February 24, 2009

Udall-Backed Initiatives in Bill Protect New Mexico Farmers and Ranchers, Land

WASHINGTION­-U.S. Senator Tom Udall, D-N.M., today announced that legislation moving through Congress contains more than $5.9 million to help New Mexico farmers and ranchers, and to preserve New Mexico's natural resources.


"New Mexico's farmers and ranchers have been struggling with fluctuating costs and steadily declining prices," said Udall. "These resources help support the future of New Mexico's agricultural community."


The legislation includes $235,000 for the Clovis-NMSU, Southern Great Plains Dairy Consortium. The consortium will use the assistance to boost research on improved dairy production through animal nutrition, health, and management.


"New Mexico's dairy producers are getting squeezed by falling milk prices and rising feed costs," said Udall. "We need new practices to help producers and consumers, and NMSU has the expertise to help with this important mission. This legislation will help NMSU help New Mexico dairy producers and consumers."


The bill also includes $401,000 for the International Arid Lands Consortium (IALC), to develop solutions to the unique problems faced by arid and semi-arid communities like those in New Mexico. The IALC has sponsored research into topics ranging from water-saving agricultural techniques to the impact of grazing on soil in arid regions.


"New Mexico's limited water supply presents unique challenges that demand innovative solutions," said Udall. "This funding will allow for additional research to ensure that New Mexico's farmers and ranchers can maintain their way of life."


The Interior and Agricultural Appropriations bills also include the following New Mexico-specific projects:


· $4 million to make the Valles Caldera National Preserve open to recreational and responsible uses, and to provide services to the Preserve's visitors

· $300,000 for archaeological sites protection in the Galisteo Basin

· $1 million to help Native American tribes restore buffalo and allow them to again offer a healthy source of food, address diet-related diseases, and provide economic opportunities.