winter photo banner

Noticias de las Acequias
New Mexico Acequia Association
February 2013
In This Issue...
THE WATER REPORT on the NM State Legislature
Renewable Energy & Water Conservation Workshop
Upcoming Acequia Symposium in Las Cruces
USDA Discrimination Claims Process Deadline Approaches
Drought, Water Scarcity, and Food Production: Acequia Strategies for Adaptation
2013 NRCS EQIP Acequia Initiative Deadline
NAP Deadlines for Crops
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Sign-Up
Drought Assistance Available for NM Counties
THE WATER REPORT on the NM State Legislature
By Paula Garcia
Photo by Maria Gallegos. 

Water has emerged as a major issue at the 2013 state legislative session suggesting that policymakers are concerned with water scarcity and drought. The following are some highlights. Green indicates NMAA support and Red indicates that NMAA is opposed or otherwise concerned about the proposed legislation. Black means that NMAA is currently taking no position on the bill.

 

NMAA Budget Priorities:

*Acequia and Community Ditch Fund: HB 9 (Gonzales) and SB 111 (Cisneros) have passed their first committees and are waiting for hearings in the appropriations and finance committees in the House and Senate. They would appropriate an additional $150,000 for the fund.

 

*Acequia Funding and the Irrigation Works Construction Fund: The current recommendation for HB 2, General Appropriations Act (Varela) from the House Appropriations and Finance Committee is to restore funding in the ISC Acequia Program to $1.9 million and to change the cost share requirement from 80-20 to 90-10 to make the program more accessible to acequias.

 

*Acequia Projects: Several Capital Outlay requests have been introduced totaling over $7 million. NMAA is supporting these requests for individual acequias as needed. Also, SB 546 (Campos) creates a statewide package comprised of these same requests and other projects on the ISC waiting list to be funded from the Irrigation Works Construction Fund. The bill is an effort to start a conversation about how acequias can be funded as a statewide package.

 

Lower Rio Grande and Lower Pecos: SB 440 (Cervantes) seeks to appropriate $120 million to augment and import water to the Lower Rio Grande. It raises questions about the source of water which could possibly be up and down the Rio Grande or from neighboring regions in southern New Mexico. Any of these scenarios could include negative impacts for acequias in those areas. SB 462 (Leavell) seeks $2.5 million to mitigate drought in the lower Pecos area. Carlsbad Irrigation District is claiming that they are not receiving water to which they are entitled under the Lower Pecos settlement. Although CID could do a priority call, various parties are attempting to find an alternative.

 

Drought and Water Storage: Estevan Lopez, ISC Director, and Scott Verhines, State Engineer, reported that New Mexico is in a severe drought. Of significant interest to Northern New Mexico is that Article VII of the Rio Grande Compact does not allow storage in upstream reservoirs when Elephant Butte Reservoir reaches certain low levels. El Vado is currently at 5% capacity and other reservoirs are similarly extremely low.

 

Water Planning: SB 481 (Smith) and HB 566 (T. Salazar) seek $400,000 for the Interstate Stream Commission to update regional water plans. Several other bills and memorials address regional water planning requesting funds or prioritization of funds: SJM 11 (Campos) for Mora-San Miguel-Guadalupe, SM 8 (Padilla) for Middle Rio Grande, SB 135 (Cervantes) for Lower Rio Grande.  

 

 

Water Transfers: House Bill 397 (Tripp) would require that the State Engineer reject any applications for new water appropriations that are incomplete. It was amended to include all applications for water transfers also. This may be in response to the San Augustin Plains water appropriation in which the applicant failed to provide specifics about the move-to point of some 50,000 AFY proposed to be piped out of Catron County to the Rio Grande Valley. HB 19 (Gonzales) intended to shield water rights from forfeiture at a lease location if the move-to point was no longer viable for a transfer. The bill died in House Judiciary Committee.

 

Active Water Resource Management: HB 558 (Bandy) and SB 529 (Cervantes) would amend statutes relating to State Engineer authority with specific requirements for the State Engineer to follow in enforcing priority administration. It addresses in part the Tri-State v. D'Antonio decision of the State Supreme Court which raised questions about what information the State Engineer would use for priority administration.  SB 494 (Cervantes) seeks to clarify in one the same statutes, Sec. 72-2-9.1, that OSE rules should enforce Article 16 of the state constitution.

