Las Crucen, 87, Saw Agricultural Changes Cont'd

Image of Orren Beaty

Came to NM
Coming to New Mexico, for health reasons, he continued the same line of work. He recalls that he was too timid to stop at strange farms when he first started serving as a traveling agricultural adviser, but overcame his reluctance by sheer will power, as he continued a career of meeting and dealing with people who were not always to eager to accept his advice.

His initiation into the hospitality of the west, in the Land of Enchantment, was on July 4, 1992; he had just established offices in Lea County Court House on July 3, and the next day they drove to the ranch near Lovington where Dow Woods, a rancher, was having a big barbecue. No one invited the Beaty to get in line for food, so they returned to Lovington, only to find all the restaurants closed for the holiday! From this experience, he learned that "Y'all come" meant just that.

He lived at Clayton and Mosquero before moving to Lovington, and in 1934 moved to Roosevelt County, before coming to Las Cruces. When he moved to Lovington, Lea County was mostly ranching country with only a few farms and non of the oil and gas development which has made it one of the state's most prosperous areas. The county had no paved roads or streets, no railroads, and no irrigation wells; there were no professional surveyors or veterinarians closer than Roswell or Carlsbad. With a knowledge of surveying and animal diseases, Beaty was kept busy helping farmers prepare their land for irrigation when shallow water was discovered in abundance, and in helping stop some epidemics which threatened the basic cattle industry.

With success demonstrated, the popularity of the extension agent increased. He played an active role in getting the Texas and Pacific Railroad built into the county from the Texas line on the south to just north of Lovington. By that time, oil had been discovered in the county and Hobbs had become one of the state's booming cities.

Supervised 4-H Work
As county agent with no assistants, Beaty also supervised 4-H club work in the farming communities. Since there was no woman agent, he included in his duties teaching the use of the new-fangled pressure cooker in canning classes for the farm wives. He took teams of 4-H boys and girls to the annual state encampment, held at A&M College at Las Cruces; many high school students found this their first chance to see mountains, a river (the Rio Grande and the Pecos) and a large city (El Paso) on their way to Las Cruces. One of his livestock judging teams won the state championship and competed in the Western Livestock Show judging contest at Denver.

Mechanization was beginning to be known on the farms. Beaty relates that the tractor was eyed by farm youngsters and the first thing the kids wanted to do was learn to run it. When the depression-era farm programs were inaugurated, Beaty left the extension service and became an official of the Farm Security Administration with the state offices at New Mexico A&M College (Now New Mexico State University) to Las Cruces. Hess Terrace was partially developed at the time, and they bought a lot and built a house there in 1936.

Beaty's first wife, Edith Mason, whom he married while they lived at Clayton, was killed in an automobile accident in 1938. He and Opal List, then a home economics instructor at New Mexico State, were married in 1945; she retired a few years ago, and they have kept busy traveling, writing gardening. They have toured Mexico, eastern and western Canada, and Alaska twice. Mrs. Beaty has made other trips to Europe, but he says one continent is enough for him. His recent trips have been confined largely to attending class reunions in Oregon, and visiting relatives. His brother, S. L. Beaty, and two sisters, Mrs. Fannie Reader and Mrs. Mamie Hahn, live at Walkerton, Ind., and a brother, W.H. Beaty lives at Mulino, Ore.

A brother, Leslie Beaty, died during World War II. He also had been a county agent, and will be remembered by many adults who were in 4-H club work in Otero County under him. His daughter, Mary Margaret Blanton, lives in Florida, and a son, Orren Jr., lives in the Washington, D.C., area, while serving as an assistant editor of the Congressional Quarterly. A son, Billy, was killed while serving with the Merchant Marine during World War II. Beaty retired from Farm Security during World War II, but continued work for a time as manager of a farmers' cooperative at Cloudcroft. He later served two years as state director of the wartime farm labor program.

Finding it hard to stay retired, he also sold real estate with the George Quesenberry firm for a long time. He managed a ranch in Mexico for two summers. The Beatys lived on the cattle ranch, 60 miles north of Chihuahua during this time. He was among those who organized a chapter of the extension service fraternity, Epsilon Sigma Pi at NMSU Feb. 9, 1928; among the 11th charter, members were the late Fabian Garcia and Wilbur L. Elser, both directors of the state extension service, and Robert S. Conroy, Lillo H. Hauter and Edwin C. Hollinger, who was Beaty's assistant agent in Union County the last year he served there.

Active in civic affairs, wherever he lived, Beaty served in the New Mexico House of Representatives from the Union County in 1921-22, being one of the few Democrats elected in that part of the state in 1920-the year in which Merritt Mechem, uncle of former Gov. Edwin C. Mechem of Las Cruces, was elector governor.

Working with the late T. E. Mitchell, Beaty helped secure passage of the bill that created Harding County out of the southern part of Union county Mosquero, which became the county seat, was about six miles from Beaty's farm.

In recent years, he has devoted himself to work for St. Paul's Methodist Church, gardening, bridge-playing and fishing. He gave up deer and antelope hunting a few years ago.

He has remained an ardent fan of the New Mexico Aggies and attends as many of their football and basketball games as possible.