Artesia has four primary economic drivers – oil & gas production, oil refining, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, and Agriculture, including dairies, farming and ranching. As a direct result of our base economic industries, our economy is very strong. The unemployment rate in the Artesia area is well below the national average, household incomes are among the highest in the state, and real estate values have held steady or even increased over the last 7 years.
Oil and Gas Production
The main event for Artesia’s economy is the production of oil and gas. Approximately 20% of Artesia’s workforce is employed directly by development and production of oil and gas. A variety of careers are in high demand, including scientists in engineering and geology, professional services such as land, legal and accounting, and field work such as lease operators, trucking/hauling, and a variety of specialty work. More than 100 million barrels of oil and 750 cubic feet of gas have been produced in the fields of Eddy County in just the first few years of this decade. Major employers in production and field service include locally owned Yates Companies, Chase Companies and many smaller production and service companies, as well as Concho Resources, Halliburton and Devon Energy, among others.
Artesia is home to Navajo Refining Co., a refinery owned by parent company HollyFrontier based in Dallas, Texas. Navajo Refining is Artesia’s largest private sector employer with more than 650 employees. The refinery has spent more than $80 million in recent years on upgrades and expansions, resulting in an increased refining capacity of more than 100,000 barrels of oil per day. Gasoline and diesel are the refinery’s primary exports, but numerous other products are produced, including jet fuel, asphalt, fuel oil, and many bi-products.
Federal Law Enforcement
The second largest Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in the United States is located in Artesia. More than 85 federal agencies with a law enforcement component are trained at FLETC facilities in the U.S., including Artesia. With more than 900 full-time jobs, FLETC, along with its agency clients and contractors, is the largest employer in Artesia. Basic training for all U.S. Border Patrol Agents occurs at FLETC-Artesia along with significant training schedules for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Transportation Security Administration. In addition to the 900+ ful-time jobs, the FLETC-Artesia has student populations that range from the hundreds to several thousand at any given time, with an average daily student population over the last ten years of over a thousand.
The agriculture business in Artesia has been a significant component of Artesia’s economy since the town’s early development. Within 40 miles of Artesia, there are more than 45 dairies with a combined 75,000 head of dairy cows. The sixth largest milk cooperative in the nation, Select Milk Producers, is headquartered in Artesia. The member dairies of Select Milk Producers produce 6 billion pounds of milk annually, which accounts for approximately $1.5 billion in annual revenues. Artesia is also home to one of the country’s largest pecan growers, Chase Farms, which accounts for 5% of the total national pecan crop. With more than 6 million pounds of pecans grown in the area, this particular crop represents a significant portion of the agricultural economy in the Artesia area. Pinto bean production and processing has taken hold in Artesia as well, with more than 2 million pounds of the bean grown and processed in Artesia and exported to other states. Traditional farming and ranching have remained in the area as well. Primary crops include alfalfa, cotton, chile, corn, beef, and sheep.