Elementary students get hands-on ag lesson

John Villalba, 4-H extension agent

Eighteen Tucumcari Elementary students got a hands-on lesson in animal agriculture on Monday.

Quay County 4-H member Aleahna Branch brought her show steer, “McLovin”, and Ashlee Bradley brought her horse, “Cody.”

Students learned about the importance animals have in agriculture and how they contribute to the world.

The program, entitled “Ag Day”, is a joint effort between elementary school teachers and New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Agent John Villalba.

Villaba conducted the day-long program. The classes attending the program were the Kindergarten classes of Eddie Encinias and Kara Smith.
“We felt that a program for the younger grades (K through second grade ,) was needed to help to maximize our goal of educating students about agriculture,” Villalba said.

Villalba said after he met with the teachers they decided to focus on programs for these grades. He said that they have been piloting and developing different ideas for the past two years.

Now there are plans in place to partner with teachers to offer a bigger program for next year, and to invite other Quay County schools to the programs.

The morning program consisted of Branch washing and drying her steer, and explaining to the children what she does with her project on a daily basis.

“I liked being able to touch the steer, and it was fun when he licked me,” said Natalie Hayes. “I also liked learning about the horse and why they use spurs when they ride.”

Bradley explained parts of her horse Cody’s saddle and all the necessary equipment needed to ride.

She also demonstrated how to put a saddle on, and how to mount the horse.

“I learned about the saddle and that she wears a bridle,” said Declan Morris. “I thought the day went well, and it was nice to use the talents of local 4- Hers to teach the lessons.”

“That is what 4-H is all about,” Vilialba said. “The students enjoyed it, the 4-Hers had fun, and I am satisfied in knowing that a few more young students know a little bit more about agriculture.”