Dixon Apples

 

A came across a couple of articles on google news about the Dixon Apple Farm’s lease issues with the State Land Office: http://www.kob.com/article/stories/s2581329.shtml and http://www.KOB.com/article/stories/S2581497.shtml?cat=500 The first four photos are from our pilgrimage to Dixon’s with Susan and Lois in 2010. The fires and subsequent flooding wiped out the Mullane’s home and all the structures associated with the farm. Apparently 75% of the trees survived, but the farm was devastated. The last photo is of white daffodils.

The follow is a response I wrote to the articles about Dixon’s farm:

On the issue of the Dixon Apple Farm lease, there’s no arguing schools could use the $2.8 million the Mullane family is asking to help cover the damage to the farm from fire and floods last year. Yet public schools are bottomless pits when it comes to needing money, and considering the billions of dollars in deferred maintenance in New Mexico’s schools alone, $2.8 million becomes a piddling amount. To paraphrase Jesus — public schools will aways be with us. But the Dixon Apple Farm, which is such a unique part of New Mexico’s heritage, will not. Is it right to hasten the farm’s demise over $2.8 million and say “it’s for the children”?

Land Commissioner, Ray Powell, also does not believe the State should use tax payers’ money to subsidize the Dixon Apple Farm; but is it really a subsidy?  The Mullane family has made improvements to the land for decades, and the State should compensate them for those improvements. Yet if one insists on calling the $2.8 million the Mullanes are asking for “a subsidy”, subsidizing farms with tax payers’ money, if the tax payers approve or not, has been a passion of federal, state and local governments for as long as most people can remember. New Mexico’s farm subsidies have averaged $36.1 million a year over the past 15 years and totaled $38.4 million in 2009 and $20.5 million in 2010(1). In the tradition of farm subsidies, is $2.8 million really too much to help Dixon’s Apple Farm?

Since the apples that come from Dixon’s farm are unique to the area, maybe they should be considered endangered species. The State of New Mexico has no problem spending millions of dollars to protect silvery minnow and other threatened and endangered species, but from the way this lease issue is being reported, state officials don’t care to preserve one-of-a-kind endangered apple trees. Tying to preserve the Dixon Apple Farm, like protecting the silvery minnow, would be of great benefit to New Mexico.

Dixon’s apples are world famous. There is New Mexican history and heritage tied up in the Dixon Farm, and people will line up for miles to buy Dixon apples at harvest time. A trip to Dixon’s was a fun, social and entertaining event that became an annual tradition for many people in New Mexico and visitors from other states. Not only is Dixon apple orchard a farm, but it’s a destination and provides entertainment to thousands of people. New Mexico paid large sums of money to the film industry to make movies and TV series in New Mexico over the past several years. I believe one can argue that the film industry did not produce entertainment as wholesome as the Dixon Apple Farm or benefit New Mexico as much as Dixon’s.

The Dixon Apple Farm holds a unique place in New Mexico’s heritage, is endangered, historic, and not only offers world famous apples, but also tradition, entertainment and educational opportunities to anyone willing and able to travel to the farm. State officials should consider the Dixon Apple Farm a treasure that is worth trying to save.

(1) 2011 Farm Subsidy Database http://farm.ewg.org/progdetail.php?fips=35000&progcode=totalfarm&regionname=NewMexico