Questa Agricultural Coop Opportunity
by Louis Herrera, Board Member of Questa Economic Development Fund, Contributing Writer
The Questa Land and Water Board is entertaining ideas from local farmers and interested residents to establish an Agricultural Cooperative on land presently owned by Chevron Mining Company. This type of cooperative community program supports the economic development and traditions of agriculture in our area.
The initial consideration is to acquire 300 acres of land with underground water rights. This acquisition would allow for the establishment of two alfalfa agricultural circles, plus four 1-acre greenhouses.
In conversations with the group Cooperative Catalyst of New Mexico, interest was expressed in providing a 2-hour online or in-person class, called Agricultural Coop 101.
Topics would include:
• Advantages / Disadvantages of coop model
• Vision / Mission
• Market analysis
• Business plan
• Funding research – loan preparation,
• Stage of operation
• Legal entity
The USDA, (www.fsa.usda.gov) and several other foundations have funding to assist in establishing these types of community Ag Coops. This would be a community effort to establish it with the Village of Questa, Chevron Mining Company, Questa Water & Land, and the Questa Economic Development Fund.
If you are interested in learning more about Agricultural Cooperatives and other Coops, information can be found at https://www.coopcatalystnm.org/. Let us know if you would like to participate in an Ag Coop 101 class, so we can get it scheduled; please contact Lynn Skall at QEDF to express your interest and for more information: Lynn Skall, firstname.lastname@example.org or Juan Cisneros, Questa Land & Water Board: email@example.com.