President's Column, Resiliency in Ag Meetings

Resiliency in Ag

What do the Kellogg Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, and the Thornburg Foundation all have in common?  Besides being some of the most well-endowed and influential foundations in the U.S., they’re also partners in the Resilience in Ag program initiated by New Mexico First and hosted by the NMSU Extension Service.  The Resilience in Ag program is an effort to develop a Statewide Resiliency Plan that will:

•          Create common ground regarding food and agriculture policies
•          Generate ideas for more economic value for producers and economic vitality for communities
•          Develop strategies to support young people who want to stay with or get back into agriculture
•          Address water, land-use, climate and economic challenges facing the agricultural industry
•          Support agriculture’s contribution to health related solution of consumers and communities
•          Contribute to worker, consumer and community welfare

Statewide meetings are the first step of the plan whereby they receive stakeholder input.  The next step is to create a background report which analyzes data from the meeting and incorporates industry research.  A task force will then be convened to draft a resiliency plan which will be refined through stakeholder sessions.  The final plan, expected to be finished by July, will be used to secure funding and the implementation phase is where working groups will measure progress and adapt plan strategies.  
As you can see, these initial meetings are not just listening sessions, they’re the beginning of an action plan that will be tied to real money, legislation and regulations.  That explains the participation of the above named foundations.  And that is also a powerful reason for NMF&LB members to attend and participate.  We need your voice to represent conventional farming and ranching.  Niche, organic and small scale farms have been well represented at meetings across the state but processors and large scale producers have been largely absent.  Here is a list of remaining meetings, and remember, if you’re not at the table, you’re most likely on the menu!

Farmington, Wednesday, March 2, 2016
Crownpoint, Thursday, March 3, 2016
Shiprock, Friday, March 4, 2016
Tucumcari, Wednesday, March 9, 2016