New Mexico State University’s Leadership Program explores agricultural policy in Washington, DC

A group of emerging farm leaders from New Mexico got a behind-the-scenes look at current farm policy last month during a week-long trip to the nation’s capital.

The group was part of the New Mexico Agricultural Leadership Program, an 18-month leadership experience offered by the College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences at New State University. -Mexico.

The trip to Washington, DC, was an immersive opportunity for the cohort of six members to observe and analyze the work required to create agricultural policy at the national level, said Tina Wilson, NMAL program specialist.

Wilson said the trip included back-to-back meetings with Congressional staff members representing the New Mexico delegation and a meeting with Will McIntee, associate director of public engagement for rural and agricultural policy at the White House.

The group also visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, where they laid a wreath and learned about the history of the grave. They also visited the Animal Agricultural Alliance and the Smithsonian Museum complex.

One of the highlights, Wilson said, was meeting with New Mexico Rep. Yvette Herrell between scheduled meetings.

“She told us about the issues with the agriculture industry in New Mexico and what was going on here in the state,” Wilson said.

NMAL is a seminar-based program for professionals in the New Mexico agriculture industry. During the 18-month program, participants participate in monthly seminars designed to develop leadership skills and provide a society-wide overview and a better idea of ​​the contribution of agriculture across the country. State, nationwide and beyond.

The most recent cohort started the program in September 2020. The group includes:

  • Kameren Carver, Warehouse Manager for Carver Oil, Milan
  • Elden Harry, Small Grain Crop Manager for Navajo Agricultural Products Inc., Farmington
  • Ashley Thompson, Customer Support Specialist for Ag New Mexico Farm Credit, Albuquerque and Edgewood
  • Justin Salcido, Director of Collateral Risk at Farm Credit of New Mexico, El Paso and Las Cruces
  • Brandon Sandoval, Director of Operations for Navajo Agricultural Products Inc., Farmington
  • Wayne Shockey, Eddy County Co-operative Extension Service, Artesia

The trip to Washington was one of the group’s last seminar activities before ending the program in January. Many participants said the trip was their favorite part of the program.

“The trip to Washington, DC was very educational. Having never been to DC before, I found DC’s history to be a strong reminder to never forget the past and use it instead for learning, ”said Shockey. “The tours and monuments were also a reminder to be a better person and to develop better leadership qualities to be a stronger spokesperson for the farming community.

Salcido added, “The Washington, DC seminar was a tremendous experience for the group. We appreciate everyone who works in Washington to defend and support agriculture and rural America.

Wilson said the program typically includes international experience, but the current cohort will not be able to travel overseas until graduation due to COVID-19 restrictions. She added that the group will join the next class on their international trip in 2022.

Recruitment is now underway for the next cohort, Wilson said. Applicants must be at least 25 years old and employed in the agriculture industry in New Mexico, among other requirements. The deadline to apply is November 1st.

For application details, Click here.

Author: Carlos Andres Lopez – NMSU

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Kevin E. Boling

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