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NMSU provides hands-on experience at New Mexico Youth Ranch Management Camp

  • By Tiffany Acosta
  • 575-646-3929
  • tfrank@nmsu.edu
  • Jul 06, 2021
28 teenage boys and girls pose near a sign, outside

Ranching is often a multigenerational family enterprise, and New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences is helping to educate and inspire the next generation.

“We’re trying to get young people interested in agriculture again,” said Sidney Gordon, Otero County Ag Extension Agent. “If we can stimulate some interest to go into that as a career that’s good. More importantly we want to give them a realistic expectation of what that is.

“Agriculture is a tough industry. It’s not extremely lucrative. It’s not just a job, it’s a lifestyle,” Gordon said. “The trend was we were losing young people coming on. So as the average age of the producers gets older, we have to have someone to grow the food. I think the vast majority of Americans take for granted who produces that food.” 

After a hiatus in 2020, NMSU hosted the New Mexico Youth Ranch Management Camp, June 13-18. The camp teaches youth ages 15 to 19 years old ranch management skills. The educational experience includes college-level instruction in how to manage financial statements, marketing strategies, producing quality beef and managing natural resources and wildlife.

While many attendees were born and raised on a ranch like Shana Elkins from Dunken, New Mexico, the NM Youth Ranch Management Camp curriculum offers new insight even for those with ranch experience.

“The marketing day was really interesting to me,” Elkins said. “In order to make money you have to be a smart manager of your money and of your cattle. The marketing day was really neat to me to learn the different aspects you have to incorporate into making smart money decisions to benefit your ranch in the future.”

A self-described wildlife junkie, Tatumn O’Toole from Deming, New Mexico, attended the NM Youth Ranch Management Camp in hopes of preparing to become a first-generation rancher. O’Toole said she enjoyed learning about managing rangelands and grasses.  

“Lessons like that you can take back home and learn how to improve your ecosystem around you and manage your land better to be a better steward,” O’Toole said.

The NM Youth Ranch Management Camp is held at the CS Cattle Company’s 130,000-acre ranch near Cimarron, New Mexico. Gordon, who is co-chair of the camp committee with Jack Blandford, Luna County Ag Extension Agent, said he appreciated all of the camp sponsors and the Davis family, who has owned the CS Ranch since 1873.

“The CS Ranch is exceptionally generous with us in helping us have this,” Gordon said. “It’s a real ranch. It’s in good country. They are good grass managers. They are good cattle managers. It gives these youth a chance to look at ranching like it should be done.”

NM Youth Ranch Management Camp attendees include Morgan Adams, Kesly Armstrong, Reid Bankert, Augustine Cardiel, Teressa Cardiel, Guadalupe Carrasco, Allen Castellon, Antonio Chavez, Kendall Crum, Cody Detweiler, Elkins, Lauryn Harris, Samuel Harris, Amanda Hibbard, Lily Johnson, Analiese Malaney, Elida Miller, Preston Miller, Thur-Khem Montoya, Tara Neeley, Marisol Olivas , Myra Olivas, O’Toole, Stoney Price, Colton Priest, Brooke Trujillo, Joel Villanueva and Ryan Webster.

At the conclusion of camp, awards are presented and the winning team was Augustine Cardiel, Chavez, Crum, Marisol Olivas, Priest and Villanueva.

Recognition for Top Hands of the Week were Monday, Beef Day: Trujillo; Tuesday, Marketing Day; Elkins; Wednesday, Wildlife and Natural Resource Day; Bankert; and Thursday, Range Management Day: O’Toole. Runners-up For Top Hands were Marisol Olivas, Myra Olivas, Lauryn Harris, Chavez, Preston Miller and Hibbard.

Editors Notes

Individual photos of participants are available upon request.