This category will feature news releases from out-of-area government agencies and representatives, as well as events that are not taking place in the four-county area of Grant, Catron, Hidalgo or Luna. For those events please visit Local News Releases.

Statement by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on D.C. Circuit Court's Decision Regarding ABAWDs Rule

WASHINGTON, March 24, 2021 — Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack regarding the D.C. Circuit Court's decision to allow USDA to withdraw its appeal on the previously vacated final rule, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Requirements for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (84 FR 66782).

"We are pleased to finally put to rest a policy that would have restricted the ability of states to provide nutrition assistance to able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) during times of high unemployment. The rule would have penalized individuals who were unable to find consistent income, when many low wage jobs have variable hours, and limited to no sick leave. Groups with typically higher unemployment, including rural Americans, Black, Indigenous, Hispanic and People of Color, and those with less than a high school education would have been disproportionally harmed by this cruel policy."


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Raising Beef Cattle

Published on March 19, 2021

Article and photos courtesy of Tom Blanton (sent to the Beat from a reader)

cover photo

Spencer Case, writing in Quillette on November 7, 2018, expressed concern for the "tens of billions of land animals" killed every year "in so-called 'factory farms,' having lived lives of unrelieved mental and physical anguish, because humans enjoy eating their flesh."

When I read that, I was dumbfounded. It was so contrary to my experience raising beef cattle. The picture that accompanied his essay showing the faces of cattle staring through bars from a dark place sent me digging through my files for images from my time running a cattle ranch. I pulled up the above picture of our Charolais heifers being turned out into a pasture of smooth brome. As I looked at it, Case's description of "unrelieved mental and physical anguish" played over in my head. It's hard to imagine a more inaccurate description of the peace and contentment so apparent in this pastoral scene.

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New Mexico moves to 10-digit dialing to support 988 Suicide Prevention Hotline implementation

(SANTA FE, NM—MARCH 23)— The state of New Mexico will soon move to 10-digit dialing for all telephone calls made in state. Beginning on April 24, 2021, a 10-digit permissive dialing period will begin, during which time callers should begin the practice of 10-digit dialing, but seven-digit dialed calls will still complete. On October 24, 2021, 10-digit dialing will become mandatory, and seven-digit calls will not complete after that date. An automated recording will advise callers that they need to use 10-digit dialing at that time. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and telecommunications carriers are working diligently to implement this process.

The reason for the change to 10-digit dialing is that, on July 16, 2022, the FCC will implement a new, three-digit number to dial for its National Suicide Prevention Hotline, which will be 988. For technical reasons, the implementation of this number will require 10-digit dialing for all in-state calls, as described above. For more information, please see the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission’s website,

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ALA NM Girls State 2021 Session Goes Virtual

The American Legion Auxiliary, Department of New Mexico Girls State program board is pleased to announce the return of the ALA NM Girls State program for the 2021 summer session. For the safety of students and volunteers, the 2020 ALA NM Girls State session was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After much discussion by the ALANMGS Board and continuing concern for attendees during this uncertain time the 2021 American Legion Auxiliary New Mexico Girls State session will be held virtually from June 7 through 11, 2021.

Sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) organization, the ALA Girls State program is hosted in all 50 states offering this learning opportunity to more than 25,000 diverse young women each year across the nation to learn about their state’s government structure. The ALA New Mexico Girls State program was first held in 1948 on the Highlands University campus in Las Cruces, NM. Young Women who attend the program learn through hands-on experience responsible citizenship, leadership and a love of country and community.

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USDA Invests $266 Million to Improve Rural Community Facilities and Essential Services in 16 States and Puerto Rico

Funding Includes $156 Million for Rural Health Care and Emergency Response Services

WASHINGTON, March 23, 2021 – United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Justin Maxson today announced that USDA is investing $266 million to build and improve critical community facilities (PDF, 162 KB) to benefit nearly 3 million rural residents in 16 states and Puerto Rico. This funding includes $156 million to support health-care-related improvements and emergency response services that will benefit nearly 1 million rural residents in nine states and Puerto Rico.

“The Biden-Harris administration has made beating the COVID-19 pandemic and restoring the economy a top-priority, and USDA is playing a critical role,” Maxson said. “USDA Rural Development programs and services are in a unique position to help rural communities facing challenges caused by the pandemic. The investments announced today will spur community development and build sound infrastructure like hospitals and medical facilities to help rural America build back better and stronger.”

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White Sands Missile Range - US 70 Roadblock

LAS CRUCES - The New Mexico Department of Transportation District One office (NMDOT) along with White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) have posted an alert for Thursday, March 25.

US 70 will be blocked one time at 7:40 a.m. for approximately one hour.  This block will be located at 'RED BLOCK' (top of San Augustin Pass/mile marker 164) and 'YELLOW BLOCK' (White Sands National Park/mile marker 200). The Las Cruces Gate, Owen Road and Nike Avenue will also be affected.  

All roadblocks are subject to change without notice, please call WSMR at 575-678-2222 for updates or go to New Mexico Department of Transportation: or call 511.

Update on Oil Conservation Commission natural gas waste reduction rules hearing

Santa Fe, NM – On March 25, 2021, the Oil Conservation Commission (OCC) will hold a meeting to cast the final vote on the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department’s proposed rules on reducing natural gas waste. The final order has been compiled and is now available for review here.

The public can access the meeting and watch the vote live via WebEx, details on joining and the agenda can be found here.

All deliberations and hearing videos can be found on the EMNRD OCC YouTube channel.

NMSU regent chairwoman honored for service contributions

The New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association has awarded its highest honor – the King Service Award – to New Mexico State University Board of Regents Chairwoman Dina Chacón-Reitzel.

Named after former New Mexico Gov. Bruce King and his wife, Alice, the award recognizes individuals who “admirably represent” New Mexico, according to NMCGA, an organization that advocates to protect the rights of cattle producers in the state.

In selecting Chacón-Reitzel as the 2020 King Service Award recipient, NMCGA commended her for continually going above and beyond for New Mexico residents and the state’s agriculture industry.

“I am deeply honored to receive the King Service Award,” she said. “Alice and Gov. King were two of the finest people, both devoted to New Mexico agriculture, and true servant-leaders to all the people of the state. Their legacy will continue to benefit New Mexicans today and in the future.”

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