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New Mexico... neither new, nor Mexico

Sparsely populated, the majority of the population live along the Rio Grande Valley in the three major cities – Santa Fe (State Capitol), Albuquerque and Las Cruces. Cattle ranching and farming predominate the rural landscape of New Mexico.

Its long growing season and mild climate with little feed supplementation in most parts of the State make ranching and farming an attractive proposition. Property taxes in New Mexico are low compared to most other States.

The Capital of New Mexico is Santa Fe, at an elevation of 7,000 feet. The Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, built in 1610, is one of the oldest public buildings in America. Santa Fe is also the oldest capital city in the U.S. New Mexico became a State in 1912. The whole State population is approximately 2 million, with more than a quarter living in Albuquerque.

Map of New Mexico
Tom's wife horseback in New Mexico's beautiful mountains

New Mexico is a beautiful State with great geological diversity; you can go from high desert, to grass-lands, to alpine high mountains. A multitude of recreational opportunities exist such as camping, hunting, hiking, trail riding, fishing, river rafting etc.


Some of the best skiing will be found in New Mexico, in the Rocky Mountains to the north (Taos, Red River, Angel Fire, Sipapu, Santa Fe) as well as Sacramento Mountains to the south (Ski Apache).


With a mild year-round climate, it lends itself to farming and ranching with long growing seasons in most areas of the State. 

There are very productive grasses and forage soils that are excellent for livestock grazing as  well as wildlife habitat. Some of the more commonly found grasses are blue grama, black grama, sideoats grama, western wheat and many others depending on area and soil.


Some typical shrubs that provide excellent winter feed are four wing saltbrush (chamisa) and winterfat. Typical soils are sandy, loams, sandy loams and, clay loams. Some less desirable plants include mesquite, cholla cacti and in the south, creosote bush.

Cattle grazing green New Mexico pastures
New Mexico productive irrigated farm

Farming and ranching have deep roots in New Mexico. About 2500 years ago the Mogollon people grew corn, squash, and beans. Native Americans, Spanish explorers, and Anglo pioneers all brought unique contributions that are still important to New Mexico agriculture today.

In some parts of New Mexico farming is done with water from irrigation wells or canals, while other parts are strictly dry-land farming. Wheat, barley, milo are some common farm crops, as are chile, alfalfa, sorghum and cotton among others.

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