This week is National FFA week. This is a great time to recognize all the work and accomplishments of local FFA students.  FFA provides agricultural education and promotes ranching and farming. This past year, state membership grew from 4,400 to over 5,300.  FFA judging contests will be happening later this spring at NMSU where more than 1,800 FFA members will compete in 22 competitive events. Currently in District VI, from this area district officers include Kylee Jones as Vice President, Analeya Gonzales as Vice President, and Paige Treviza as Vice President. 

The Gila National Forest, Wilderness Ranger District office, located in Mimbres, remains closed. Normal business hours are expected to resume on February 27. Those visitors in immediate need of maps, permits, or information should contact the Silver City Ranger District at 575-388-8200 or visit us at 3005 Camino del Bosque, in Silver City.

In other Forest Service news, the aerial shooting of wild cattle in the Gila will proceed. After a ruling yesterday by a federal judge, the U.S. Forest Service may proceed with the killing of wild cattle in the Gila Wilderness from helicopters with high-powered rifles. A request for a temporary restraining order had been filed and heard by the judge, but resulted in a ruling that allows the U.S. Forest Service to proceed with their plans to slaughter around 150 cattle and leave them to decay in the wilderness. The New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association rejected the plan of the aerial shooting stating that it was an inhumane way to deal with the cattle and potentially destructive of the habitats the agency contends to protect from the cattle. Plus, the greater issue was not being addressed which were the poorly maintained wilderness boundary fences that led to part of the problem. The argument also includes the interpretation of whether the cattle were estray rather than feral. If the cattle were estray cattle, the cattle would be under the ownership of the New Mexico Livestock Board; thus, the U.S. Forest Service would not have jurisdiction to do the aerial shooting. The news has become of national interest, with the story being covered by New York Times and other national news media outlets. 

The Silver City P-Flag group will be having a question and answer session about what is like to be parents with LGBTQ+ kids and what is like to be a parent. This Q and A panel will be held on March 2nd, at 6pm, at the WNMU Miller Library.