NMCGA Presidents Letter

by Rex Wilson

New Mexico Cattle Grower’s Association President’s Message

Dear Fellow Members & Industry Supporters,

The promise of spring, but also the end of the 60-day legislative session. On March 16th at noon, in accordance with the state constitution, lawmakers had completed their final actions in a flurry of activity. I was in the Senate gallery when Senate majority floor leader Michael Sanchez received word from the House of Representatives that declared the session “sine die”.

I took a few moments to reflect on the preceding two months spent at the roundhouse in Santa Fe, and whether New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association as an entity representing our industry and the diverse interests of our members, had been effective in our efforts to maintain our viability as the state’s oldest resource based family business.

I came to the conclusion that we had been quite successful, both in terms of the bills we were actively engaged in promoting, and those that we were forced to oppose. I did come to the realization though, and many of you already knew this, that with each passing year it becomes more difficult to engage the more urban legislators in explaining how some of their legislative initiatives are harmful to rural land based people. It is heartening to know, however, that many of the veteran legislators still recognize our input to the economy and traditional values of this state. I also enjoyed having those initial interactions with many of the freshman legislators who were all interested in understanding issues that were sometimes unfamiliar to them.

Of all the bills introduced this session, tallying 1,656 overall, fewer than 300 made it to the Governor’s desk for consideration. Governor Martinez has until April 5th to sign and veto bills. Anything not acted upon in that time period will be deemed a pocket veto. To see all the bills that passed both houses and are on the Governor’s desk please go to http://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/legreports.aspx  Of the bills that didn’t make it through the process, the animal cruelty bills were the hardest to oppose, since none of us wants or tolerates cruelty to animals. However, it appears that there is a general lack of understanding or knowledge regarding the vast differences between animal welfare and animal rights. Without question, we need to redouble our efforts to make sure everyone understands the two concepts are radically different.

I was fortunate to have worked with a great team of folks, like Caren, Michelle, Zach and Joe Culbertson on a daily basis, as well as Nikki Hooser, Alfredo Roybal and Ernie Torrez who helped out frequently. I am also grateful to our dedicated bill readers who kept us focused on the legislation that was relevant to our industry efforts, allowing us to be more effective and efficient. I also realize that we received a whole lot of help from those of you who weren’t able to join us in Santa Fe, but helped out immensely when there was a need to reach out to your legislators directly on the many issues we were confronted with. Again, thank you for being there.

Finally, I wanted to extend a special thanks to Michelle Frost for sticking with the team for her last rodeo, before moving to greener pastures on the east coast. We all wish her well. It has been an honor and a privilege to have served the membership or our great organization in Santa Fe during the last two years and I sincerely appreciate your confidence.

Let us continue to pray for our families, friends and the much needed rain we all yearn for to replenish our grasses, stocktanks and hearts.


Hasta Pronto,

José Varela López, President Elect



PS:  I knew I would leave a legislator out last month
and sure enough I did. I don’t know how any of us could
overlook President-Pro Tem Tim Jennings.  Sorry Senator!