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

Ag 50 hears speaker on World Food Security


November 17, 2019

CLOVIS — The Ag 50 Committee opened its first quarterly meeting since its reorganization with a bang by inviting Tara Vander Dussen, a local dairy farmer, environmental scientist and global dairy industry advocate, to speak.

Vander Dussen advocates for the dairy industry across the nation and recently traveled to Rome to attend the United Food and Agriculture Committee meeting on World Food Security. She often goes by the online handle the “New Mexico Milkmaid.”

“I grew up on a dairy farm in Portales and married a fine dairy farmer here,” Vander Dussen said. “I work as an environmental scientist for a consulting company that works primarily with dairies and farmers throughout the state.”

The World Food Security meeting is put on by the United Nations and the issues addressed there can affect farmers around the world. Vander Dussen attended as a representative of the Global Dairy Platform, a part of the international Private Sector Mechanism group.

Time constraints didn’t allow her to speak at the main event, but she did speak at several side events put on by Private Sector Mechanism, where she met with farmers and ambassadors from different countries.

The biggest issues Vander Dussen said were addressed were the rising number of food insecure populations across the globe and the disconnect between the people making the laws for the agricultural industry and those running the farms.

“Food insecurity was decreasing until about four years ago. Now there are over 820 million people who are food insecure,” Vander Dussen said. “One of the biggest things is the challenge of food aid. We think we could give all this food to the Red Cross to send overseas to areas with a famine or that are food insecure because of a war. But then when you dump all this food into the area, the food from local farmers is suddenly worth nothing.”

Farmers at all levels attended the UN’s meeting, from those who run large dairy operations to small-time farmers who band together to sell milk from individual villages.

Also in the Ag 50 meeting, Beverly Idsinga, executive director for Dairy Producers of New Mexico, presented a report about the dairy industry in New Mexico and Curry County and the issues it faces at the state and federal level.


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