 

Food Systems: Advocates of farmers markets, healthy foods, and local food systems have introduced several appropriations bills including SB 80 (Campos), requesting $1.4 million for locally grown food in schools, and HB 100 (Tripp), requesting$85,000 for NM Farmers' Markets.

 

Return Flows: HJM 33 (Garcia Richard) and HB 576 (Garcia Richard) seek to address the issue of return flows for irrigators who depend on flows downstream from surface water diversions, such as cities.

 

Oil and Gas/Pollution: HB 136 (Egolf) would require disclosure of fluids used for hydraulic fracturing. HB 286 (Chasey and M. Sanchez) would update portions of the Oil and Gas Act including increasing penalties for violators. The Act has not been updated since 1935. HB 335 (Egolf and M. Sanchez) would require groundwater assessment and monitoring for fracking. HB 429 (Louis) would allow a private individual or entity to sue to enforce environmental regulations. This could be particularly useful in areas where county or state government has limited resources for enforcement. While these bills seek to strengthen protection of water, other legislation promoted by the industry (NM Oil and Gas Association) would strip cities and counties of their powers to regulate the oil and gas industry by preempting local authority in state law. SB 463 (Cisneros) would preempt cities and counties from any type of oil and gas regulation through land use codes. In past years, this same bill has drawn opposition from agricultural groups, counties (NM Association of Counties), and environmentalists.   

 

Water Right Settlements: Although often referred to as Indian Water Right Settlements, these agreements settle the water right claims of several parties including acequias. The Navajo, Aamodt, and Abeyta settlements include federal funding and a state match. The State of New Mexico has a deadline of 2017 to secure the state cost share dollars. To meet this target, New Mexico would have to appropriate $15 million per year until 2017. So far, New Mexico is far behind on the target by not appropriating funds last year and only appropriating $5 million (in current budget drafts) for FY14.

 

Subdivision Approvals and Water Availability: SB 479 (Wirth) and SB 480 (Wirth) require that subdivision plat approval be contingent upon water availability, not including domestic well permits, based on a determination by the Office of the State Engineer.

 

Dam Infrastructure: SB 241 (Campos) would appropriate $250,000 for Morphy Lake Dam renovation, and SJM 6 (Martinez and Trujillo) seeks design and funding assistance for Santa Cruz dam renovation.

 

Acequia Funding at the State Legislature

As always, the New Mexico Acequia Association closely monitors water legislation and promotes some carefully selected legislative priorities. Acequia policy priorities are focused on local efforts to improve irrigation through acequia repairs, rehabilitation and improvements. Many acequias throughout the state are responding to water shortages and drought by making improvements such as replacing aging infrastructure including diversion dams and leaky headgates. Increasingly, acequias area also looking to line or pipe sections of their acequia to reduce seepage and improve delivery to farm headgates.  

 

Funding for acequia infrastructure, as for any local governments, is uncertain. The Capital Outlay process as it has historically operated has been a mixed blessing for acequias. On one hand, the system that allows each legislator to allocate a small "slice of the pie" in his or her respective district affords the opportunity for acequias to access those resources. On the other hand, this same system also sometimes results in partial funding for more complex projects sometimes resulting in delays in design and construction until adequate resources are secured, sometimes taking years.  

 

This year, NMAA is promoting acequia capital outlay requests being mindful that there are possibly changes unfolding in the process. For example, the executive branch has strongly encouraged the completion of Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plans so that funding requests are well planned and they can be evaluated for readiness to proceed. Both the executive and legislative leaders are asking whether projects have designs as part of their assessment of whether the project is ready for construction funding. Increasingly, acequias are preparing Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plans. A review of projects on the legislative website and the DFA ICIP website shows that some half of the requests have corresponding ICIPs. The total requested in acequia capital outlay projects for FY2014 is about $7 million (http://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/BillFinderCO.aspx). Based on experience, we can expect that only a portion of this list will be appropriated capital outlay funds by their respective legislators.

 

There is another $3.5 million on a waiting list at the Interstate Stream Commission for the highly sought after 80-20 cost share program. Despite this long waiting list, the tentative budget proposed by the Legislative Finance Committee cuts the ISC Acequia Construction Program from $1.9 million to $1.0 million, mainly due to underspending by the ISC in the past three years. These funds come from the Irrigation Works Construction Fund which generates revenue from state lands. The $1.9 earmark for acequias has been in place for several years. NMAA is proposing the following to the NM State Legislature:

  • Retain the $1.9 million funding level .
  • Change the 80-20 cost share program to a 95-5 cost share.
  • Use the funds from the Irrigation Works Construction Fund for irrigation projects rather than agency operations.

