Farmer worries about the future of green chile in New Mexico | KOB 4

Farmer worries about the future of green chile in New Mexico

Brett Luna
Updated: September 01, 2020 09:39 AM
Created: September 01, 2020 09:21 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Agriculture has been hit hard this year by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Glen Duggins, a chile farmer in Lemitar, says workers are hard to find right now and crops are hard to sell. Right now he has only half the crew he had last year.

“If the last 50 years are any indication of the 50 to come, it’s over," Glen Duggins said. "When I was a kid there were farms up and down this road everywhere. There’s only a handful of farmers now."

Crews are picking around 300 sacks of green chile a day but that's down from closer to 1,000. Duggins said they just don't have enough people out picking. 

"Anybody that doesn’t want to do anything, well they blame it on COVID," Duggins said. "They’re getting unemployment plus whatever they’re getting. Nobody wants to work. Everybody is coddled. Everybody is spoiled.”

Duggins is worried if something doesn't change, New Mexico chile might be a thing of the past. If there aren't enough workers to pick the chile fast enough, they'll turn red right on the plant. 

There used to be more than 30,000 acres of green chile being grown in New Mexico, but now there's only about 7,000.  

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