By Tony Parra
Trent Loos’ message on Monday night at the banquet launching the 13th Annual New Mexico Ag Expo was clear: Stand up for the life of a farmer and rancher.
Loos refers to himself as an agriculture activist and said he spoke at 30 states last year. He urged audience members to teach their children the importance of a farmer and rancher. He urged them to teach their children the cycle of life.
“Since 1940 we have chased the next generation off the farm,” Loos said on Monday. “We told the next generation the grass is greener on the other side.”
The banquet was the kickoff event for the 13th annual event, which runs today and Wednesday at the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds.
Loos said in 1862, when Abraham Lincoln was president and the United States Department of Agriculture was started, 57 percent of Americans were living on a farm producing enough food for a population of 20 million. According to Loos, now 5.5 percent of today’s Americans live on a farm and produce enough food for approximately 289 million Americans and export one-third of what Americans produce to other countries.
Loos earned on American Farmer Degree in Future Farmers of America. Loos started the “Loos Tales” radio talk show on KMZU in Missouri and now has three million listeners on 100 radio stations, including KSEL in Portales.
The banquet was sponsored Wells Fargo and Roosevelt County Farm Bureau and held in the Campus Ballroom of Eastern New Mexico University. Cannon Air Force Base Col. John Posner was present as one of the dignitaries of the banquet.
“We appreciate everything you do for us,” Posner told the audience. “It’s a great place to be at and to represent the fine men and women of the base.”
ENMU Vice President of Academic Affairs spoke on behalf of the university, while the Portales High School choir entertained the crowd. Mayor Orlando Ortega also spoke about the importance of the agriculture industry in Roosevelt County.
“God bless the farmer and rancher,” Ortega said. “They are the foundation of our community. It’s a community on the move and we owe it to the agriculture roots.”
Chester Hart, the 2005 Ag Expo Board Chairman, spoke on behalf of the Ag Expo Committee and Matt Rush of the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau was the master of ceremonies.