by Rex Wilson
New Mexico Cattle Grower’s Association President’s Message
Dear Fellow Cattlemen,
With a little moisture in the form of snow to end the year, hopefully we can look forward to a wetter 2013 . . . no matter what the weatherman says.
Rain or shine, politics will consume the early part of the year. The New Mexico Legislature convenes on January 15 in Santa Fe with more new faces than the body has had since 1935. Legislators started pre-filing bills in mid December so there is already material to review and consider. There are plenty of new and old ideas that will get consideration in the weeks and months to come.
It doesn’t appear that the election changed much of anything in Washington, D.C. and at press time, the nation remained on the “fiscal cliff.” There also isn’t a lot of clarity yet on what “affordable health care” really looks like and what a New Mexico system will be.
In this atmosphere, the benefit of our “ag group” is most comforting. The “ag group” will be celebrating its’ 20th year in 2013. There are three members of that original group who are still there, although most of them have changed titles.
The group may be best described as a coalition of several of the agricultural trade organizations in the state. There is little formality to the group, there are no dues and any expenses are split among the participating organizations. In the early days the group had a home at the Desert Inn down the street from the Roundhouse and meetings were early in the morning. As the late sleepers were able to exert more influence, today the group meets at noon two or three days a week. A chef has been a most welcome addition to the scheme of things.
As you might imagine, not everyone agrees with everything all the time, but the group provides a place to work out differences. Members are encouraged to check their hats and their egos at the door and most of the time, the group emerges united.
The effectiveness of the ag group, like most anything, has ebbed and flowed over the years, but I don’t think it has ever been stronger than it is today. It is really gratifying to see the group “huddle” in the Capitol to head off an issue. I can assure you that legislators appreciate the ability to have the group to work with and rely upon for credible information on the wide variety of issues that affect our family ranches and farms. Farm Bureau hosted the pre-legislature group meeting in Las Cruces in mid December and there is tremendous solidarity as we move into 2013.
If you have some spare time, take a day and go to Santa Fe to watch the group in action and to let your elected officials know that the “group” represents you.
There are two big days every year during Session. This year the Ag Fest Reception will be held on February 19. This is the annual gathering of agriculture to host everyone involved with the Legislature and show off all New Mexico agriculture has to offer. Many organizations have meetings at this time. The Cattle Growers’ Board meetings will be the evening of the 18th and the morning of the 19th. If you can make it, please make reservations with the Office. Headquarters will be the Hotel Santa Fe where we have a $79 room rate.
On March 16 all of agriculture will come together to provide dinner for everyone in the Roundhouse. This is the next to last night of the Session and often the House and Senate meet through the night. We generally feed from 1,000 to 1,400 people in less than two hours. An extra set of hands is always welcome.
I cannot thank enough all of our new members, along with those who have been with us for generations, for the faith they have put in the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association by investing your hard earned dollars. We will continue to strive to be worthy of your membership.
Hope to see you in Santa Fe and we will continue to pray for moisture.
Rex Wilson, President