Every region in the Western United States has prospered from its agricultural heritage and the influence it has on the cultural diversity and traditions of local communities.

Agriculture is a major player in sustaining the economic well being of the West, and it has brought global attention to the premium food products that are grown and produced here. From Texas barbecue and the Southwest famous styles of chili to colorful produce shipped in crates labeled, Fresh From California. Let’s focus today on agritousim in New Mexico.

The Farm and Ranch Museum in Las Cruces, NM, is dedicated to the states 3,000-year agricultural history. The museum sits on 47 acres and offers a variety of unique experiences for visitors. At the 25,000-square-foot indoor museum there are exhibits showing the evolution of farming in the area. The displays start from the times of the first farming tribes and show the ancient tools and living quarters used by the natives. Other exhibits identify different crops and methods implemented from the early years of farming to modern times. Of special interest are the old-time general store, memorabilia and artifacts from area ranch families, living history demonstrations and video presentations.

The outdoor exhibits feature several animals, including longhorn cattle, dairy cows, goats, lambs, sheep and burros. Visitors also enjoy the working dairy and demonstrations of vintage farm equipment. There are opportunities for visitors to learn to rope, observe the techniques of saddle making and participate in Southwest and on-the-range cooking classes.

The museum also operates the Purple Sage Restaurant that specializes in New Mexico style cuisine. There is a Stahmann Museum Mercantile that offers a selection of fresh and roasted pecans, gift baskets, pecan candy and souvenir items made from pecans. Family members from area farms and ranches are actively involved in the work of the museum and are available to share their personal agricultural experiences and knowledge with visitors. Two special events are held each year: La Fiesta de San Ysidro in May and Cowboy Days in October. These events feature the heritage influences of the region and celebrate Mexican and cowboy traditions. Contact: 505-522-4100