County dairies struggle with tax

By Christina Calloway

PNT senior writer

ccalloway@pntonline.com

Blame the drought.

Blame the loss of multiple dairies on the east side of the state.

No matter how you slice it, two things have happened in the cattle industry:

  • The number of cattle in Roosevelt County decreased from 2012 but the value of the remaining herds continued to climb.
  • The number of dairy cattle reported in Roosevelt County for the 2013 tax year dropped 2.19 percent from the year previous. In Curry County, the number of dairy cattle reported dropped by 10 percent.

Roosevelt County Tax Assessor Kenner Carrasco said the drought is a large reason why there are fewer cattle in the county.

“We lost a dairy in 2013, dairies have to pay a lot for feed,” Carrasco said. “It’s supply and demand.”

Ryan Figg, market representative at the Clovis Livestock Auction, said value is based on markets, national and international, and it fluctuates.

“When it’s dry, there is not enough available pasture,” Figg said. “This results in ranchers selling their livestock.”

Though the livestock tax program has been in Curry County for more than a decade, it is fairly new to Roosevelt County.

Carrasco said if livestock taxes were not imposed, grazing exemptions on land would not exist.

“You pick your poison, you’re either going to pay it on real estate or livestock,” Carrasco said.

Carrasco said farmers need 47 acres or more to receive the real estate tax exemption. The tax is four cents an acre.

Carrasco added that smaller dairies are gradually going away and those that are still around are struggling with increases in tax rates.

Cattle head and valuation in Roosevelt County
2012      Head        Value
Cattle – 32,027  $5.3 million
Dairy – 100,555 $2.3 million
2013      Head        Value
Cattle – 28,866    $5 million
Dairy  –  98,350  $28.1 million

Cattle head and valuation in
Curry County
2012      Head         Value
Cattle – 93,820  $12.6 million
Dairy – 135,186 $98.1 million
2013      Head         Value
Cattle – 107,105 $17.4 million
Dairy – 120,998  $90.1 million

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