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October 13, 2020


Angie Poss, Assistant Commissioner of Communications


State Land Office and Healthy Soil Working Group Team Up for Webinar Series

SANTA FE, NM – The New Mexico State Land Office and the NM Healthy Soil Working Group have teamed up to offer a series of informative webinars for state trust land agricultural lessees and the greater agricultural community. The first in the series will take place this afternoon, Tuesday, October 13th, from 1:00 – 2:00 pm (MDT) on Zoom. The first webinar in the series, titled “Groundwater, Soils & Management: Complexities and Connections” will feature Dr. Kate Zeigler of Zeigler Geologic Consulting, and Emily Cornell, owner of Sol Ranch outside of Wagon Mound, NM.

Dr. Zeigler is the owner and senior geologist of her Albuquerque based consulting business. Born in Montana and raised in Texas, she came to New Mexico in 1999 to continue her studies of geology, earning her Ph.D from the University of New Mexico. Kate found her calling using her skillset to provide information about groundwater resources to agricultural producers and rural communities.

“The webinar title, ‘Complexities and Connections’ really only scratches the surface when we consider what New Mexico farmers and ranchers face in their daily lives. In my career, I’ve focused on the challenges of groundwater resource management and now am learning to think about the connection to the soil,” Dr. Zeigler said. “What I hope people come away with after the webinar is an understanding of how complicated this system is and how to better assess how they use these resources in their operations.” 

Emily Cornell runs a cow-calf, grass-fed beef ranch. It’s part of the same ranch she grew up on and where her parents still run a cow-calf operation. Emily returned home to lease part of her family’s land after receiving her B.S. in Environmental and Organismic Biology from Ft. Lewis College in Durango, CO and then working for the Manti-La Sal National Forest in Utah as a range technician.

“Sol Ranch strives to manage for biologically diverse ecosystems with healthy soil by using innovation in our approach to grazing management, infrastructure development, monitoring, and collaborating with scientists and neighbors,” Emily said. “I want to share my experience with this approach to range management along with some ideas I’ve gained through my continuing education in land management with others in the state who may benefit.”

The State Land Office leases nearly 9 million acres of state trust land to ranchers, farmers, and agricultural producers across the state. The webinar series with the Healthy Soils Working Group is part of a continued engagement effort to provide resources and information to nearly 3,500 grazing lessees.

“My family operated ranches on the eastern plains and northern mountains of New Mexico, and I understand that these operations can, at times, be under a lot of strain,” Commissioner Garcia Richard added. “Whether it is drought and climate change, or changes in production prices, or just keeping up with new science – we want our agricultural lessees to know that we care about them and want to help them succeed at every turn.” 

The collaboration with the NM Healthy Soil Working Group is not the first instance of the State Land Office engaging with an organization to offer informative webinars to agricultural lessees. Three drought related webinars took place in the summer of 2020 in partnership with the Quivira Coalition, the Coalition to Enhance Working Lands, and the Western Landowners Alliance.

The second webinar in the series with the NM Healthy Soil Working Group, “Greater Profitability Through Soil Health,” will take place Tuesday, November 10th, from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm.

Registration is required for each webinar, and can be found online here. Those wishing to access the webinar by phone can call 505-231-8471 to register. 

Under the leadership of Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard, the New Mexico State Land Office has seen back-to-back years of revenue over $1 billion. Over 13 million acres of state trust land are leased for a variety of uses, including ranching and farming, renewable energy, business development, mineral development, and outdoor recreation. The money earned from leasing activity supports 22 beneficiaries – New Mexico public schools, seven universities and colleges, the School for the Deaf, the School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, three hospital, water and land conservation projects, and public building construction and repair.