Less of New Mexico's famed chile crop produced in 2017

Mar 14, 2018

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico farmers produced fewer of the state's famed hot peppers in 2017, and data released by federal and state agriculture officials show the value of the chile crop has declined. The tallies for the last growing season show planted chile acreage decreased 12 percent to 8,100 acres (3,278 hectares) last year. About 94 percent of that was harvested. Production totaled 62,700 tons (56,880 metric tons) compared to 69,600 tons (63,140 metric tons) the previous year. Production has remained close to 60,000 tons (54,430 metric tons) or more over the last decade with the exception of 2007, when the number dropped below 50,000. Officials say nearly 80 percent of the 2017 crop was sold for processing, with the remainder going to the fresh market. The value of the crop dropped to an estimated $44.6 million.