Above: The Mayberry family. Front row, Hannah Mayberry, Craig’s wife, with daughter Jacqueline. Back row, Craig Mayberry holding his daughter Elena; Sandra Mayberry; Bob Mayberry holding grandson Corbin, Jaqueline’s son; and son Jeff Mayberry. Below: Bob Mayberry’s father, Bob L. Mayberry ( Photos courtesy of the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum).
LAS CRUCES — A family that has been growing a variety of crops in the Artesia area for generations is featured in the “Meet the Producers” exhibit at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces.
“Meet the Producers” is a wall exhibit in the museum’s Horse & Cattle Barn that changes every few months to feature individuals and families in New Mexico who produce food and fiber.
The Mayberry family operates in the Pecos Valley near Artesia where they have grown many crops through the years, including cotton, wheat, oats, cucumbers, chile, cantaloupe, bell peppers, onions and alfalfa. Today, most of their production, including alfalfa, wheat silage and corn silage, is sold to the local dairy market.
Bob and Sandra believe farming is a family affair and that there are few occupations today where family is so engaged with the daily work of making a living. Bob and Sandra met while attending New Mexico State University. Sandra studied marketing and Bob, economics. They married in 1985 and began farming and raising their family. Bob followed his father and grandfathers into the business of agriculture.
Farm life has changed a great deal over the years. Strong labor was the original key to growing crops, and many hours were spent irrigating, weeding and harvesting by hand. It took long hours and strong muscles to get the work done.
Today, technology has changed the focus of the farmers’ efforts. The Mayberrys use genetic engineering, target-based pesticides and crop consultants for plant nutrition and pest control, and GPS equipment for precise planting and harvesting.
In 2015, there were 315,000 dairy cows in New Mexico. Each cow produces approximately 24,245 pounds of milk per year.
The 47-acre New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum is located at 4100 Dripping Springs Road in Las Cruces and is part of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call 575-522-4100.