Democratic Speaker of the House Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, told reporters that Democratic Leaders in the state House want to enact laws to make the growing of hemp New Mexico’s next big agricultural cash crop that will boost the state’s economy.
Following are links to two separate stories:
The growing of hemp is legal throughout the United States.
According to Speaker Egolf, New Mexico could easily position itself as a national leader in the hemp agricultural industry.
Egolf highlighted House Bill 581, which will establish regulations allowing the manufacture of hemp products in New Mexico.
New Mexico State Representative Derrick Lente, D-Sandia Pueblo, a supporter of the legislation, said hemp as an agricultural cash crop has the potential to immediately rival alfalfa as a cash crop in New Mexico.
According to Lente, New Mexico has the right climate for hemp cultivation and noted “Agriculture is the lifeblood of New Mexico.”
Hemp is a relative of marijuana, but it has none of the chemicals in marijuana that causes people to become high like marijuana.
Hemp grown in New Mexico could easily be sent to in-state manufacturers, who could turn it products such as clothing and CBD oil products.
IMPORTANCE OF AGRICULTURE TO NEW MEXICO
When New Mexico State Representative Derrick Lente, D-Sandia Pueblo, said “Agriculture is the lifeblood of New Mexico” he was not at all kidding.
New Mexico is home to 23,800 farms and 43.9 million acres of farmland.
The states top commodities include beef cattle and calves, pecans, hay, sheep, onions, chiles, greenhouses and nursery products, cotton, and corn.
Agriculture is deeply rooted in New Mexico and in the top 10 of its industries.
Following is a listing of New Mexico’s top 10 agricultural products and what they generate in cash receipts for New Mexico:
1. “According to the New Mexico State University Dairy Extension, just over 77 percent of the milk in New Mexico is produced on the eastern side of the state in Curry, Roosevelt, Chaves, Eddy and Lea counties. Milk and dairy products generated $1.3 billion in cash receipts.”
2. “About 10,000 families across the state raise beef cattle, and New Mexico lays claim to approximately 387,000 beef cows. Cattle and Calves generated $823.8 million in cash receipts.”
3. “New Mexico is second only to Georgia when it comes to pecan production in the U.S., and in 2017, the state’s farmers produced a record-breaking 92 million pounds of pecans. Pecans generated $220.8 million in cash receipts.”
4. “New Mexico is a major alfalfa hay producer, with 190,000 acres of the crop harvested in 2017. A legume hay, alfalfa is an excellent source of good-quality protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Hay generated $109 million in cash receipts.”
5. “New Mexico farmers harvested an estimated 7,100 acres of onions in 2017, and the state is one of the largest summer-onion producers in the nation. Onions generated $106.6 million in cash receipts.”
6. “Considered New Mexico’s signature crop, chile peppers have been cultivated in the state’s Rio Grande Valley for four centuries. New Mexico’s warm, dry climate and 350 days of sunshine each year make it an ideal place to grow chile peppers. Chile peppers generated $44.6 million in cash recipes.”
7. “New Mexico is one of 17 states that produce cotton, and production (in bales) ranks the state 16th. The Land of Enchantment’s upland cotton production is largest in Lea, Doña Ana and Eddy counties. Upland cotton generated $31.9 million cash receipts.”
8. “New Mexico farmers planted about 125,000 acres of corn and harvested 43,000 acres of corn for grain in 2017, resulting in a production value of more than $22 million. Corn generated $22.4 million in cash receipts.”
9. “In 2017, farmers across New Mexico harvested 135,000 acres of wheat. Wheat generated $15.7 million in cash receipts.”
10. “Sorghum is an energy-efficient, drought-tolerant crop, perfect for New Mexico’s climate. New Mexico producers planted 85,000 acres in 2017, yielding 187,000 tons. Sorghum brought in $7.65 million in cash receipts.”
Following is the link to source quoted:
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
A common public misconception is that hemp is somehow a part of marijuana cultivation, which is totally and 100% false.
The fact that legalization of recreational use of marijuana for adults is also being considered by the New Mexico legislature may contribute to the false public perception about hemp.
During past legislative sessions, former State Senator Cisco McSorely was a major sponsor of legislation that would have allowed the growing of hemp in New Mexico.
Two years ago, the legislation past both the Senate and House, but not at all surprising it was vetoed by former Republican Governor “She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”.
This year should be the year that the hemp legislation becomes law creating a new cash crop for the New Mexico agricultural industry.
The legislation should pass both the House and Senate because Democrats have sizable majorities in both legislative chambers and it is more likely than not that Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham will sign it.
New Mexico’s top agricultural crops include pecans, hay, sheep, onions, chiles, greenhouses and nursery products, cotton, and corn and there is no real justifiable reason why hemp should not be allowed and included given its potential in the long run.
STAY TUNED NEW MEXICO