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USDA Deputy Secretary Visits Las Cruces

USDA Deputy Secretary Visits Las Cruces
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Monday, March 26, 2012 - 10:51pm

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The Deputy Secretary of the Department of Agriculture visited Las Cruces Monday to discuss the USDA's efforts in rural job creation and local and regional food systems in New Mexico.

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan spoke at New Mexico State University about how local farmers and ranchers help the economy grow.

"Keeping people in farming and ranching keeps money in local communities," Merrigan said.

She discussed the lack of graduates in the field of agriculture and added there are more jobs out there than just growing and harvesting crops.

Merrigan said there is work for skilled intermediates to help the farmer get in touch with schools for example and supply all the food a school system might need locally.

Secretary of Agriculture for the State of New Mexico Jeff Witte knows how important agriculture is for the economy in New Mexico.

"We produce the whole plate," Witte said. We produce the dairy products, we produce the beef products, chile of course, the vegetables and everything that goes with it."

It the variety of crops grown in the state that keep agriculture in the state going strong. Witte considers agriculture to be either the number one or number two economic generator in the area.         

Even with drought conditions the last few years and farmers relying on wells to water their crops, the farming economy has been one of the stabilizing economic factors in the state, according to Witte.

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