(Note: At press time, the House Appropriations and Finance Committee is acting on HB 2 with amendments to restore acequia funding to $1.9 million and to change the cost share ration to 90-10. Special thanks to Representative Lucky Varela and other supports on the House Appropriations and Finance Committee for their support!!)

More detail about this program is available here. NMAA is proposing language in HB 2 that will address the first two in the list above. Moving away from use of the fund for agency operations may occur incrementally over years if the Legislature restores general funding for the Office of the State Engineer and Interstate Stream Commission. NMAA is working at the State Legislature to bring attention to this issue in the hope that the Irrigation Works Construction Fund can be a recurring source of funds for acequia projects and other irrigation projects for years to come.

 

Our bill tracker is updated daily, so please check it regularly for bill actions, committee meetings, etc. 

Renewable Energy & Water Conservation Workshop

The New Mexico Acequia Association will host a Farmer/Rancher Outreach Workshop in Wagon Mound. Learn about the different programs available to expand and support your farm or ranch. There will also be an opportunity to discuss Farmer/Producer challenges.
 
Wednesday, February 27 
6:30 to 8:30 P.M. 
School Auditorium 
State Road 120/Park St. (East of I-25)
Wagon Mound, NM
 
Presentations and Co-sponsorship by:  
 
and the
Concerned Citizens of Wagon Mound & Mora County


For more info contact Jason Jaramillo at (505) 995-9644
or email jason@lasacequias.org
Upcoming Acequia Symposium in Las Cruces 

This symposium pursues a holistic understanding of acequia irrigation in the upper Rio Grande Valley as made up of interactive, interdependent biophysical, economic, ecological, and sociocultural systems. It brings together scholars whose perspectives on comparable social-ecological systems in other parts of the world can shed light on the particular and shared features of New Mexican acequias as well as on the challenges they face. Of special interest are questions about whether and how local common resource pool management can maintain or regain resilience under conditions of accelerating integration into a global economy and climate change. We strongly encourage participants to register in advance at http://globalperspectives2013.wrri.nmsu.edu/ 

    Acequia Symposium 

USDA Discrimination Claims Process Deadline Approaches
By Julia Mullen 

Between 1997 and 2000, African-American, Native American, Hispanic, and female farmers filed four similar class action lawsuits alleging that "the USDA routinely discriminated in its farm benefit programs on the basis of race, ethnicity, and gender, and failed to investigate the claims of farmers who filed discrimination claims with the agency." The cases brought by African-American and Native American famers, known as Pigford and Keepseagle, were settled and in each case the settlement agreement established an administrative claims process that allowed the class members to demonstrate past discrimination by the USDA and entitlement to compensatory damages.

 

The cases brought by Hispanic and female farmers, known as Garcia and Love, have taken a different path. They were not certified as class actions, unlike Pigford and Keepseagle, and have not settled. The USDA has, however, set up a voluntary administrative claims process to allow Hispanic and female farmers to establish that the USDA discriminated against them and to seek compensation. The alleged discrimination for Hispanics must relate to a farm loan application or farm loan servicing between January 1, 1981 and December 31, 1996, or between October 13, 1998 and October 13, 2000. The dates for female applicants vary slightly. There are three application tiers to choose from, depending on your circumstances, that require you to meet certain criteria. A claims administrator will process the application and a claims adjudicator will decide whether to approve or deny.

 

As you all know, New Mexico has relatively high rates of Hispanic land ownership, and therefore may have been highly affected by any discrimination against Hispanics on the part of USDA. The Garcia case was filed by a Dona Ana County farmer, Lupe Garcia. Don Bustos, NMAA Concilio member, American Friends Service Committee Director, and esteemed organic farmer from Santa Cruz, has filed a claim alleging he was discriminated against when he was denied a FSA loan to help build his farm infrastructure. We encourage anyone that is Hispanic or female to consider filing a claim if you believe that you experienced farm loan discrimination by USDA within the stated time periods.

 

The deadline for submitting your application is March 25, 2013, so we encourage you to act quickly if you wish to file a claim. The USDA has a web site set up to assist applicants, at www.farmerclaims.gov. For an overview of the process, go to the Documents section and then see the documents entitled "Summary of Claims Process - Women or Hispanic Farmers or Ranchers" and "Framework". You can download the application documents or request that they be mailed to you. NMAA staff are also available at 505-995-9644 at to help walk you through the process.   

