Sep 02 2019

It’s Past Labor Day …

by Caren Cowan, Executive Director, New Mexico Cattle Grower’s Association
Read this article & more in New Mexico Stockman Magazine

When you are supposed to trade your straw hat for a felt and stop wearing white shoes… even if it is 100 degrees or more outside. It has also traditionally been the time when election campaigns begin in earnest.

This year is no different except that I made the arbitrary decision that the campaign season for the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association (NMCGA) wouldn’t start until after Labor Day… for 2020 that is. By the time you are reading this, it will be after Labor Day. There are about 480 days to the 2020 general election and months less than that until the 2020 New Mexico primary.

The 2020 presidential election campaign has been ongoing for months. So long, in fact, that some of the 20 plus candidates are already starting to drop out.

The NMCGA office started receiving New Mexico 2020 fund raising requests a few months ago as well. It is NMCGA policy that the Association neither endorses candidates nor makes campaign contributions. However, the Association has always encouraged its members to become involved with elected representatives at every level.

This year may be a little different. The 2019 Legislature demonstrated just what happens when YOU don’t participate. Measures were introduced regarding abortion, gun control, animals, energy production and distribution, mining, climate change and countless other issues. Those that didn’t make it to the Governor’s desk will likely come up again in 2020 and/or 2021.

The 2020 Legislature is a 30-day budget session, so in theory bills must be tied to finances. But the Governor has the option of adding any and every topic they choose to the Call (the agenda). My mind harkens back to Governor Richardson’s first 30-day Session… He put 129 issues on the Call.

We were sending out calls to action after people went to bed and updating the issue before they woke up the next morning. My credit card bill which generally ran about $1,200 during a Session was about $345 that year.

We won’t have any idea of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s pleasure until the first day of the 2020 Legislature, January 21, or after when the Call is made public. And, issues can be added to the Call throughout the Session.

Back to the 2020 Election

We recently learned that in the 2018 election, only six out of ten rural voters showed up to vote. That compares with eight out of ten of urban voters who voted. Not only are we beat out by population numbers, but we are beating ourselves by not utilizing our Constitution right to vote! THIS HAS GOT TO CHANGE!!!

At the present time we don’t have any number of rural residents eligible to vote are even registered to vote. Thus, Priority ONE is to make sure that everyone entitled to vote in rural New Mexico is registered to vote.

Voter registration in New Mexico is no longer as simple as handing someone a registration application, having them fill it out and you turning it in for them.

Here is what the Secretary of State has on her website regarding voter registration:

Voter Registration Eligibility Requirements

In order to register and vote in New Mexico, an applicant must be:

A resident of New Mexico

A citizen of the United States

Not legally declared mentally incapacitated

Not a convicted felon, or a felon who has completed all of the terms and conditions of sentencing

18 years or older at the time of the next election

Register to Vote or Update Your Registration

You can now register and update your registration online. If you have either a current or expired New Mexico state I.D. (like a driver’s license) you can register for the first time or make changes to your registration—like name, address or party affiliation—easily using our online system.

To register online or to update your registration please go to: https://portal.sos.state.nm.us/OVR/WebPages/InstructionsStep1.aspx

If you don’t have a state-issued I.D., or otherwise would prefer to register by mail, you can pick up a voter registration application form or print the national form online, fill it out, then mail it to the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office or your local County Clerk’s Office. If you are not sure where to send it, you can look it up on our website or call us at 1-800/477.3632.

If you change your name or move you must fill out a new voter registration form and submit to your local County Clerk’s Office or the Secretary of State’s Office. You must also fill out a new form if you want to change your party affiliation.

First-Time Registration by Mail

If you are registering for the first time in New Mexico, and you submit the registration form by mail, then you must submit with the form a copy of (1) a current and valid photo identification; or (2) a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, student identification card or other government document, including identification issued by an Indian nation, tribe or pueblo that shows your name and current address. If you do not submit one of these forms of identification with your mailed-in, first time registration, then you would be required to present one of the forms of identification when voting in person or absentee.

Change your Voter Registration

If you change your name or move you must fill out a new voter registration form and submit to your local County Clerk’s Office or the Secretary of State’s Office. You must also fill out a new form if you want to change your party affiliation.

If you wish to register with a person, that person must have completed voter registrar training. The NMCGA staff (except me) are certified to offer voter registration.

If you update your driver’s license or register a vehicle you will be offered the opportunity to register at that time.

Priority TWO

You may have noticed that in addition to incumbents seeking funding, 2020 candidates are already surfacing throughout New Mexico. NOW is the time to renew acquaintances with current elected representatives. Make sure they know who you are and what your values are.

