Jeff Witte, Cabinet Secretary/Director NM Dept. of Agriculture
Air Dates: April 22-24, 2017
This week's guest on REPORT FROM SANTA FE is Jeff Witte, Cabinet Secretary / Director for the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, speaking about such important agricultural issues as the Produce Safety Rule, organic regulations, the AgriFuture program, and efforts to bridge the gap between urban and rural interests.
Witte explains how the New Mexico Department of Agriculture is an agency that touches every citizen in the State of New Mexico basically every day. "When you are filling up your car with fuel at the gas stations, you will see our certification stickers that we check the gas pumps for accuracy and that you are actually getting what you pay for," said Witte.
He details some of the multitude of functions of the NMDA, "We are in all the grocery stores also through our weights and measures program...We are on every dairy, checking milk quality and sanitation of the dairies. We also regulate pesticides, BT fertilizer, nursery products for pest diseases."
The economy of New Mexico agriculture is usually three to four billion dollars a year in farm gate sales depending on the drought and other factors. However, when one multiplies that with the impact on the state’s economy; a 2012 New Mexico State University (NMSU) study showed that agriculture brings about $12 billion dollars of economic impact to the state.
International and domestic marketing are other areas the Ag Department is expanding, especially in light of New Mexico sending its food products to 44 different countries around the world.