Agriculture & Value-Added Foods

The impact of local food and agriculture on the economy in this region is significant and growing. The history of agriculture here is long and rich and, indeed, part of the culture of New Mexico. Local farming practices, using acequias to divert water to fields and farms in the valley areas and employing dryland methods in the high plains, make agriculture products especially unique. In addition, consumption of chile products, hot sauce, and international flavors is trending nationwide giving New Mexico, with its chile production and proximity to Mexico, a significant advantage. Food manufacturing is also growing, in part because of a higher than average footprint locally. Finally, new opportunities in agriculture, particularly hemp, are changing the economic landscape.

Agriculture

A robust local food sector helps keep our region unique, and attracts millennials and others who want a place that is distinct. Local craft beer and spirits, many of which use locally-grown ingredients, food trucks, and farmers’ markets also contribute to the scene.

In rural communities, agriculture can be leveraged into agritourism, and a particular product can be used to brand a community (i.e., Moriarty Pinto Beans or Pena Blanca Sunflowers). Finally, for many in the region, agriculture provides the primary income source, and enables them to maintain a rural lifestyle.

  1. Urban Agriculture & Value-Added Foods
  2. Rural Agriculture & Value-Added Foods

Urban Agriculture & Value-Added Foods

Urban Agriculture & Value-Added Foods
Strategies for doing this? • Expand liquor licenses
• Develop food hubs to supply institutional buyers, such as government, hospitals, and schools.  
• Improve supply (to market) chain
• Remove barriers & support value added production
• Invest in distribution networks
• Support national marketing for value-added products, beer, etc.
• Support institutional procurement
• Follow recommendations in the 2019 Albuquerque Food and Agriculture
• Action Plan; and Bernalillo County’s Urban Ag Plan
How would we know if we were successful? 

What are the key metrics?
• Higher ag wages
• More jobs
• Increase in exported food products
• Increase in gross ag revenues
• Increased investment in sector
• Increased infrastructure
• Increased use of existing infrastructure
• Able to have primary income from farming
• Shift in export/ type of NM agriculture
Who are the catalysts?

Who should be accountable for this?
• New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension
• New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA)
• USDA Rural Development
• City of Albuquerque
• Bernalillo County
• Legislature / State investments
• Non-profits
• Commercial kitchens, The Mixing Bowl. Three Sisters Kitchen, and others
How do we build resilience in this focus area? • Supply chains, co-packing, food aggregators, food distribution
• Sales channel opportunities
• Entrepreneurial capital