NMCGA Presidents Letter

by Pat Boone

New Mexico Cattle Grower’s Association President’s Message

Dear Fellow Members & Industry Supporters,

It’s hard to believe that we’re already saying goodbye to summer, but with the 76th edition of the New Mexico State Fair almost underway and green chile roasting in backyards and store parking lots alike, I realize that it’s true. Hopefully that means that you’ll have a chance to spend a day or two at the Fair supporting the youth who are proudly displaying their show animals and demonstrating the maturity and confidence that comes with hard work and dedication to a project. Maybe you’ll have time to partake in an authentic New Mexico green chile cheeseburger too.

Quite apart from our time honored traditions it seems that we spend an inordinate amount of time fighting the incompetence of federal agencies who are charged with the protection of endangered species and the ever present perception that livestock somehow negatively impact the habitat needed by the species du jour.

Last month I addressed the New Mexico Meadow Jumping Mouse listing. Since then I’ve attended several meetings with allotment owners, the US Forest Service and the US Fish & Wildlife Service to discuss the perceived need of the US Forest Service to take “affirmative action” to protect the mouse. I’m sorry to say that there is a complete lack of scientific integrity associated with both the proposed and newly implemented actions which take into account only a few of the potential factors relevant to the overall species protection equation.

In light of the unnecessary impact it has on the folks who are trying to make a living while being good stewards of the land, I think the current preference to build exclosure areas is bound to fail both mouse and man. I just wonder if a federal agency can be held accountable for the taking of an endangered species if the proposed action is fatally flawed?

That same lack of scientific integrity is also evident in the latest proposal by the US Fish & Wildlife Service to expand the Mexican Gray Wolf recovery area and proposed rule change. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) contains many significant flaws, the first of which is the lack of information concerning an available prey base to support additional wolf numbers.

Another major issue that is not addressed is the social and economic impact to the rural people of New Mexico and Arizona to grow a wolf that is of questionable genetics and of no benefit on the landscape in this day and age. Again, looking at an incomplete picture of all the factors relevant to the proposed action is both arbitrary and capricious. I don’t know how else to make the federal agencies aware of what is totally obvious to the ranchers.

The comment period on the Mexican Gray Wolf DEIS ends on September 23, 2014. Please take the time to submit comments by going to www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FWS-R2- ES-2013-0056-6056. With more than half of our state, plus all the states bordering us, having the potential to be negatively impacted your concerns are very important and should become part of the record.

Finally, in preparation for the Joint Stockmen’s Convention in December I’d like to ask a favor of you. I think it would be a wonderful tribute to our families and the industries that we represent to have a slideshow with pictures of the people and places that have allowed us to grow, thrive and even survive the challenges of our 100 year history as an association. Please contact the office at 505/247-0584 or nmcga@nmagriculture.org if you would like to have a few old or new photographs be part of the Centennial Celebration.

Hasta Pronto,

José Varela López