is a member. Matthew outlined some of the challenges the Village and the school district faced and what the community was doing to tackle those challenges.  He also told the legislators about his recent transition to NMFLB and his eagerness to work with them again. Matthew told the committee it was his goal for Farm Bureau to be the voice for New Mexico agriculture and a source of reliable information on all things ag related.

Later in the afternoon Commissioner Bill Sauble, Chairman of the Colfax County Commission, did a presentation on “Colfax County Aquifer Mapping and Its Importance to Economic Development.” He was joined by Kate Zeigler, Ph.D., of Zeigler Geologic Consulting.  Commissioner Sauble and Dr. Zeigler said that more than 90% of the water used in Colfax County for “all purposes, agriculture and municipalities” was surface water. Colfax County is not unique though. Many counties from around the state also get the vast majority of their fresh water supply from surface water sources. The Commissioner stressed the importance of the study to get a “baseline” established to help identify what is “adequate” for future development and sustainability of municipalities over time. Commissioner Sauble and Dr. Zeigler also mentioned the other counties and soil & water districts that have partnered with Colfax on this project thus far. The Commissioner ended his presentation by thanking the legislators for their time and he asked they continue supporting the aquifer mapping effort going forward.

The committee will conclude their meeting today with presentations on energy development & transition. Other topics discussed at the meeting included: Philmont Scout Ranch operations, government procurement, broadband in rural New Mexico, rural healthcare development & access, and health insurance & provider access in rural areas.

Please stay tuned for future Interim Committee updates as we travel the state representing NMF&LB and advocating for New Mexico’s farmers and ranchers.