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New Mexico advances work to secure state’s natural resources and agricultural heritage

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Trout Stalker Ranch in Chama, New Mexico.

Abundant, clean water and healthy soils are critical to New Mexico’s future.

New Mexico Senate Bill 454 — The New Mexico Agricultural and Natural Resources Trust Fund Act — proposed to create a self-sustaining endowment fund to conserve the state’s natural resources and agricultural heritage. The intent of NM SB454 was to provide funding to landscape-scale, cross boundary projects that sustain and improve soil health, water supply and quality, agricultural production and wildlife habitat.

Thanks to support from landowners across the state, and from organizations including the New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts, the need for the funding certainty and project implementation proposed in the New Mexico Agricultural and Natural Resources Trust Fund Act was clearly articulated.

The bill successfully passed both the Senate and the House. Although the legislative session ended before we could reach concurrence on this bill, the coming year will provide ample opportunity to continue building support for the bill, and a durable appropriation.

We look forward to continued conversations and action on these ideas in the coming year. The full bill, complete with amendments, is posted here. Please contact Jessica Crowder, WLA’s policy director, with questions or comments on this or other WLA policy work: Jessica@westernlandowners.org. 

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Birds Got no Beef with Burger

Opening the pickup door and stepping out onto native grass, the sun begins to rise amidst the sound of the dawn chorus. I listen to the melodic tinkling of a Baird’s sparrow (my favorite song, and also set as my morning phone alarm); the downward whirl of the Sprague’s pipit (my ring tone); the buzz of the Brewer’s sparrows, the joyful couplets of the McCown’s longspur. The chestnut-collared longspurs are chasing each other in play, or fight.

Tenacity + Solidarity + Creativity

One cold, dark, November night, I was lost somewhere outside the small town of Walden, CO, searching for a bison ranch. I had taken time off from my marketing job at Whole Foods Market to help during the outfit’s annual bison roundup. With no cell service, I was becoming increasingly concerned about finding the ranch. Self-doubt kicked in. When I finally had service I called my husband. “Is this normal?! For a 30-some year old woman to be spending her free time showing up at some ranch not knowing where she is going to sleep, what she is going to eat, to learn about a completely new profession?!” My husband replied, “No, but do it anyway.”

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