Can We Feed Ourselves? An Exploration of New Mexico Agricultural Production

By Mark Uchanski.

Published by Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: August 15, 2014 Free Download

New Mexico is not unique in that a majority of the agricultural products consumed in the state are imported from other states, or even other countries. In addition, most of the agricultural products produced within the state are exported to other states and countries. Although much of New Mexico’s surface area is non-arable desert or mountain, there are approximately 830,000 acres of irrigated agricultural land available for food production. This cropland is quite productive, and New Mexico hosts a wide variety of agricultural products including pecans, onions, chile peppers, peanuts, beans, and other edible crops totaling $451 million in cash receipts in 2010. However, is this production large enough to support the state’s population if imports from other states or countries ceased? In this study, commercial agricultural production data in New Mexico is summarized and compared to the caloric needs of a population of over two million residents. This paper describes how New Mexico’s edible food crop producers could easily satisfy the caloric needs of the entire state’s population with just eight of the currently produced food crops. Matching state, national, and global food production to consumption is an important topic as populations grow, but new arable land is in short supply. The aim of this research is to encourage preservation of irrigated agricultural land and empower local producers, local consumption education, and local procurement both within New Mexico and in other states.

Keywords: Local Food, Food Supply, Local Production, Locavore

Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Volume 3, Issue 3, November 2014, pp.1-9. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: August 15, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.621MB)).

Dr. Mark Uchanski

Assistant Professor of Horticulture, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA

Dr. Uchanski has twelve years of experience in vegetable crop research, horticulture education, and outreach. He teaches and conducts research at New Mexico State University located in Las Cruces, NM; the heart of the Mesilla Valley. His major research focus is aimed at developing a deeper understanding of crop physiology to address the many unique challenges faced by vegetable producers in the southwestern United States, and other arid regions of the world. Other research projects are focused on sustainable and organic vegetable production systems, including small landholders and local production/consumption.