Saturday, July 12, 2014

Big Creek Limited Partnership




I came across a web site that tracks who gets what in the way of USDA farm subsidies in New Mexico's First US Congressional District.

The leader in recent years has been Leroy C Cravens of Encino, NM, who received payments totaling $646, 924 from 1995 through 2012.

Cravens got the payments in the form of "Conservation Subsidies," "Disaster Subsidies," and "Commodity Subsidies," the latter category including "Livestock Subsidies," "Wool Subsidies," and "Sheep Meat Subsidies," according to the web site, which is run by the Environmental Working Group.

If you click on any one person's name  in the First District table it gives a breakdown of that person's take. Clicking "Next" at the bottom of the page reveals more names. Native and longtime New Mexicans may see names they recognize. I recognized the name of Patsy Guinn, a realtor in the Estancia Valley, where I used to live. The names of those who, like her, have received just a few thousand dollars, go on for page after page.

Some people are hidden behind corporation names or ranch names. Doing a search of that name sometimes reveals the owners. For example, Number 22 on the list, Two Arrow Inc., which received $72,566 in the 1995-2012 period, is, according to Bizpedia, owned by Rowena Green and Terri League.

They were easy to find with a simple internet search. The owners of number 11 on the First District list, Big Creek Limited Partnership, are more opaque.

Big Creek Limited Partnership received $100,000 in 2012 in the category "Disaster Subsidies," which places it 11th on the list. Nothing about the company's owners comes up after almost an hour of internet searching, not with a general search, or searches of specific web sites like the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, where you'd expect to find a company that does business in New Mexico.

The fact that Big Creek Limited Partnership's owners don't show up anywhere makes it stand out. It's even numbered, $100,000 subsidy is unusual -- most are odd amounts -- as is the fact that that the "Disaster Subsidy" was the only kind of subsidy it got. It got it for just that one year, and yet that amount places it high on the list. A shell company, set up to receive an illicit payment, might have a similar internet footprint.

If I was writing a newspaper article about the subsidies I'd want to look into the anomaly of Big Creek Limited Partnership. If I was actively working in the newspaper field I'd probably know who to call or where to look to find out who's behind that company, and what the $100,000 "Disaster Subsidies" payment was for. If I couldn't, I'd want to know why. If they are doing business here and aren't registered with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, I'd have to know why not.

There are, however, various bits of information on the internet about the company, but they only make it seem more mysterious. The web site Manta, where Big Creek Limited Partnership does show up, gives an address for the company of Vaughn, NM. It also lists, under the company's name, the names Wade Ranch and Old Burgeute Ranch, and there's a phone number. What are these two other ranches? Were they bought out by Big Creek Limited Partnership? If you took a drive out to Vaughn and asked around, someone would probably know something.

Another web site, Topix, gives a more complete address, 7971 US 54, Vaughn, NM, 88353, but otherwise gives less information than Manta.

The "street view" images at Google Maps for that address, oddly enough, were taken at night. I've never seen that before.




Panning out in Google's "earth view" does give a daytime view, but reveals that the address, on the east side of Vaughn, is uninhabited range land.






Google isn't always right, but the phone calls and maybe your little day trip to Vaughn would probably clarify things. It could be nothing, it could be something. If it was a case where someone knew that by filling out a form you can make yourself a quick $100,000, that would be one thing. If was a case where someone in the Martinez Administration had to grease the skids for the payment to be made, and there was also a campaign donation involved, that would be something else.

I'm not really implying that that's what it is, but I did want to put the thought into your head. It's in mine. Based on what I've learned I can't rule it out.


Perspective

I'd want to see how the subsidies handed out in New Mexico's First District fit into the big picture of Agricultural Subsidies, in the state and in the US. Is this small potatoes? If so, what's the real story? I'd like to know what Leroy C Cravens of Encino thinks about his subsidies. How do they fit into the picture of that kind of business? Do they coincide with his politics or contradict them?

My first thought was that his $646, 924 in subsidies from 1995 through 2012 might cover his expenses, leaving whatever he gets from selling his sheep or cattle as pure profit, but that might not be the case. And how would the two women who own Two Arrow Inc. explain their sizable subsidies or Patsy Guinn the realtor her smaller one?

The subsidy that farmers who are using public land get that comes in the form of the cheap use of our land isn't included in any of the Environmental Working Group's charts, nor are the costs of environmental destruction caused by cows and sheep scalping the landscape and allowing invasive species to overtake native species, or the resulting dust storms and erosion and the effects of all that runoff on lakes and streams. That might be looked into and mentioned in a story like this, and be the subject of another one.





2 comments:

  1. They are the first to scream about helping the poor while they help themselves to tax money.

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  2. Fascinating write-up. You ought to forward this journalism project to Staci Matlock or Laura Paskus who might take a shot at filling in some of the gaps.

    ReplyDelete