 

USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA,) Rural Development (RD) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will host a public meetings where USDA program updates and the Hispanic and Women Farmers and Ranchers Claims Process will be discussed.  
 
February 26th at 9:00am
Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum 
Las Cruces, NM
Drought, Water Scarcity, and Food Production: Acequia Strategies for Adaptation By Paula Garcia
Photo by Janice Varela.
When State Engineer Scott Verhines presented at the 2012 Congreso de las Acequias, he noted that the past two years were the warmest and driest on record. Acequia irrigators from throughout the state of New Mexico could bear witness to his graphs and data. Parciantes around New Mexico are reporting very little rain or snow, extremely low stream flows, and overall water shortages. Some can say from experience that this is like the drought of the 1930's or the 1950's, but for many this is the worst drought they've experienced in their lifetimes. 

 

On one hand, native New Mexicans, including the Pueblo and later mixed blood settlers, have many generations of experience with drought. Time-honored traditions of sharing scarce water are deeply woven into the social fabric of our communities. On the other hand, the demands for water in the 21st century are unprecedented. Unlike the past few centuries when water sharing customs evolved in acequia communities, water is now under great pressure to meet growing demands related to population growth and a changing economy.  

 

Acequias can draw upon generations of local knowledge about water sharing in their respective stream systems. Much of this knowledge is still relevant including an understanding of the hydrology of the ditch, the methods for allocating water through tiempos, and the characteristics of the different terrenos served by the ditch. However, acequias will be challenged to adapt to new conditions or a new normal in climate generally. Shorter winters and warmer springs mean an earlier runoff cycle so some acequias are adapting by beginning the irrigation season earlier. Lower pressure head from reduced stream flows is causing some acequias to install new headgates, ditch lining, or piping. Lower supplies are pushing acequias to remember old customs and reinvent methods and understandings to adapt to the ongoing drought conditions. Some of the measures acequias are already taking to survive drought include the following:

  • Reaffirming, learning, and remembering water sharing customs from elders in the community. Water sharing customs are practiced to varying degrees and some acequias are actively seeking out this knowledge and taking steps to document it so that it can be a part of the ongoing operation of the acequia.
  • Revisiting old customs of water sharing and assessing what works and what can be improved based on the long-term drought we are experiencing. Meetings among parciantes to come to an understanding old and new customary practices are beginning to take place more often.

A related issue for water management in drought is the strategies acequias use to accommodate changing agricultural needs. In the next few years, acequias will likely continue to consider the various ways of food production that may need adjustments to traditional or customary rotation schedules. Growing numbers of irrigators are using season extension methods to grow food year-round. And, some producers are experimenting with mini-ponds combined with drip irrigation to have greater control over the availability and timing of water for irrigation. As more irrigators transition to a variety of crops over more traditional methods, the acequias will over time adjust to provide water for expanded local food production.

 

In addition to adapting to drought in day to day operations, acequias are dealing with an accelerating water market with many entities actively, even aggressively, seeking to purchase and transfer acequia-based water rights. Various water right settlements include provisions for non-acequia entities to purchase acequia-based water rights in what will become a dramatic shift in water ownership away from acequias. Included in the terms of those settlements are requirements that the acequias cannot oppose or protest such transfers. Cities are making water rights acquisition a routine part of their annual budgets and are actively building "portfolios" of water right assets. Some local governments or corporations are proposing vast pipelines from rural areas to urban areas to supply water to make up for the loss of groundwater that has been depleted from decades of pumping. Acequias are adapting in various ways:

  • Hundreds of acequias in New Mexico have updated their bylaws to reflect the 2003 changes to the law authorizing them to regulate water transfers out of their systems. This is not an absolute protection but it gives acequias the legal tools to prevent transfers that are detrimental to the acequia or its members. NMAA provides detailed technical assistance on its adoption and implementation, but an ongoing issue relates to the resources needed when acequia decisions on water transfers are legally challenged. While many remain, the widespread adoption of the water transfer bylaw by so many acequias is an indication that acequias are bracing themselves for major decisions about water and possibly for conflicts over water allocation in their respective communities.
  • Beyond water transfers of acequia-based water rights, acequias are also concerned with the broader trends in water transfers, groundwater pumping, or both. In several places around New Mexico, pipelines are in the planning or construction stages to move water over large geographic distances, in most cases to meet demands where water has been depleted or where future demands outstrip current supply. Many such projects propose to pump groundwater and move it from a rural area to a populated area of the state. The largest example of this is the San Augustine Plains water transfer application. Considering that this specific transfer has drawn such a high number of protestants, including acequias in that region of the state, there is a growing awareness about the value of our aquifers to the long term sustainability of rural areas of the state.

