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Cattle and dairy products top the list of major animal products of New Mexico. Cattle, sheep, and other livestock graze most of the arable land of the state throughout the year.
Limited, scientifically controlled dryland farming prospers alongside cattle ranching. Major crops include nursery stock, pecans, hay and chile peppers. Hay and sorghum top the list of major dryland crops. Farmers also produce potatoes, onions and dairy products. The state’s specialty crops include pinto beans, piñon nuts and chiles.
The Carlsbad and Fort Sumner reclamation projects on the Pecos River and the nearby Tucumcari project provide adequate water for limited irrigation in those areas of the desert and semiarid portions of New Mexico where scant rainfall evaporates rapidly, generally leaving insufficient water supplies for large-scale irrigation. Located upstream of Las Cruces, the Elephant Butte Reservoir provides a major irrigation source for the extensive farming along the Rio Grande. Other irrigation projects use the Colorado River basin and the San Juan River.
Lumber mills in Albuquerque process pinewood, the chief commercial wood of the rich timber economy of the northern portion of the state.
Mineral extraction: New Mexicans derive much of their income from mineral extraction. Even before European exploration, Native Americans mined turquoise for making jewelry. After the Spanish introduced refined silver alloys they were incorporated into the Indian jewelry designs. The state produces salt, perlite, copper ore, uranium ore, manganese ore, potash, beryllium, and tin concentrates. Natural gas, petroleum, and coal are also found in smaller quantities.
Industrial output, centered around Albuquerque, includes electric equipment; petroleum and coal products; food processing; printing and publishing; and stone, glass, and clay products. Defense-related industries include ordnance. Important high-technology industries include lasers, data processing, and solar energy.
Federal government spending is a major driver of the stste economy. The federal government spends $2 on the state for every dollar of tax revenue collected from New Mexico. This rate of return is higher than any other state in the country. The federal government also a major employer in the state providing more than a quarter of New Mexico’s jobs. Many of the federal jobs relate to the military. New Mexico hosts three air force, a testing range, an army proving ground and maneuver range, national observatories and the technology labs of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and Sandia National Laboratories (SNL). In addition to the military employers, other federal agencies such as the National Park Service, the United States Forest Service, and the United States Bureau of Land Management are a big part of New Mexicos rural employment base.
Virgin Galactic, the first space tourism company to develop commercial flights into space, has decided to put its world headquarters and mission control in Upham, New Mexico. Virgin Galactic will have its inaugural launch of the VSS Enterprise spaceship in 2008, and will begin launching ordinary citizens in early 2009.
Tourism provides many service jobs. Private service economy in urban New Mexico, especially in Albuquerque, has boomed in recent decades. Since the end of World War II, the city has gained an ever-growing number of retirees, especially among armed forces veterans and government workers.
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