New Mexico Farmer Finds Success in Family Values

By: Michelle Hochstein and Kayla Wilkins, Communications Interns

Family values have proven to be the source of one woman’s success within agriculture.

As the vice president for Farm Credit of New Mexico and a board director for the Sorghum Checkoff, sorghum producer Verity Ulibarri is making strides in the agriculture industry.

Ulibarri, a fifth-generation farmer, said she always knew she would end up on the farm. She and her husband, Anthony, and two-year-old son started their own farming operation in 2011. They grow sorghum and wheat and run stocker cattle on approximately 1,700 acres of land.

“I grew up driving tractors and working cattle, all that kind of thing,” she said. “I’ve always had a liking for it and a desire to do that.”

Traditionally, Ulibarri said, women have not been as directly involved in agriculture because of the physical labor it requires. However, she said she believes females have always made an impact on the industry by aiding in the decision-making process.

Today’s women add a lot of strength to the industry by involving whole families in agriculture, she said.

“It is my goal to keep propagating the family-farm lifestyle,” Ulibarri said, “because I do think that it is important for kids to grow up with strong family values. It will make them strong contributors to society.”

As a Sorghum Checkoff board director, Ulibarri said she is excited about the opportunity to educate other producers about the benefits of growing sorghum.

With the drought and current water situation in New Mexico, she said she has been having a lot of conversations with farmers about considering grain sorghum, a crop that typically requires less water while providing a satisfactory return on investment.

“It is an important crop, and we need to help foster the knowledge and the growth of it,” Ulibarri said. “I think there are a lot of opportunities that we have started to tap, but it has not reached its full potential yet.”

This industry leader said she promotes the crop in other ways, as well, encouraging individuals to include more sorghum-based foods in their diets and informing them about the many products currently available.

Just as she has seen the success of sorghum in her area, Ulibarri said she would like to see that carry over to other regions as demand for sorghum continues to increase both domestically and internationally.

“Nationally, there is a lot of opportunity,” she said. “I think if we increase acres, that in turn will create more supply, then we can sell even more product abroad.”

Agriculture has become more progressive in order to keep up with the increasing demand, Ulibarri said, and she contributes her personal success within the sorghum industry to her upbringing.

“My parents raised me to be pretty independent, competitive, and to strive to do my best no matter what,” she said. “That is probably the biggest reason I am where I am today. It really has nothing to do with the fact that I am male or female, but that I have the ability and drive to do a good job.”