As demands for water increase, acequias and allies who support local food production are beginning to coalesce around the common concern of protecting water rights for local food production while also supporting strategic investments in our local food systems to make small scale agriculture more economically viable. All of this optimistic work is happening against a backdrop of great uncertainty about the future water supplies.  

 

While acequias have much work to do in adapting their day to day and seasonal operations to adapt to drought while also accommodating the demand for local food, much work remains to build the political mobilization that will be required to protect the water, both agricultural water rights and the aquifers and rivers that support our acequias. Political mobilization can come in the form of protests to the mega-water transfers and also of the piecemeal water transfers that threaten to unravel our agricultural treasures.  

 

Political mobilization can also come in pressure on entities seeking to acquire water rights to minimize demand through water conservation and strategies to meet their water needs in a manner that minimizes the negative impacts to agriculture and local food systems. Elected officials need to be reminded that the decline of agriculture is not inevitable. The protection of agriculture will require focused efforts of the acequias but also strong collaborations with allies who care about local food systems and healthy, locally grown food. As the drought continues or even intensifies, the pressures on agriculture will accumulate and a broad base of support will be needed to emphasize its continued importance for our culture and economy.

 

Some upcoming events highlighted in this issue of Las Noticias de las Acequias serve to contribute to this broader dialogue and potential collective mobilization. These include the Agricultura Aqui y Alla event in Rio Arriba County on February 22 and 23 and the Producers Forum at the Taos Food Center on April 6 (see announcements for details). Join us for these events that honor our farming and ranching traditions while also giving inspiration with tours and presentations on success stories.  

2013 NRCS EQIP Acequia Initiative Deadline   

The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) is offering a program designed to provide technical and financial assistance to acequia parciantes. This is a pilot program for this year only. However, unlike previous years, these funds are designated for acequia projects and any affiliation among parciantes is eligible. In the past, an entire acequia needed to apply for EQIP funds together. The EQIP Acequia Initiative allows for any informal joint venture or association within an acequia to apply for technical and/or financial assistance. The only requirement is that applicants belong to a legally recognized acequia and that are registered with the Farm Service Agency. The NMAA Outreach staff is available to answer any questions and to assist in the application process. The next deadline for EQIP applications is March 15th, 2013. Please contact NMAA Farmer/Rancher Outreach at 505-995-9644 for more information.

NAP Deadlines for Crops    

The NAP program provides financial assistance to producers of small yield, specialty crops that are not typically insurable through most USDA programs. The coverage cost per crop is $250.00, not to exceed $750.00 per year. This means that a producer with 10 annual varieties will pay no greater than $750.00 to insure their entire production. NAP covers up to 50% of the retail value of a crop affected by pests, floods, extreme weather, or drought. If interested, contact the NMAA Farmer/Rancher Outreach Program (505-995-9644) for more information. Here is a list of application closing dates by crop. Also, another important factor is that the fee is waived for beginning farmers and historically underserved groups. A few deadlines have passed, but it is worthwhile to note them for the coming years. Here is a list of crops and their respective closing dates:

 

January 31: Alfalfa, Cucumbers, Grass, Mixed Forage, Pecans, Peppers.

 

February 1: Cabbage, Carrots, Spinach, Greens.

 

March 15:

Beans, Dry Peas, Corn, Millet, Potatoes, Sorghum, Soybeans, Squash, Sunflowers, Tomatoes.  

 

April 15:

Basil, Beets, Broccoli, Cantaloupe, Cauliflower, Cilantro, Eggplant, Gourds, Honeydew, Okra, Pumpkins, Strawberries, Turnips, Watermelon.  

 

September 1:

Sod Grass, Onions, Garlic.  

 

September 30: Barley, Canola, Oats, Rye, Triticale, Wheat

 
November 30: Apples, Apricots, Cherries, Caneberries, Grapes, Nectarines, Peaches, Pears, Pistachios, Plums.
 

December 1: Honey, Lettuce.

