Bill to Increase Funding Opportunities for New Mexico Agriculture Moves Forward
HB 289 Supports Entrepreneurial Endeavors that Add Value to Agricultural Products
Santa Fe, N.M. – House Bill 289 the Agriculture in Economic Development Finance Act passed unanimously through the House Business and Industry Committee. The bill, sponsored by Representatives Nathan Small (D-Las Cruces), Candie Sweetser (D-Deming), Debbie Rodella (D-Española) and Bill Gomez (D-Las Cruces) opens the statewide Economic Development Department funding to value-added agriculture. The bill originated from numerous meetings with constituents during the House Democrats’ Jobs Listening Tour before the legislative session.
“Value-added agriculture means more revenue for farmers and ranchers and new horizons for research and development. I’m proud to help lead this effort to increase economic opportunity,” said Rep. Small.
Rep. Sweetser said, “Agriculture plays a major role in my district’s economy, and this bill will allow our farmers and ranchers to tap into the entrepreneurial spirit and create new jobs in their industry.”
Value-added agricultural products are agricultural commodities transformed into products ready for sale, like salsas, jams, milled flour, cheese, etc. Value-added agriculture builds on New Mexico’s existing agricultural sector and seeks to expand the industry to create jobs and spur economic development.
“My district’s agricultural community already creates new products that highlight our unique culture,” said Rep. Rodella. “This bill will give our communities the resources to build on their industrious spirit and promote our heritage through business expansion.”
“The unanimous support for HB 289, shows that we have a bill that everyone can get behind,” said Rep. Gomez. “Making funds available for value-added agriculture will expand economic opportunity in rural areas, and support new businesses. I’m pleased that the agriculture industry will get credit for the $12 million it adds to our state’s economy and the ability to build on their success.”
The Agriculture in Economic Development Finance Act explicitly includes language that permits value-added agricultural businesses to access federal monies and loans administered by NMEDD. The bill now moves to the House Floor.