Gillis Farms

Jun 12, 2020 | Uncategorized



Driven by their mission and grounded by their core values, Farm Credit of New Mexico supports rural America by providing the agriculture industry with reliable, consistent credit and financial services. At a staff meeting this summer, Farm Credit of New Mexico CEO Alan Feit said, “If you don’t understand agriculture, you won’t understand Farm Credit.” That statement really stuck with me and made me think about the future of this institution. Unfortunately, the story of the agriculture industry has become one of the best kept secrets in the world. In order to ensure Farm Credit continues to fulfill

its mission, they are proactively looking for ways to spread the secret of agriculture by sharing the stories of the outstanding customer members of the Farm Credit System. One family that is no stranger to the Farm Credit System is the Gillis family of Arrey, New Mexico. The Gillis operation consists of three companies, ten family members, over 100 employees, and a legacy of quality produce and service. Their three companies are Gillis Farms Inc., Desert Springs Produce LLC, and Valley Custom Harvesting. They farm

about 3,500 total acres of “Hatch” green chile, “U.S. Best” onions, alfalfa, beardless wheat, and ensilage. Desert Springs Produce LLC, is better known as “the onion shed” around the community. This is where they process, package, and ship their fresh green chile and onions. Dale’s daughter, Savannah, is a fifth-generation Gillis farmer. She has an active role in the family business handling their food safety compliance. During my tour of the onion shed, Savannah said that her favorite time of year was when onion harvest was ending and chile harvest was beginning because the shed smelled like “fresh salsa!” The farms very own “U.S. Best” onions are shipped to 16 distribution centers from New Mexico all the way to Florida and their green chile is a New Mexican favorite! Valley Custom Harvesting is the newest business in the Gillis family operation where they harvest beardless wheat and ensilage for the surrounding dairies in southern New Mexico.

The Gillis farming family legacy began when Rose Riggs moved to southern New Mexico in 1918 with her family and started farming in the Rio Grande Valley. In 1954, her
daughter, Mary, and her husband, Dencil Gillis, began farming in the Hatch Valley. By 1964, they had built the first dehydrator in New Mexico where they dehydrated the first red chile. In 1983, Dencil and Mary began financing with Farm Credit and have been members of the Association ever since. When asked the question, “Why Farm Credit?” Dale responded, “Farm Credit understands agriculture. They understand what you are talking about, and they understand what you are going through as a farmer, where most other banks would have no sympathy.” They work closely with their loan officer of 11 years, Jacob Penn, and they have a great relationship with him. Savannah Gillis Turner is currently a FCNM loan Relationship Manager in Las Cruces, and she says she is thankful for the opportunity to work for the company that has done so much for her family. Like the producer, Farm Credit understands what it takes to run a successful operation, they understand loss, and they understand the joys and discomforts of the agriculture industry. I asked Dale why he decided to continue the family business instead of choosing another occupation, Dale’s response came as no surprise. He said it was the lifestyle. He wanted to raise his family on the farm. Farming is his family’s legacy and that, coupled with his faith, is what keeps him going when things get tough. Dale grew up on the farm, and with bright eyes and a smile he said “If I had to do it all over again, well I think I would do the same thing. Farming is a good life, sometimes hard, but a good one!

Whistleblower Program

The Audit Committee of Farm Credit of New Mexico has established a Whistleblower Program to receive anonymous and confidential reports from employees, stockholders, or vendors pertaining to fraud, inappropriate behavior, misconduct, or unethical business practices related to accounting, reporting accuracy, internal controls, or identified audit issues by Association employees. The program provides for the confidential, anonymous reporting of concerns. Reports can be filed online at or by phone at 1-866-384-4277. Additional information is also located on the Association website under the “About Us” tab and click on Governance.

Notice to Stockholders

In accordance with Farm Credit Administration (FCA) regulations, our Annual Report to Shareholders will be published on our website when the report is sent electronically to the FCA (within 75 calendar days from December 31). A paper copy will be sent to you within 90 days after December 31..


Whetten Family

Expanding Through The Generations

even as they aged, to continue attending in later years. Mark also never strayed from asking his father for advice, which was always given readily. Mark and Alison maintain full control over the ranch today. However, they continue to accredit its success to the faith Mark’s parents had in his ability to succeed.

Mark and Alison raised three children on the ranch – Casey, Austin and Alyssa. Upon graduation from high school, Mark and Alison encouraged each of their children to attend college. All three graduated with their respective degrees and are now raising children of their own and instilling the same family values they learned from their parents. Casey completed his undergrad at Utah State University in Mechanical Engineering and went on to graduate with honors from the University of Oklahoma College of Law. Upon graduation, he worked for the law firm McAfee & Taft as a patent and intellectual property attorney. A couple of years into his practice, Casey started to feel drawn back home after talking with his dad regarding his parents’ ranching business and its growth potential. With time, he shared these sentiments with his wife, Ann, and they jointly decided that moving to the ranch would provide their family with a unique, invaluable opportunity and allow Casey to combine his education and skills with his parents’ lifetime of ranching wisdom and experience. As a result, Casey and Mark have taken the family business to new heights, expanding the business tenfold. The family recently secured 100% ownership of Tucumcari Feed Yard, LLC, which is located just outside of Tucumcari, NM. The yard specializes in weaning calves, bulls, and growing and/or maintaining heifers cows. The yard is also verified natural and GAP certified. Additionally, the family expanded their cow\calf operation by adding the Poco Bueno Cattle Company, LLC, which operates on the Mora Ranch near Wagon Mound, NM. Expanding, growing and evolving is an important aspect of Whetten Land & Cattle Co. The Whetten’s accomplish this through honest, hard work in an effort to create something that can be passed on for generations.


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