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Sign-Up
Source: USDA News Release
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced at the National Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will conduct a four-week general sign-up for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), beginning May 20 and ending on June 14. CRP has a 27-year legacy of protecting the nation's natural resources through voluntary participation, while providing significant economic and environmental benefits to rural communities across the United States. Under Secretary Vilsack's leadership, USDA has enrolled 11.7 million acres in various CRP efforts. A

 

"Since the 1980s, the CRP program has established itself as a benchmark in voluntary conservation efforts, providing American producers with assets to address our most critical resource issues," said Vilsack. "Last year, during one of the worst droughts in generations, the CRP proved vital in protecting our most environmentally sensitive lands from erosion. Emergency haying and grazing on CRP lands also supplied critical feed and forage for livestock producers due to the drought. And the program continues to bring substantial returns to rural areas, attracting recreation and tourism dollars into local economies while sustaining natural and wildlife habitat for future generations."

 

Additional sign-ups for continuous CRP programs-such as Highly Erodible Land Initiative and Initiative to Restore Grasslands, Wetlands and Wildlife-will be announced in spring 2013.

 

Currently, about 27 million acres are enrolled in CRP, which is a voluntary program available to agricultural producers to help them safeguard environmentally sensitive land. Producers enrolled in CRP plant long-term, resource-conserving covers to improve the quality of water, control soil erosion and enhance wildlife habitat. Contracts on 3.3 million acres of CRP are set to expire on Sept. 30, 2013. Producers with expiring contracts or producers with environmentally sensitive land are encouraged to evaluate their options under CRP.

 

Producers that are accepted in the sign-up can receive cost-share assistance to plant long-term, resource-conserving covers and receive an annual rental payment for the length of the contract (10-15 years). Producers also are encouraged to look into CRP's other enrollment opportunities offered on a continuous, non-competitive, sign-up basis and that often provide additional financial assistance. Continuous sign-up dates will be announced at a later date.

 

Over the past 27 years, farmers, ranchers, conservationists, hunters, fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts have made CRP one of the largest and most important USDA efforts. CRP continues to make major contributions to national efforts to improve water and air quality, and to prevent soil erosion by protecting the most sensitive areas including those prone to flash flooding and runoff. CRP has also helped increase populations of pheasants, quail, ducks, and rare species, like the sage grouse, the lesser prairie chicken, and other grassland birds. Highlights of CRP include:

  • CRP has restored more than two million acres of wetlands and two million acres of riparian buffers;
  • Each year, CRP keeps more than 600 million pounds of nitrogen and more than 100 million pounds of phosphorous from flowing into our nation's streams, rivers, and lakes.
  • CRP provides $1.8 billion annually to landowners-dollars that make their way into local economies, supporting small businesses and creating jobs; and
  • CRP is the largest private lands carbon sequestration program in the country. By placing vulnerable cropland into conservation, CRP sequesters carbon in plants and soil, and reduces both fuel and fertilizer usage. In 2012, CRP resulted in carbon sequestration equal to taking about nine million cars off the road.

The Obama Administration is leading a host of federal agencies in the America's Great Outdoors initiative to develop a 21st century conservation agenda and reconnect Americans to the outdoors. At the same time, USDA continues to enroll a record number of acres of private working lands in conservation programs, working with more than 500,000 farmers and ranchers to implement conservation practices that clean the air we breathe, filter the water we drink, and prevent soil erosion. Since 2009, USDA has enrolled more than 50 million acres into the Conservation Stewardship Program to incentivize the most productive, beneficial conservation practices. And USDA's work in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the Mississippi River Basin, and Gulf of Mexico are among 19 initiatives applying the most effective conservation practices to increase agricultural and environmental returns. USDA science is also helping to focus work in areas to reduce problematic nutrients making it to rivers and streams by as much as 45 percent.

 

For more information on CRP and other FSA programs, visit a local FSA service center or www.fsa.usda.gov

Drought Assistance Available for NM Counties
Source: Congressman Ben Ray Lujan News Release

Congressman Ben Ray LujŠn of New Mexico's Third District highlighted efforts by the federal government to assist farmers and ranchers who have been negatively impacted by the severe drought in New Mexico and across much of the country.  U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack designated a number of counties across New Mexico as a primary natural disaster area due to recent drought, making all counties in the Third District eligible for assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), including FSA emergency loans.

  

"Last year was the hottest year ever in the United States, leaving farmers and ranchers across New Mexico struggling in the face of devastating drought conditions.  We have also been impacted by a lack of rain and snowfall during the monsoon and winter months," Congressman LujŠn said.  "The disaster declarations by the Secretary of Agriculture will make important resources available to help farmers make ends meet during this difficult time.  It is also vital that Congress work toward a new farm bill, which reforms drought and crop insurance and helps farmers and ranchers better endure severe drought conditions."

