Agriculture & Horticulture
Our county's agriculture must remain competitive within local, national and even international markets. This requires a continuous flow of appropriate technology addressing local needs within New Mexico. Our Extension program works to maintain and strengthen programs that address these needs. Water is one of the most important limiting resources for our county's agriculture. All aspects of water use affect agricultural efficiency and profitability. Water management will become more critical as water demands for urbanization and industrialization increase.
Noxious brush & weeds are found throughout Socorro County. Of particular importance, is the encroachment of Salt Cedar along the Middle Rio Grande corridor. Published literature estimates water consumption by Salt Cedar stands to be between 3 acre feet and 14 acre feet per acre annually. Salt Cedar deposits salt in the soil and increases salinity reducing water and land use efficiency causing loss of income to the ranching and farming community, as well as, negatively affecting wildlife production.
6,626 square miles make up the land mass in Socorro County. All but 21,240 acres are classified as range land. Range management education is the key to sustain ranching agriculture in balance with the environment. The large majority of the ranching enterprises are made up of intermingled private, state and federal lands creating the need for ongoing educational activities addressing current land management issues, as well as, natural resource issues relative to toxic plants and wildlife compatibility.
Annually approximately 48,000 head of cattle are used in beef production in Socorro County accounting for the largest Agricultural receipt in the County. Sheep and goats are a major agricultural enterprise on the Alamo Indian Reservation and are important culturally, as well as, economically. There is a large population of horses throughout the County. Profitable production is extremely important in all sectors of the counties livestock industry. Many profitable production practices are poorly understood and few producers use all proper practices.