capitol reports

Capitol Report – January 24, 2024



Legislators are supporting chile research and development in the Roundhouse.

Jason Espinoza reports from the Roundhouse:

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This is Jason Espinoza with today’s capitol report.

Chile is an integral part of New Mexico’s agricultural economy and according to the New Mexico Department of Agriculture is a representative crop of New Mexico and drives tourism and other revenue-generating activities for the state.

The Department of Agriculture also notes, Most New Mexico chile is harvested by hand. However, labor challenges hamper producer ability to cultivate and harvest chile in a cost effective, timely manner. The development of new agricultural equipment, technologies, and plant cultivars ideal for mechanical harvest of green chile has been a priority of the New Mexico chile pepper industry. Harvest mechanization is thought to be the answer to the continuous farm labor shortage for harvesting and may also reduce production costs to remain competitive in a global marketplace. Mechanical chile harvest is more than just developing a machine to harvest the pepper, but also requires research and development of plant cultivars that will work with mechanical harvesting and de-stemming.

That is part of the reason Senator Crystal Diamond Brantley introduced Senate Bill 93, which provides $400 thousand from the general fund to New Mexico State University for the purpose of conducting research and development of chile harvesting solutions and an additional $100 thousand to New Mexico State University to collaborate with a statewide association that represents growers, processors, manufactures, and others to design and implement a marketing campaign for New Mexico grown chile.

For the New Mexico News Network, I’m Jason Espinoza

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