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Gray named Livestock Inspector of the Year

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[Note: This post has been updated to clarify information.]

A local man has been honored by the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association.

Justin Gray of Roswell, 2020 Livestock Inspector of the Year (Submitted Photo)

Justin Gray, a regional supervisor based in Roswell with the New Mexico Livestock Board, has been named the 2020 Livestock Inspector of the Year for his work following an August 2020 commercial truck accident on U.S. 70 between Roswell and Elida.

“I was surprised, really,” he said about the award. “I didn’t think it was anything really too special, but it was an honor for sure.”

Gray received a belt buckle and was recognized during the Dec. 18 Legacy Awards Ceremony of the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association Joint Stockmen’s Convention.

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The Livestock Inspector of the Year award has been given annually for more than a decade.

Gray was nominated by peers and Cattle Growers’ Association members and selected by association leadership for his efforts after the accident.

Gray said he and his team members worked with first responders to remove dead Jersey heifer cows from the overturned livestock trailer, euthanize those too injured to be saved and ensure the safe transport of those that survived to a dairy in Dexter.

Gray said that truck accidents involving livestock do occur once in a while, with him having dealt with one before August 2020 in Albuquerque, as well as two others since in this region of New Mexico.

According to an awards announcement, a New Mexico State Police officer commended Gray for his excellence and for his long hours of difficult work.

“He assisted in the removal of deceased and live cattle from the overturned trailer for approximately six hours without any complaint. Inspector Gray worked tediously from start to finish of the incident,” Trent Eby said.

A leader with the Cattle Growers’ Association commended Gray for his conduct.

“Justin Gray demonstrates the integrity expected from New Mexico Livestock Board inspectors,” said President-Elect Loren Patterson. “It is an honor to spotlight Justin and thank him for his dedication to our industry.”

Livestock inspectors are certified law enforcement officers, with Gray having graduated from the academy in Hobbs. Gray said that livestock inspectors also work to regulate disease and enforce state laws regarding livestock.

Gray first joined the Livestock Board in 2014 after earning a degree in ranch and feedlot management from Clarendon College in Texas. He worked in Roswell for a time, but then was transferred to Albuquerque.

He left the Livestock Board in 2016 to work in the farming industry in Texas for two years.

In 2020, a couple of years after rejoining the agency, he was named a regional supervisor and returned to Roswell with his wife and family. He has responsibility for District 5 and District 11 in Chaves and Eddy counties.

His parents, Joe and Karen Gray, also do some ranching in the area.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.