As the new Treasurer-Manager of the Elephant Butte Irrigation District (EBID), Dr. Patrick Sullivan is taking a reflective approach as he works with the EBID Board to position the District to meet the changing needs of farmers in the region. Finding efficiencies across the District, particularly in light of the ongoing drought across the southwest, is a challenge that Sullivan and the EBID staff are focusing their attention on.
“Water is the life blood of the Rincon and Mesilla Valleys,” said Sullivan. "As EBID seeks to build on its legacy of service to farmers, I am committed to strategically positioning the organization and its members for the emerging needs and challenges of the 21st century.”
While new to his role at EBID, Dr. Sullivan is not new to the region or to the agricultural community. As a lifetime resident of the Mesilla Valley, he brings extensive expertise in both agriculture and engineering to the District. His background reflects a unique combination of policy and fiscal experiences. With over 35 years of direct experience in agriculture finance, business management, and financial analysis, Sullivan is well-versed in the agricultural issues and programs relevant to the region. He has developed improved agricultural financial management techniques for implementation by business owners and managers statewide through both group outreach programs and direct one-on-one assistance in his prior role as an Extension Economist at NMSU.
Prior to accepting the position as Treasurer-Manager, he served as the Executive Director of both the New Mexico Cotton Boll Weevil Control Committee and the New Mexico Pink Boll Worm Control Committee, providing both organizational and regulatory oversight. Dr. Sullivan also served as the Executive Vice-President of the New Mexico Cotton Growers Association and as an adjunct professor in the NMSU Department of Industrial Engineering. While at NMSU, Sullivan led a USDA state certified New Mexico Agricultural Mediation Program that focused on farm and conservation program compliance, agricultural credit, rural water loan programs, grazing on Forest Service lands, pesticides, and other issues the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture considered appropriate. In addition, Sullivan has served as an agricultural finance and tax expert before the United States Tax Court and the United States Bankruptcy Court.
Sullivan’s educational background took root at NMSU. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, a Master of Science in Agricultural Economics and Economics, and a Ph.D. in Engineering, all from New Mexico State University.
“As a long-time EBID member,” Sullivan says, “I am keenly aware of the impact the District has on the economic viability of agriculture in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.” He intends to serve as a resource for the District and its farmer members to ensure effective and efficient delivery of District programs while enhancing sound fiscal management.
Sullivan notes, “The convergence of issues surrounding the Rio Grande has implications that EBID must continue to address as a steward of surface water. The realities of ongoing drought conditions require EBID to operate with optimal efficiency, ensuring sound fiscal management, oversight, and transparency on behalf of its members.” He plans to work closely with EBID Board members and staff to identify opportunities for innovative and strategic approaches to leverage resources and broaden EBID’s connections and reach.
EBID has a long and successful history of delivering available irrigation water to its members. With over 100 years in operation, EBID is the steward of surface water in New Mexico’s southern portion of the Rio Grande Project for the benefit of EBID members in the Rincon and Mesilla Valleys.