Attendants of the New Mexico Ag Expo on Tuesday fought off a brisk blanket of snow and sludged indoors for a better understanding of the latest technologies in agriculture.
Early in the day, some 50 people heard New Mexico State University’s Clay Mathis speak on the current U.S. Animal Identification Plan, a proposed radio frequency tracking system for livestock.
The first phase of the plan is slated to begin in July.
If the proposed Legislation passes, ranchers and farmers would need to tag their livestock by the summer of 2006.
Mathis said he’s still not for sure if the plan will pass; however, he said but cattle producers are certain it will.
“It’s coming down on us,” Bert Ancell, who operates a ranch about 25 miles north of Tucumcari, said. “We need to make sure and keep our private sector involved in the database allocators because if we leave it up to the government, it will be a big mess.”
Dan Paxton, a cattle producer from Portales, said the plan is imminent and that in time the plan will be worked out.
“If that’s what we have to do, then we need to do it,” Paxton said. “I’m not sure if it was only because of the mad cow disease. I think that it was underway before the mad cow disease, but it might have put an urgency on it.”
Mathis said if the U.S. Animal Identification Plan is implemented there will be $33 million in the 2005 budget for animal identification.
“There are still some questions that need to be answered,” Mathis said. “There hasn’t even been a determination on whether the ID program will be voluntarily or mandatory. How do you get a premise ID by 2004? I don’t know yet?”
Mathis said a premise is a location where cows come from. He said that technology would most likely in the form of electronic identification.
U.S. Senator Pete Domenici said in a press release that there are questions that arise from the animal implementation.
“I am confident the department is taking the necessary steps to protect from future incident of mad cow disease, but I am concerned that the associated costs of the new regulations, specifically a national ID plan, may exacerbate an already precarious situation for this industry,” Domenici said in a press release on Tuesday.
Roosevelt County residents and people from as far Wyoming participated in the Ag Expo on Tuesday, despite the weather.
“I came to see my buddy in Clovis and decided to come by,” Ernest Gutierrez, a retired elementary principal from Estancia, said. “It’s (ag expo) nice. I go to the fairs all the time. I love something like this.”
Gutierrez said it was his first trip to the Ag Expo.
Beth Reilly, from Alva, Wyo., represents Giant Rubber Water Tanks and had a booth in the pavilion. Her company sells worn, tractor tires cut in half used as troughs for their livestock.
Cooking and fashion shows along with a demonstration on dating fabrics and quilts by LaMoin Gentile of Portales highlighted the events in the Women’s Building. Gentile earned her degree in Home Economics from Eastern New Mexico University and learned more about dating fabrics in the national quilt show in Paducah, Ky.
“It’s addicting,” Delray Gray of Portales said after she took up quilting six years ago. “I liked the Lady Fingers design. I had never seen that pattern before.”
Gray was talking about the Lady Fingers’ design on an antique quilt made by Laura Merrick’s grandmother in 1873 and the original design conceived in 1844.
Carmen Matthews, an independent consultant for the Pampered Chef, gave a demonstration on how to make a taco ring with brown, triangle-shaped crescent rolls filled with ground beef and tomatoes and lettuce on the tips in a circle. Matthews said the turnout was good despite the weather, but it also snowed in last year’s expo.
“It was a fun crowd,” Matthews said. “There were lots of oohs and ahs. It’s ag expo weather, I think everybody’s used to it.”