TV crew filming ag show in Portales

Argen Duncan

A crew from a Louisiana agricultural television show has been filming in Roosevelt County all week.

Every year, the Louisiana Farm Bureau-produced “This Week in Louisiana Agriculture” weekly show holds a contest in which viewers write to tell staff why they should come to the viewer’s town, said host Michael Danna.

This year, Roosevelt County rancher Matt Rush, who watches the show online, won.

“We were impressed with all things he included in his application,” Danna said. “We probably have less than 175 dairies in Louisiana, and the average herd size in those dairies is probably 100 head.”

Danna said the local 2,000-cow dairies seem massive by comparison. He was also impressed that New Mexico farmers operate under a lot of regulations, while Louisiana farmers have few.

Since Sunday, Danna and his four other crew members have profiled Rush, filmed spur-maker Stewart Williamson, interviewed Pat Boone about his wind farm near Floyd and more.

“That’s the best thing about Portales so far: It’s filled with real people who have great stories,” said Executive Producer Avery Davidson.

As the crew talked to people, Danna said, green chile came up as Portales’ signature crop. Louisiana has few vegetable growers, he said.

“It’s kind of interesting for us to see a crop like that grown on such a large scale,” Danna said.

The crew spoke to chile farmers Rick and Evelyn Ledbetter.

Rick Ledbetter said he showed them his green chile field and the people picking the crop Tuesday, and the Louisiana group visited with his wife at Portales Farmers Market on Monday.

Ledbetter said he enjoyed explaining his operation and promoting green chile in his first television interview.

“I hope it kind of opens up the world’s eyes to the chile situation in New Mexico,” he said, adding green chile is the state’s unique signature crop.

In other aspects of agriculture, Danna said he and his crew spoke with Randy and Diane Lieb about their good milo crop near Dora and talked to Roosevelt County Community Development Corporation Executive Director Greg Fisher about the economic impact of dairies.

Also, senior videographer A.J. Sabine said he’s seen agricultural operations all over the country, but he’s never seen any have it together as much as Sunland Inc. and Chief Executive Officer Jimmie Shearer.

Sabine was also impressed when a stranger stopped to see if the group needed help when they were filming beside a road.

Ag Minute Reporter Kristen Oaks said she’d never seen people with such passion for their work.

“These people love what they do, and they’re good at it, and it shows,” she said.

Danna said his crew traveled to New Mexico because farmers want to know what their colleagues around the country and world are doing.

“Really what I’d like our viewers to take away, both farm and non-farm viewers, is that no matter where you are in the country, you’re impacted by agriculture whether you know it or not,” he said.