- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 4, 2015

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Federal officials say planted chile acreage in New Mexico dropped 10 percent last year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Wednesday that final production numbers came in at 58,700 tons in 2014 compared to 65,000 the previous year.

The value of New Mexico chile was estimated at $38.7 million, compared to $49.5 million in 2013.

Farmers blame the drop on drought, labor shortages and other market changes.

In addition, the department said there was a decrease for all varieties in acreage harvested from the 2013 crop year. Paprika harvested acreage dropped from 3,400 acres in 2013 to 3,100 harvested acres in 2014.

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