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New Mexico’s ag production topped $3 billion in 2021


New Mexico’s total value of agriculture production was $3.17 billion in 2021, five percent above 2020, state Department of Agriculture Sec. Jeff Witte said as NMDA released agricultural statistics for 2021.

“New Mexico chile and pecan production ranked in the top two spots in the United States in 2021,” Witte said. Also contributing to the state’s value of production, onions ranked third in the nation at $128 million, milk ranked ninth at $1.26 billion and cattle and calves ranked 16th at $1.07 billion.”

“New Mexico agriculture has a great story to tell, and our producers live it every day,” said Witte. “The statistics are a reflection of the hard work and dedication of those in the agriculture sector. We would not be able to fill our plates if it weren’t for those who live every day tending to the crops and livestock.”

Highlights from the 2021 economic analysis of New Mexico’s farm sector:

  • The value of New Mexico livestock production increased slightly to $2.41 billion in 2021. Crop value increased to $756 million, up 15 percent.
  • In gross farm income, Doña Ana County, generated more than $420 million, third highest in the state, behind only Curry County ($615 million) and Chaves County ($484 million).
  • Milk prices were unchanged at $16.3 per hundredweight. Cattle prices increased six percent from 2020 to $1,100 a head. Alfalfa hay prices were up sharply, averaging $236 per ton. The price for pecans averaged $2.40 a pound in 2021, up 54 percent from 2020. Chile prices were up 15 percent from 2021’s $882 per ton. Prices also increased in 2021 for corn, cotton, onions and wheat.
  • There were 24,700 farms in New Mexico in 2021, down 100 from 2020. The number of farms in the state reached 25,000 in 2017 and has not been below 24,700 for at least 10 years. The average farm size is 1,619 acres. NMDA said there are just over two million farms in the U.S., with an average size of 445 acres.
  • New Mexico’s inventory of all cattle and calves was 1.3 million as of Jan. 1, 2022, down six percent from 2021. Milk cow inventory decreased 13 percent to 292,000 head. Sheep and lamb inventory totaled 90,000 head as of Jan. 1, 2022, down six percent from 2021.
  • Two fire complexes – the Calf Canyon and Hermits Peak Fire and the Black Fire – consumed more than 666,000 acres of New Mexico land in 2021.
  • New Mexico was fourth in cheese production in the U.S. in 2021, with almost 960 million pounds produced, 6.9 percent of the U.S. total. Wisconsin was tops with almost 3.5 billion pounds produced in 2021, more than 25 percent of the national total. New Mexico has produced more than 4.5 billion pounds of cheese since 2017.
  • Pecan production in New Mexico totaled 78.7 million pounds in 2021, equal to 30.8 percent of U.S. production. The total was down 100,000 pounds from 2020. The total value of production was $188.9 million. Georgia led the country in pecan production with 88.6 million tons produced in 2021, 34.7 percent of the national total.
  • Chile production totaled 51,000 tons in 2021, down 22 percent from 2020. 8,700 acres were planted, unchanged from 2020. The average yield was six tons per acre, down two tons from 2020. At 4,500 acres in 2021, the red chile harvest increased by 300 acres. The green chile harvest was unchanged at 4,000 acres. New Mexico produced 61 percent of the U.S. chile pepper crop in 2021. California produced the other 39 percent.
  • Doña Ana County had 1,946 farms in 2017, the most recent agriculture census year, with just over 25,000 for the whole state. Doña Ana’s farms totaled 528,270 acres. The average farm size was 270 acres. The value of products sold was over $370 million. The average net farm income was $41,662. In 2021, the county had 2,400 acres in planted cotton, fourth behind Lea, Luna and Eddy counties. It had 31,500 acres in pecan production, compared to 45,000 acres for the whole state. Doña Ana County had 58,000 head of cattle as of Jan. 1, 2022. Chaves County was tops in the state with 170,000 head.

To read the full report, visit www.nass.usda.gov and check for the state-by-statistics.