For a century, the New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau has served as the voice of agriculture in our state. A new exhibit at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces celebrates the impact the organization has had in its first 100 years.
“New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau: 100 Years Strong” opens on Nov. 3 in the Museum’s North Corridor. The exhibit will be on display through Sept. 16, 2018.
“We are so excited about this exhibit,” says Chad Smith, CEO of New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau. “The museum did a fantastic job of compiling our history and telling a story that stretches back 100 years. We know you’ll enjoy the vintage photos and the historic documents, but more importantly, you’ll leave with an understanding of the NMF&LB family and how our members have dedicated their lives to ensuring a successful future for agriculture in our state.”
The Farm & Livestock Bureau (including the Dona Ana County Farm & Livestock Bureau that preceded it) has worked with elected and appointed officials on the state and national level to coordinate beneficial outcomes for New Mexico’s food producers. The organization advocates for farm and ranch families, rural communities, and those interested in protecting private property rights.
The exhibit traces the history of the grass-roots organization, including its programs such as Ag in the Classroom, Women’s Leadership, Young Farmers & Ranchers, Farm Family of the Year, and insurance.
Soil conservation, better irrigation methods, and improved crop production were issues on the minds of the 300 farmers and ranchers in the Mesilla Valley who first gathered in 1917. These forward-thinking food producers were following a national trend during the Progressive Era where organizations grew for mutual support and to share knowledge. Popularity of the organization increased as it helped develop marketing opportunities for crops and worked with local extension agents to incorporate the latest research into farming methods. At the same time, farm bureaus were catching on nation-wide and the American Farm Bureau Federation was formed in 1919. This began the nation’s largest agricultural organization.
One-hundred years after the initial meeting in Doña Ana County, the New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau now represents 19,000 members across the state.