- Associated Press - Thursday, January 25, 2018

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico lawmakers are taking steps to revive funding for public schools to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables from local farms.

Republican Rep. Jimmie Hall of Albuquerque said Thursday that $400,000 is likely to be included in this year’s House appropriations bill for the farm-to-school program. Spending was cut off last year as New Mexico struggled to fill a budget gap amid a downturn in the oil sector.

Public school districts across the state, from Taos to Deming, have relied for nearly a decade on earmarked state funding to purchase produce directly from local farmers.

Republican Rep. and livestock rancher Candy Spence Ezzell of Roswell wants the state to add locally raised meat and dairy products to the effort. She walked out on a committee vote Thursday that recommended refunding.

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