New Mexico farmer delivers last batch of chile

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – For the past few years, KOB 4 has been following chile famer Glen Duggins and his struggles on the farm from the pandemic shutdown, bad weather, and a lack of workers.

Now, the journey is over.

Duggins delivered his last load of chile to Nelson’s Meat Market.

“It’s kinda sad, but you know what, I’d do it again, it was a hell of a ride,” said Duggins. 

A bitter-sweet, and slightly spicy end to his nearly 40 year run as a chile farmer. He also picked up a number of nicknames along the way.

“Here in Albuquerque they call me the chile man,” Duggins said. 

For the last 15 years, Duggins saw chile sales drop dramatically. He blames state laws that he says have hurt farmers more than helped.

“Our overprotective, take care of your government has done it to us,” said Duggins.

Duggins is not alone in his frustration with state government.

For 55 years, Larry Nelson managed his family’s store, and says the struggles have trickled down to him as a business owner as well.

“We closed Sunday, Monday, yesterday, four people had to call in sick, we had to pay em,” said Nelson. 

They say the state’s policy on paid family and medical leave comes at the cost of business owners who are still struggling to find workers following the height of the pandemic.

“If they passed that paid family leave, I told my family ‘Hey let’s sell everything, move to the ranch,’” Nelson.

In the meantime, Duggins is done. 

Now, he returns to his fields to grow his other crops of hay, alfalfa and wheat.