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Success Stories

USDA Grant Helps Rancher Make Hay While the Sun Shines

Nicole King
Small Business
Man stands next to farm equipment

Peñasco, New Mexico is the kind of place where everyone knows everyone, and a lot of people have multiple jobs in the community. It’s the kind of place where you might go into an automotive shop and end up talking to the local water association vice president.

Ivan Roybal, owner of Roybal Ranch, is just that kind of resident. He was born and raised in Peñasco. Aside from owning a ranch, he also owns A1 Automotive and Towing, and is the Peñasco Mutual Domestic Water Consumers Association vice president and water operator.

man stands next to hay cutting equipment
Ivan Roybal, owner of Roybal Ranch, poses for a photo next to his new sickle bar mower at his ranch in Peñasco, New Mexico, April 26, 2024.

Roybal is a rancher and a farmer. If you talk to him, you may hear him talk about the challenges of farming and his passion for the community. Thanks to help from a USDA Rural Development Rural Business Development Grant, his farming work going forward will be a little easier.

MAS Comunidad, a nonprofit supporting Peñasco and the surrounding communities, helped purchase new farming equipment for Roybal Ranch using the Rural Development grant. His new sickle bar mower is longer and faster than the one he already had and his new hay tedder and will help the hay dry faster once it is cut.

“It brings in more labor,” Roybal shared when asked how the machines would help his business and he community. “Now we can run two tractors with two cutters. We can hire two more guys. Two tedders -two more guys. We can get the process done a lot more efficient and a lot quicker.”

Roybal grows 10 acres of hay on his property and grows 100 acres of hay on leased land about five miles from his ranch. He produces 4,000 to 5,000 bales of hay over a four month season every year.

Dirt road at entrance to Roybal Ranch
The Roybal Ranch sign sits at the entrance of the ranch in Peñasco, New Mexico, April 26, 2024.

“We cut for fifty-fifty because a lot of these owners don’t have equipment or machinery,” said Roybal. “We go do all the work and keep half of the hay. If they want to keep the hay, we charge them. We take the other half and sell it so we can pay the workers.”

Roybal's business provides employment opportunities for the local community and offers the convenience of buying hay locally.

“The equipment has gotten very expensive so I’m very appreciative that the grants are there to help us out as farmers,” said Roybal. “To come up with $15,000 off the bat, that’s probably a whole summers worth of bucking and bailing hay. This will help us get the work done a little quicker, hire some new hands, and we are still providing to the community.”

To learn more about Rural Development grants visit the programs page. Visit the MAS Comunidad website to learn more about the nonprofit and how it helps the community. For more photos visit Rural Development Flickr.

Obligation Amount:
Year(s) of Obligation:
Congressional District:
  • New Mexico: District 3