The New Mexico Agriculture and Food Supply Chain Atlas is an online map providing location and contact information for New Mexico businesses in the agriculture and food supply chain including aggregators, processors, warehouse and storage facilities, transportation firms, farmer’s markets, and commercial kitchens(see figure). The purpose of the Atlas is to increase awareness and use of agriculture and food supply chain businesses in the state.
The Atlas will facilitate the efforts of policymakers, researchers, producer and consumer advocacy groups, and the general public to identify policies, programs,and investments that will increase the number of agriculture and food supply chain businesses in New Mexico;strengthening the ability of the state’s food system to meet the growing retail, whole sale and institutional demand for locally produced and processed food.
Agriculture and food businesses are core components of New Mexico’s food system. The system’s strength is vital to the health and prosperity of New Mexico farmers, ranchers, residents, families, and communities. The goal of the Resilience in New Mexico Agriculture project is to establish a resilient New Mexico agriculture and food system capable of withstanding new challenges, while strengthening and growing the state’s agriculture and food processing sectors, and promoting a robust local food system to meet growing consumer and institutional demand in the state for locally produced and processed food.
The project, a joint New Mexico Cooperative Extension and New Mexico First effort begun in 2016, seeks to address unprecedented challenges to the health of New Mexico’s agriculture and food businesses–issues no one farmer, rancher or business can tackle alone. At 13 regional meetings across the state, over 600 stakeholders identified significant issues facingNew Mexico agriculture and food businesses, including low net cash incomes to farming and ranching; an aging farming/ranching population; rising land prices; water supply uncertainty due to prolonged drought and changing weather patterns; and limited value-added activities.
Following the completion of the regional meetings and the compilation of their findings in a published background report and companion data book, a 35-member task force of industry leaders and experts was assembled to develop recommendations coupled with specific, actionable strategies for addressing many of the challenges New Mexico agriculture and food businesses are facing. The task force produced – The Resilience in New Mexico Agriculture Strategic Plan.
A key finding of the regional meetings and background research is the disconnect between what New Mexico agriculture produces/processes and the food that New Mexico consumers want or can purchase. Best estimates suggest that no more than 5% of New Mexico grown and processed food is consumed within the state.
To facilitate New Mexico producers and supply chain businesses to seize this market opportunity, the New Mexico Cooperative Extension Service, in collaboration with the NMSU Department of Geography Spatial Applications Research Center (SpARC), has developed the New Mexico Agriculture and Food Supply Chain Atlas. The Atlas, an online locator map of New Mexico food-related aggregators, processors, warehousing and storage facilities, transportation firms,farmers’ markets, and commercial kitchens, will enhance opportunities for connecting food producers and consumers in the state.
Development of the Atlas addresses Recommendation 10 in the Resilience in New Mexico Agriculture Strategic Plan–“Identify and increase the supply chain infrastructure for small and medium-scale producers of animal products and specialty crops (i.e., cold and dry storage, processing and packaging, transportation and commercial kitchens.)”