September 07, 2018

Reps. Luján and Lujan Grisham Statement After Meeting with USDA Secretary to Advocate For New Mexico Farmers and Ranchers


Carlos Paz Jr. (Lujan Grisham)
Lauren Dart (Luján)  

Washington D.C.– Today, Reps. Ben Ray Luján (NM-03) and Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01) released the following statement after meeting with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue to advocate on behalf of New Mexico farmers and ranchers who, following production losses, could be negatively impacted by reduced federal assistance.

“After learning of this troubling issue in August, we urgently engaged with the USDA on behalf of New Mexico farmers and ranchers. We appreciate Secretary Perdue meeting with us for a productive conversation on this issue. We look forward to continuing to work with the Secretary so that every impacted farmer and rancher is made whole.”

On August 17th, Reps. Ben Ray Luján (NM-03) and Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01) sent a letter to Sec. Perdue asking for additional information regarding the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) in New Mexico’s decision to require repayment of Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) disbursements.  The full text of the letter can be read here.

NAP provides financial assistance to producers of non-insurable crops when natural disasters cause low yields, cause loss of inventory, or prevent planting. Farmers and ranchers depend on NAP to plan and ensure that they can continue to run their farms in case of natural events that are out of their control.

For Rio Arriba County, the 2017 crop yield, which NAP assistance is based on, was initially set at 4.18 tons/acre. The NM State USDA FSA later determined that they would be adjusting the crop yield for 2017 to 2.76 tons/acre. This significant and unexpected revision by the USDA will have serious implications for farmers or ranchers.