The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Ag 50 members pass on mantle of leadership


October 6, 2019

PORTALES — A flood of new members attended the Ag 50 of Eastern New Mexico committee meeting Tuesday afternoon, showing interest in revitalizing the committee as older members turned over the mantle of leadership to a new generation.

Founding member Sid Strebeck turned over the chairman position to T.J. Curtis, who was elected Tuesday.

“It’s exciting to lead an organization of this caliber,” Curtis said. “I’m excited about cultivating relationships, making new acquaintances and broadening a positive message about agriculture as a whole.”

Curtis’ father, Blake Curtis, served as the committee’s first chairman when it was founded in 2004.

“He was the original chairman and now it’s my turn,” Curtis said. “I have a very broad background in agriculture. I grew up raising beef cattle, doing production agriculture, seed production and managed dairies in Kansas and Nebraska. I had the opportunity last year to come home and re-engage with the family business and now agriculture in all of eastern New Mexico.”

The committee will be run by its five executive members, the chairman, vice-chairman, secretary, treasurer and ex-officio. Each will serve for two-year terms.

Daniel Vander Dussen was elected vice-chairman, while Megan deMaio was elected secretary. The position of treasurer is still pending, with a candidate lined up but not confirmed. Strebeck will automatically serve as ex-officio after leaving the chairman position.

During the meeting, the committee discussed where to direct its efforts moving forward, with veteran members sharing the organizations history and past efforts.

“Agriculture is a huge sector of the economy in Eastern New Mexico and our voice is necessary,” Curtis said. “We decided today that we will have a focus on advocacy and educating our community.”

The committee hopes to hold meetings every few weeks from now on and will be required to meet at least quarterly.

In the future, Ag 50 hopes to host quarterly and annual events as well, where it can bring in industry experts to speak to the community about all elements of the agricultural industry.

Ideas for these events included breakfast presentations, agriculture trade shows, annual cookouts, tours of agriculture businesses and presentations by industry professionals.

The Ag 50 Committee has roughly $10,000 in savings from past membership dues, which it will use for its 2020 budget.

The committee’s main goal now is reorganization and recruitment, so it has waived all membership dues for 2020 and will have no limit on membership while recruiting.

Whether future funding will be provided by the reinstatement of membership dues, event revenue or other sources will be decided by the committee at a later date.

Ernie Kos, executive director of the Clovis Chamber of Commerce, started the effort to reorganize the committee as membership had waned over the 15 years since it was founded.

“We had five members of the original Ag 50 group and they were really re-energized by all these new members,” Kos said. “If we hadn’t seen the energy and enthusiasm of all these people involved we probably would have had to disband it.”

Kos said she hopes Ag 50 will continue to grow and expand in the coming years, hopefully becoming as big as organizations like the Committee of Fifty, the local military affairs committee that acts as a liaison to Cannon Air Force Base.


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