Land Access


New Mexico Agrarian Commons

In partnership with the Agrarian Trust, Naya’s Refuge and Chihuahuan Desert Charities, NM Healthy Soil has created an Agrarian Commons in New Mexico.

Agrarian Trust has developed an innovative and robust model of shared land ownership in which agriculture, social and environmental justice, community well-being, and ecological stewardship are fundamentally intertwined.

Beyond solely conserving land, the Agrarian Commons is focused on ensuring economic opportunities and food security for its community. By holding land to provide long-term, affordable and secure lease tenure to farmers and ranchers for regenerative agriculture, the Agrarian Commons is strengthening local food and ecosystems at the same time.

New Mexico Agrarian Commons Values Statement


Reparative justice:
The Agrarian Commons centers people who have been marginalized from access to land in communities that have been subject to extraction and exploitation.
Learn more about how the Agrarian Commons model creates equity

Climate resilience:
The Agrarian Commons actively stewards and protects biodiverse ecosystems, including healthy soil and watersheds.
→ Learn more about the principles guiding the Agrarian Commons

Land donations:
Leave a legacy for future generations by donating your land to the New Mexico Agrarian Commons.
→ Learn how a land gift works

Founding Board Members

Patrick Jaramillo, President
Patrick was born and raised in New Mexico, a lifelong grower of food and steward of water. As New Mexico Program Co-Director of the American Friends Service Committee he works to protect access to land and water by the traditional peoples of New Mexico.
More about Patrick…

Shahid Mustafa, Vice President
Shahid founded Taylor Hood Farms in La Union, New Mexico, a small diverse farm dedicated to providing community members access to a variety of fresh, nutritious, locally grown vegetables. Taylor Hood Farms is also a farm incubator, offering education and training about local food systems and how to grow food using regenerative organic practices.
More about Shahid…

Rebekah Parr, Treasurer
Rebekah runs her management consultancy Heart Farm, which offers business finance, legal, and management tools. Heart Farm is also the affectionate moniker of the actual farm where she works and resides, located on 25 acres in Monticello, New Mexico, and where she hosts groups, retreats, and emerging creative space. The entire property has been decommodified by committing it in trust to Naya’s Refuge Inc. 501(c)(3).
More about Rebekah…

Isabelle Jenniches, Secretary
Isabelle co-founded the grassroots nonprofit organization NM Healthy Soil in 2018 which led to the successful passage of the state’s Healthy Soil Act in 2019. Drawing from her background in visual arts and community organizing, she attends to storytelling, communications and outreach as well as program development and coordination.
More about Isabelle…

Nathan M. Galaviz, Agrarian Commons Regional Coordinator
Nathan serves on multiple Agrarian Commons boards on behalf of Agrarian Trust to support existing and emerging land-based projects with real estate research, due diligence, transactional work, conservation easement, farm stewardship, management planning, and organizational / board administration.
More about Nathan…


Image: Agrarian Trust

New Mexico Farmland Facts

The Census of Agriculture defines a “farm” as “an operation that produces, or would normally produce and sell, $1,000 or more of agricultural products per year.” It does not distinguish between “ranches” and “farms.”


TOTAL AMOUNT OF FARMLAND: > 40 million acres

  • 40.659,834.2 acres of rangeland (96% of farmland)
  • 1.8 million acres of cropland (4% of farmland). One of every three acres of cropland is irrigated.

TOTAL NUMBER OF FARMS: In 2023, New Mexico reported 20,900 farms, decreased from 25,044 farms in 2017.

AVERAGE ACREAGE PER FARM:

  • Average farm size is 1,871 acres, increased from 1,624 acres in 2017.
  • 13,078 (52%) farms are less than 50 acres.
  • 4,565 (18%) farms are 1,000 acres or more.
  • The majority of New Mexico farmers are small-scale. 98% of farmers are categorized by the USDA as small farmers and 78%, as very small farmers (USDA NASS, 2019).

AVERAGE FARM REAL ESTATE VALUE: $610 per acre
The 2022 New Mexico average farmland real estate value, a measurement of the value of all land and buildings on farms, was $610 per acre. This is an increase of 1.7 percent from 2021 and 6.1 percent from 2020. The average value of cropland was $1,790, up 7.8 percent from 2021.

FARMLAND LOSS:

Privately owned farm and ranch land has been lost to urban development, declining 20% over the past 70 years. 

USDA/NRCS CONSERVATION PROGRAMS:

  • 2,888 farms used rotational management or intensive grazing, 10% less than the 3,198 farms reported in 2012.
  • 377 farms held 500,203 acres of land under conservation easements. This was a decline in the number of farms (from 430 in 2012) but a dramatic increase in acreage (from 184,973 in 2012). These changes may reflect differences in sampling between census years.
  • 1,338 farms used no-till farming practices on 138,401 acres.
  • 868 farms used reduced tillage practices on 218,922 acres.
  • 1,177 farms planted cover crops on 53,617 acres.

NUMBER OF FARM OPERATORS/PRODUCERS: 40,850 (2017)

PREVIOUS # OF FARM OPERATORS/PRODUCERS: 37,166 (2012)

AVERAGE AGE OF FARMER: 59.8 years — 40% of NM Farmers are over the age of 65

NUMBER OF YOUNG FARMERS IN NM: 2,848

NM FARMER DEMOGRAPHICS:

FARM INCOME:

  • 10 % of NM farmers earn less than $10,000/yr
  • 43 % report a loss
  • 25,507 of NM farmers have an off-farm job

Sources: State Agriculture Overview (2023), USDA/NASS State Agricultural Overview (2022) and Census of Agriculture, 2017


Resources on New Mexico Agriculture & Community

New Mexico Farm & Food Economy http://www.crcworks.org/nmfood20.pdf
By Ken Meter, Crossroads Resource Center, for New Mexico Healthy Soil Working Group, 2020

Building Soil Health in New Mexico http://www.crcworks.org/nmsoilhealth.pdf
By Ken Meter, Crossroads Resource Center, for New Mexico Healthy Soil Working Group, 2021



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