The wind is blowing and spring works are in full swing. It is good that some things are normal because most everything else is upside down.
The first quarter of the year is always busy with Legislature and basketball season. Thankfully this was a 30-day Session. The New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association (NMCGA) went to Santa Fe with four bills we needed to pass. That is an unheard of task, especially in 30 days. The ag group pulled together to get one passed and signed by the Governor. We will live to fight another day on the other issues, but we aren’t giving up.
President Elect Tom Sidwell hit the ground running and did the expected great job. We as an Association are blessed to have someone of Tom’s caliber represent us in Santa Fe.
Basketball may not be on everyone’s priority list, but when your son is the head coach of an NCAA Division II team, it is a pretty big deal at our house. Cindy and I made it to every game and we are proud to report that Angelo State made it to the Sweet 16 in their division. The team is coming back next year so we will be loaded for bear.
Unfortunately the government is relentless and there are more big issues looming before us. The problems at the Mexican border have been here for decades. Many promises have been made yet we still have our members and their employees living in fear and packing just to do the chores. Thanks to the drive and enthusiasm of Erica Valdez, the NMCGA with the Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association were able to rattle some chains.
I wouldn’t have missed the meeting in Animas in early March as over 600 people gathered to send a message to our elected officials that we need BOOTS ON THE BORDER. Clearly those there got the message, but we must keep pushing to turn that into action that protects families. We are continuing to work with the congressional delegation and others to affect some help.
While we have been spending a lot of staff and leadership time on the oppression we have been feeling at the hands of state government, the feds have been making mischief. There are two new rule-makings that have the ability to drive more folks off the land. In late February the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued new proposed planning rules. Of course they are supposed to be great and helpful to all, but they want to ignore county land-use plans among other things. We have requested additional time for commenting and will keep you posted on how that is going.
The US Fish & Wildlife Service has proposed revisions to its mitigation policy. According to Karen Budd-Falen, this thing makes the Waters of the United States regulation look like child’s play. Please read her article on the subject on page 40. Comments will be necessary and we are asking for an extension.
In our spare time we are planning the 2016 Mid Year / Wool Grower Annual Convention for June 12 through 14 in Ruidoso. I hope you will start making your plans to be there. Registration material will be out before the end of the month.
If you need anything, please give us a call and keep our ailing NMCGA families in your thoughts and prayers. May God bless you and yours in all you do.