  

Nineteen counties across New Mexico have been designated as primary natural disaster areas due to a recent drought, which covers counties where most of our acequias are concentrated including Rio Arriba, Santa Fe, Taos, Guadalupe, Mora,  and San Miguel. 

 

Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the disaster declaration to apply for emergency loan assistance.  Emergency loan funds may be used to:

* Restore or replace essential property
* Pay all or part of production costs associated with the disaster year
* Pay essential family living expenses
* Reorganize the farming operation
* Refinance certain debts, excluding real estate

 

For more information on eligibility and how to apply for assistance, farmers should contact the New Mexico State Farm Service Agency at 505-761-4900.

 

Under a new USDA initiative, severe drought disasters are declared when any portion of a county meets the D2 (Drought-Severe) intensity for eight or more consecutive weeks or D3 (Drought-Extreme) or higher at any time during the growing season.  This new process has cut the average time it takes to turn around a disaster request from 85 days down to 29.

Join Our Mailing List
Like us on Facebook

donate

UNM Lecture Series

    

"Water & Energy in New Mexico" 

 

Thursday, February 21 
5:15pm at the 
UNM Garcia Auditorium George Pearl Hall

NMWRRI's/Senator Udall's 2012 water conference on "Hard Choices: Adapting Policy and Management to Water Scarcity" was to consolidate stakeholder perspectives on this topic and make recommendations of legislative remedies to NM's water problems. Udall's staff will present a white paper they have been working with these recommendations.

Contact Dr. Caroline Scruggs (cscruggs@unm.edu) with any questions.
NM Acequia Commission Meeting

 

Friday, February 22
10:00am  
Bataan Memorial Bldg
Room 201
Santa Fe, NM


Feel free to contact NMAC Chair, Ralph Vigil, at molinodelaisla@gmail.com for more info. To view the agenda click here.  
Agricultura, Aqui y Alla: Growing Together Conference  

 

February 22 & 23rd

Northern NM College 

 

This event is open to the public and will feature a farm tour (Feb 22nd) and presentations (Feb 23rd) on ranching, viticulture, cold-frame production, freeze protection & apples, cooperatives, USDA funding, borrowing, and selling locally. Click here to view flyer

 

  This is the Rio Arriba County Food and Ag Policy Council's second annual winter event.  For more info contact Margaret Campos at (505) 852-0017 or algonativo@cybermesa.com 

Raffle to Benefit Acequia

The Acequia Mesa del Medio, located in Coyote, NM is holding a raffle to help offset their costs surrounding a legal battle that will affect all acequias
 
RAFFLE DETAILS: 
 
Tickets: $50/each
 
Grand PrizeHonda Rancher ES 4◊4 NaturalGearTM Camo 2012, Model TRX420FE12
 
Second Prize: $1000
 
Third Prize: $500
 
Drawing to be held immediately following the annual meeting of the
Acequia Mesa del Medio on 
February 23, 2013, Coyote, New Mexico. Need Not be Present to Win. Winner of ATV is responsible for all applicable Taxes, Title, & License Fees.
 
If you miss the opportunity to participate in the raffle, donations are appreciated!

You can purchase tickets at the NMAA office in Santa Fe or mail a check to Acequia Mesa del Medio, P.O. Box 137 
Coyote, NM 87012
Producers' Forum 

    

"Celebrating Land-based Life Ways"

April 5th & 6th

TCEDC Business Park

 

This event is open to the public and is set to feature hands-on workshops, acequia governance workshop, horno

building, community cooking with traditional foods.  MORE DETAILS TO COME SOON!  

 

  

Gas stipends are available on a first come, first serve basis.  

 

  Co-sponsored by the Taos County Economic Development Corp and the New Mexico Acequia Association. For more info call (575) 758-8731 or email tcedc@tcedc.org 
Ganados del Valle Annual Raffle 

Ganados del Valle is a nonprofit organization with a 30-year history of preserving communities, heritage, and environment in northern NM.

 

  $100 ticket -- win $1000
$50 ticket -- win $500
$25 ticket -- $250
$15 ticket -- $150
 
Proceeds from the benefit raffle will help strengthen conservation on the Ganados Ranch and supports farming efforts in 2013. 
 
