The Farm & Ranch Community License Plate

Dec 19, 2010

New Mexico's newest specialty license plate honors our agricultural heritage and rural residents. Authorized by the State Legislature, the Farm & Ranch Community license plate is specifically for farmers, ranchers, ag businesses, and rural folks—all those people who take pride in being part of agriculture and rural life in New Mexico. Now you can show your pride on the backup of your pickup or car!

The great part of the license plate is that $25 of your specialty plate registration fee specifically goes to support educational programs at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum. We are planning to dedicate most of these funds to support our Big Yellow School Bus program, which provides scholarships for schools to help pay for buses to bring students to tour the Museum. What a great way to support the Museum and help educate our youth about the importance of agriculture and rural life!

The Farm & Ranch Community license plate is available now from the state Motor Vehicle Department. Click here to print out your application form and mail it in to receive your license plate now! (Residents can also visit the Las Cruces MVD field offices to apply and pick up a plate in person.)

Frequently Asked Questions

We have compiled this FAQ to address questions we have received about the new Farm & Ranch Community license plate. If you do not find an answer below, please contact us or your local MVD field office for more information.

How much does it cost to get the Farm & Ranch Community plate?

The annual fee for the plate is $35 in addition to your regular car registration fees and $2 administrative fees. So if you have a standard plate now that costs $45, then adding the Farm & Ranch Community plate would make your total fee $82.

How long is the Farm & Ranch Community plate valid?

For one year, the same length of time that a regular license plate is valid.

What happens to the money for the Farm & Ranch Community plate?

The first $12 of the $37 additional fee is retained (by statute) by the N.M. Motor Vehicle Department to cover the costs of printing the plate and administering the program. The remaining $25 is turned over to the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum's Education Department to support their programming.

What does the Museum's Education Department plan to do with the money?

The Museum plans to use the money to enhance the Big Yellow School Bus Fund, a program developed in 2006 to offer "bus scholarships" to help schools offset the costs of a field trip visit to the Museum. A school is typically charged $100-300 for each bus they need when they take a field trip.

How can my school get a scholarship from the Big Yellow School Bus Fund?

Contact the Curator of Education at the Museum for more information.

Can I just pay the fee for the Farm & Ranch Community plate once?

No. If you want to legally continue to display the plate on your vehicle as part of your car registration, you will have to pay the $35 fee (in addition to your regular registration) each year. The good news is that $25 of that $35 will go to support the Museum's educational programs each year!

Is all or part of the $35 fee for the Farm & Ranch Community plate tax deductible? Can I take a tax deduction directly from the Museum, and will the Museum provide me that documentation?

Consult your CPA or financial advisor regarding the possible tax deductions for this fee. No, the Museum cannot document your fee as a contribution. Since the fee is paid to the Motor Vehicle Department, it has to be treated as part of your vehicle registration fee, not as a charitable contribution to the Museum. Due to privacy laws, the Motor Vehicle Department cannot share any information about Farm & Ranch Community license plate holders with the Museum, so there is no way for the Museum to document or authenticate a contribution.

I normally renew my car registration for two years at a time. Will I be able to do that if I have the Farm & Ranch Community plate?

Yes. You would pay your two-year fee plus $72 ($35 for each year + $2 administrative fee)

Can I get the Farm & Ranch Community plate now, or do I have to wait until my car registration is due?

You can get one now! Fill out the application and send the $35 plate fee + $2 administrative fee to MVD. They will automatically add the fee to your vehicle registration when your annual renewal comes due.

My car registration is coming due in a couple of months. Can I go ahead and renew my car registration and get the new Farm & Ranch Community plate at the same time?

If you are within sixty days of your renewal date, you can renew and get the new plate at the same time. Just complete your application and take everything to your local MVD office.

Where can I get the application for the Farm & Ranch Community plate?

You can pick one up at your local MVD office or through the MVD web site. We've also set up a link to the application on the Museum web site if you click here.

Can I get a personally customized Farm & Ranch Community plate instead of one with a number?

No, by state statute customized (or prestige) plates can only be issued for the standard yellow or Centennial turquoise plate styles.

I have a handicapped license plate. Is there something similar for the Farm & Ranch Community plate?

Unfortunately no. One would have to switch to a handicap window placard if you want to have the Farm & Ranch Community plate.

Do I get any benefits from the Museum if I have a Farm & Ranch Community plate?

The Museum is trying to determine if there is a way to offer a discount in its Museum Membership Program to Farm & Ranch Community license plate holders.

I really like the Farm & Ranch Community plate and design (or I live outside of New Mexico), but I don't want to pay the extra fees. Is there still a way I can get the plate—perhaps for the front of my car?

The Museum is considering licensing the design to the Friends of the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum so additional products like T-shirts and blank front license tags can be produced and sold. Proceeds from the licensing agreement would also be used to support Museum programs and activities by the Friends.

How did the Farm & Ranch Community plate come about?

Representative Brian Egolf of Santa Fe, responding to an inquiry from a local constituent, introduced legislation in 2009 to create a Farm & Ranch Community license plate. In that legislation, Egolf designated the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces as the financial beneficiary of the funds raised from the sale of the plate. Governor Bill Richardson signed the bill after passage by the State Legislature, with the provision that the plate not be issued until after July 2010. The Farm & Ranch Community plate became available for vehicle registration from the state Motor Vehicle Division in December 2010.

Who selected the design for the Farm & Ranch Community plate?

The design was selected by the Museum's governing Board of Directors from a slate of possibilities generated by graphic artists on the Museum staff.