It is also the time to get to know new candidates. Make sure they represent your values.

You have heard this advice every other year for the last two decades at least. Now is the time to do more.

NMCGA members are building networks in their communities, their counties and their political districts to vet candidates, determine who to support and how to support them. If you would like to participate in your area, please let us know.

It is most important that this is a non-partisan effort. We have a two (or more) party system and we have supporters in at least two parties. Party affiliation is much less important than finding who represents our values and will go to bat for them in every venue.

Two Elections

It is also important to remember that we are facing TWO elections — a primary and a general. In the past many, many elections are decided in the primary on Tuesday, June 2, 2020. Make sure your party registration matches the candidates you are supporting in the primary. As you have read, it is simple to change registration.

One More Election on the Horizon

We cannot forget that under new state law, conservation districts, school boards and others will hold an election on November 5, 2019. The deadline for filing for those races was August 27, 2019.

Early research indicates that only one county, Grant, Soil & Water Conservation District has a races for all five of its supervisors. There are other counties where there are contested races but none are for the entire commission.

It is worth remembering that NMCGA members and other agriculturists populate this Districts and they need support in the upcoming election.

Obscene & Herd

Overheard at a T or C restaurant “if we can take out grazing in New Mexico, we can take grazing out throughout the West.”

Anyone want to guess who was sitting at that large table?

Fraud

Will you be a victim of meat fraud? In a consumer alert published in at the BottomLineInc.com consumers were warned about “fish fraud.”

It seems that there is concern about where fish people are consuming have been raised and harvested. Oceana, a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, D.C., tested 1,215 samples of fish sold in 21 states. One-third of the samples were mislabeled. For example, Tilefish, a fish with high levels of mercury was mislabeled and mispriced as Alaskan halibut.

In other research a four-year study of Shushi sold at 26 restaurants in Las Angles found that 47 percent was made from different fish from what the menu said.

The moral to this story, larger stores must follow the USDA’s Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) requirements. Restaurants and smaller markets are exempt from COOL.

The moral to the reason I write about this is what the potential for mislabeling beef could be in today’s fake meat era. How was that grilled soy, pea protein isolate, tapioca and/or maltodextrin?

Will they ever learn?

Henry Brean, Arizona Daily Star, wrote on August 27, 2019,

“It was the fire desert ecologists have been warning about for years, and they say it won’t be the last. Dozens of saguaros burned late last week in a lightning-sparked blaze that scorched about 25 acres in the Santa Catalina Mountains.”

According to U.S. Forest Service officials, it was the first known fire in the Catalina’s primarily fueled by buffelgrass, an invasive plant that has taken hold across the range and throughout Southern Arizona.

Buffelgrass is native to Africa and Asia, where it populates savannas that burn frequently as part of the natural ecological process. The U.S. Soil Conservation Service introduced the grass to the Southwest starting the 1930s for cattle grazing and erosion control because of its high seed production and tolerance to drought.

The article goes on to quote a seemingly hysterical University of Arizona scientist about the catastrophic fire and its’ “signal of the devastation on the Sonoran Desert ecosystem.” Mind you the fire was only 25 acres and it was put out.

The article does not point out that after grazing was removed from the area, buffelgrass became a noxious weed. Grazing was removed for fear that they would impact the Saguaro cactus in the Catalina Mountains near Tucson.

It is well known fact that cows constantly rub up against cactus plants of all kinds for their shear pleasurer… NOT!

Like the ecosystem managers involved in agricultural production, federal agencies, and higher education intuitions are constantly learning better ways to support and manage the environment. Like the salt cedar that now invasive in the West, when human use of the environment changes, the environment changes. The environment has been responding to human change for tens of thousands of years.

This situation emphasizes that for every action there is a reaction that may not always be the best thing.

During the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Ag Ambassador Field Day at Bill King Ranch, it was interesting to watch an advocate for the need to teach agriculture about the land to awaken to the fact that ranchers and farmers are not sitting around waiting for the government and non-governmental groups to come and teach them a better job and bestow “champion” titles on them.

They are doing the work on the land and most of them have been for generations. They are not stagnant waiting for enlightenment. They are college educated business people who are constantly looking for and employing the best and latest technology to continue to feed a hungry world.

If the government and others want to help the environment, they need to stop chocking ecosystem managers with a nearly century old cheap food policy. That policy allows people to spend time evaluating others because they don’t have to produce the foods, goods or services that an affluent society enjoys.       

Source: New Mexico Stockman, September 2018