Winners will be announced March 1st, 2013. Winners will be contacted by phone. For more info visit ganadosdelvalle.org

    

 Workshop hosted by  

El Centro de la Raza 

 

 March 8th - 10th 
 
Workshop Goals:
1. Introduce participants to these international agreements
2. Present and analyze community protocols
3. Draft a positioning paper to protect and preserve traditional knowledge associated to biodiversity
.
 
 
If you interested in participating email elcentro@unm.edu or call 277-5020. Certification of attendance will be provided 
"Empowering Women in Agriculture"   

 

 March 8th 
Mid-Region Council of Government Ag Collaborative
Albuquerque, NM 
8:30am to 4:00pm

 This is a FREE seminar for women interested in building sustainable and profitable farms and ranches utilizing Holistic Management¬ģ, a whole farm/ranch planning system.

This seminar is sponsored by the National Center for Appropriate Technology with funding provided by the USDA Risk Management Agency.
For more info visit http://holisticmanagement.org/ 
31st National Pesticide Forum

 

Farms and Food: 
Resilient Communities Through Organic Practices
 
April 5th & 6th
UNM
Albuquerque, NM 

Hosted by Beyond Pesticides

For more info and to register for the event click here.
Earth Day Workshop at 
Ghost Ranch  

    

"Water's for 

Cooperating Over"

 

 April 5th - April 7th
 
This program will examine historic instances in which societies have come together to share nature's most precious resource. Folklorist Jack Loeffler, Anthropologist Rina Swintzell, and Historian Estevan Arellano will present stories which highlight such social systems, explode the myth of water conflict and point toward a future with 'just enough' water for human and nature's uses. 
 
Click here for more info

Technical Assistance 

HOW DO WE PROTECT OUR WATER RIGHTS? HOW DO WE GET FUNDING TO IMPROVE OUR ACEQUIA? WHAT CAN OUR ACEQUIA DO TO PROTECT OUR EASEMENTS? WHAT PROGRAMS ARE AVAILABLE TO SUPPORT FARMERS AND RANCHERS?  

 

The NMAA offers technical assistance on Acequia Governance and USDA programs for landowners. If any of these questions apply to you or your acequia, please submit a Request for Technical Assistance.


Become a Member!

Become a member of the New Mexico Acequia Association! Parciante and Supporter Memberships are $20/year and includes a quarterly newsletter subscription. Membership for an Acequia is $40/year including a newsletter subscription for all four officers.

 

The NMAA is a charitable, educational non-profit organization that relies on membership contributions and foundations for its general operating expenses. We rely on folks who join as members and to contribute membership dues and donations to support our work. It has never been more important to have a united front to protect our acequias and strengthen our food and agricultural traditions.

 

 New Mexico Acequia Association   

Concilio (Board of Directors)

Antonio Medina

Harold Trujillo

James Maestas

Jackie Powell

Gilbert Sandoval

Alfredo Montoya

Don Bustos

Facundo Valdez 

Stephen Trujillo

Medardo Sanchez

Yolanda Jaramillo

 

Staff

 

Paula Garcia, Executive Director

 

Julia Mullen, Associate Director 

 

Cheryl James, Program Director

Janice Varela, Acequia Governance Specialist

 

 Quita Ortiz, Communications & Project Specialist

 

Pilar Trujillo, Project Specialist

  

Lucille Trujillo, Membership Coordinator

 

Juliet Garcia-Gonzales, Community Project Coordinator

 

Alejandro Lopez, Project Coordinator

  

Kenny Salazar, Acequia Governance Specialist

 

Carlos Bustos,

Acequia Governance Staff

 

Patrick Staib, Farmer/Rancher Outreach Coordinator  

 

Jason Jaramillo, Farmer/Rancher Outreach Staff

 

Serafina Lombardi, Farmer/Rancher Outreach Staff

  

Allayne Scott, Business Manager

 

Lori Spillman, Event Coordinator 

 

Elena Misumi, Bookkeeper

 

 


 

Thank You!!!  

The New Mexico Acequia Association greatly acknowledges the support and dedication of the many parciantes and supporters who are NMAA members and who have made donations.

 

Thanks to our foundation supporters including (in alphabetical order) Catholic Campaign for Human Development, The Christensen Fund, Marguerite Casey Foundation, New Mexico Community Foundation, McCune Foundation, Panta Rhea Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

 

We also greatly appreciate the financial support provided to us by state and federal sources: the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Advocacy and Outreach; and the State of New Mexico's Department of Finance Administration.