A panel discussion for “Cowboys Real and Imagined”
Drought has descended on the Southwest for the last several years, leaving most of New Mexico’s agricultural land in conditions that demand new ways of thinking. Ranches have traditionally been one of the state’s largest industries, and that rainless sky means tough choices for people who juggle land management and environmental change. Many of them are adapting successfully, though, by reevaluating land use in creative ways. Their efforts help keep the legacy of the cowboy alive.
As part of the ongoing exhibit, Cowboys Real and Imagined, join us for a panel discussion on “Ranching in the 22nd Century: How We Get from Here to There,” at 2 pm on Sunday, March 2, in the History Museum Auditorium. Moderated by Courtney White, founder and creative director of the Quivira Coalition, panelists will address the issues facing ranchers in the current drought and the prospect of ranching in the future with a deeper understanding of environmental conditions.
A former archaeologist and Sierra Club activist, Courtney White co-founded The Quivira Coalition in 1997. He concentrates on building economic and ecological resilience in working landscapes, with a special emphasis on carbon ranching and the new agrarian movement. White's writing has appeared in numerous publications, including Farming, Acres Magazine, Rangelands, and the Natural Resources Journal. His essay "The Working Wilderness: a Call for a Land Health Movement" was published by Wendell Berry in 2005, in his collection of essays, The Way of Ignorance. In 2008, Island Press published White's first book Revolution on the Range: the Rise of a New Ranch in the American West. In 2010, he was awarded the Michael Currier Award for Environmental Service by the New Mexico Community Foundation.
Carrizozo rancher Sid Goodloe is a legend in New Mexico land stewardship. For nearly 50 years he has promoted the rejuvenation of habitat and watershed on his Carrizo Valley Ranch in southeast New Mexico. With Allan Savory, he developed and implemented changes through the use of holistic resource management. Founder of the New Mexico Riparian Council, he continues to be a champion of riparian recovery methods. Carrizo Valley Ranch is an educational showcase and sustainable ecosystem. He helped found the Southern Rockies Agricultural and Trust, a group aimed at helping ranchers place conservation easements on their land.
Born in south central New Mexico, Tom Sidwell (pictured above on his JX Ranch in Tucumcari) comes from a long line of pioneers. His family came to New Mexico from Texas in a covered wagon in the early 1890s and homesteaded in the foothills of the Capitan Mountains. His father was an old-time cowboy who worked on large cattle outfits; Sidwell grew up on a ranch and learned cowboying from him. After service in the U.S. Army, he graduated from New Mexico State University with a degree in Range Management. For many years, Sidwell managed large ranches in southwest Texas and in south central New Mexico. In 1980, he was introduced to Allan Savory's Holistic Resource Management principles, an intensive grazing system and planning system, which he successfully implemented on those ranches and his own ranch in Tucumcari.
With over 25 years’ experience in marketing and 10 years in nonprofit development and local food systems, Laurie Bower serves as director of the Southwest Grassfed Livestock Alliance. Based in Santa Fe, the nonprofit organization represents thousands of small family farms through New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and beyond. Through outreach and education, the alliance promotes the human, animal and environmental benefits of grass-based and local livestock products, while providing education and support to small family farms and ranches throughout the region.
Cowboys Real and Imagined explores New Mexico’s cowboy legacy from its origin in the Spanish vaquero tradition through itinerant hired hands, outlaws, rodeo stars, cowboy singers, Tom Mix movies and more. The exhibit grounds the cowboy story in New Mexico through rare photographs, cowboy gear, movies and art. It includes a bounty of artifacts ranging in size from the palm-sized tintype of Billy the Kid purchased at a 2011 auction by William Koch to the chuck wagon once used by cowboys on New Mexico’s legendary Bell Ranch.
Image: Tom Sidwell on his JX Ranch in Tucumcari. Photo courtesy Tom Sidwell.