What does the extension office do? This episode focuses on a brief history of the extension service, as well as a highlight on all the different program areas that the Grant County Extension office offers. We also discuss what you can expect from the Extension Connection Podcast!
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Welcome to the Extension Connection podcast. The Grant County Cooperative Extension Service is here to help connect you with research based information about economic development, energy and water, farm and ranch, yard and garden, natural resources, health and well being, and our very popular youth development program 4-H. I'm your host, Jessica Swapp, the 4-H and agriculture agent here in Grant County, New Mexico. We are part of New Mexico State University's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Science. And we are here to serve you. So let's get started. Hey everybody. Thanks for tuning in to our first episode of the extension connection podcast. I am in no way, shape or form a professional at this. I decided to do this as a way to connect what we do here at the extension office with our local community and anybody else who's out there who wants to listen and learn something. We'll, be bringing in people from the university system to give us some special talks, provide some educational aspects as well as some of our local organizations and and our community members to talk to us about what they do and how they're involved in agriculture. We'll be hearing from a lot of people from the family and consumer science side of things, 4-H, agriculture. All of the above we'll be discussing in this podcast, but first I thought I'd talk about the history of how the extension service got started. It started first with the Morill Act of 1862 which created the land grant university system. Then we have the more popular Smith Lever Act of 1914 this established the cooperative extension service and partnership with a lot of the federal, state and local governments. New Mexico State University was founded in 1888 as Las Cruces College. The New Mexico College of Agriculture Mechanic Arts was established as a land grant college in 1889 by the New Mexico territorial assembly. Now skipping ahead to current, the mission statement of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences is to improve the lives of New Mexicans, the nation and the world through research, teaching, and extension, and that is exactly what we do on a daily basis. Over and over. We're always saying that we're the best kept secret in town, but we don't want to actually be a secret. We want to be able to help our community with the things that they need, answer the questions that they may have and provide our youth with life skills to move on in their lives and be productive citizens. Let's get down to it. What exactly do we do here at the extension office? Quite honestly, everybody here wears a lot of different hats. I can't say that one person focuses on one thing. Every day is different. For instance, my job as the 4-H and Ag agent is actually two separate jobs. So I focus on some of the 4-H programming. We have youth all over the County that are enrolled into 4-H. They join for various reasons or their parents want them to join for various reasons. Our most popular reasons to join 4-H is to do our shooting sports competitions and projects as well as the livestock side of things. So all of the animals that you see at the County Fair, a lot of those kids are 4-H and FFA members exhibiting their , their projects, their end product if you will there at the County Fair. So those are some of the main reasons that people enroll their kids as they get those shooting sports skills as well as the livestock production side of things. It's a lot of fun. The projects in 4-H are actually designed to teach you something or teach your kids something. They're designed to keep your family together. It's things that you can do together. So we have several clubs in the County. We have six, actually have one in Cliff, five others here , um, around the Silver City area. They all meet on different days at different times. Once a month actually is when their meetings are and they just get together to have a fun activity. Usually they conduct some business so the kids get to learn parliamentary procedure. Also in that, a lot of times they'll do some sort of a programming where there's an educational component to things and then they usually dismiss and they don't meet for another month. Our clubs do focus on a lot of community service. They're encouraged to do that, so that's one of the aspects of 4-H that we like to really promote is that the kids get to learn how to give back to a community. Also, as part of the 4-H program, they learn to be leaders. They learn life skills, they learn to be public speakers. They learn so many different things that they're going to need in life early on, so that way it's not so hard for them whenever they are older. Some of the things that they gain from the program are all of the awards and things that they do throughout the years. They're able to keep track of those in what are called record books and then they can use those record books to help them apply for scholarships. All of the things you need for these scholarships are already in your record book, so they're very good to have for your kids throughout the year and can really help you when you, when they get to the end of their high school career, when they're moving on to trade schools, jobs, colleges, all those types of things. 4-H is really a beneficial program designed to help youth have something positive to do with their time. They get to learn something and it's something that the whole family can get behind and enjoy. So then we switch gears. The other side of my job is the Ag agent in a typical day I might go out and look at some cattle on somebody's ranch, talk to them about the drought conditions and maybe some supplementation, things that they can do. Also look at their calf crop, talk to them about their concerns. I do a lot of home visits where I will look at trees and plants and you know anytime somebody's got something wrong with a tree or a plant and they don't know what's going on, I'll usually go to their house and diagnose the problem. I also identify different kinds of weeds, so if you have a weed or something growing that you don't know what it is, identify those and we also have a really great resource that we're able to use from the university, which is the plant diagnostic lab where when I kind of get stumped and we have a plant that I don't know what's going on with it , I don't know what's wrong with it. I can send that plant off to the plant diagnostic clinic and they can actually run some tests and pathology tests to see what's going on there. If there's a disease problem, a nutrient deficiency, those types of things. They also have the weed identification portion where I can actually send in plants that maybe I'm not quite used to seeing. I don't know really know what they are. They don't really quite meet the specifications of some of the plants that I'm used to seeing, so I can send those in and actually get a positive identification on the different types of weeds as part of that lab. I can also send in insects for identification our entomologists that works at NMSU is absolutely wonderful. She's the most knowledgeable person I've ever met in terms of insects. She knows everything about insects and I'm hoping to have her on the show at some point soon to kind of talk about some different things. NMSU, is really a gold mine for, for different types of information as they relate to agriculture. I put on workshops throughout the year a lot of gardening, horticulture type workshops aimed at educating the public on vegetable gardening, taking care of your fruit trees, tree pruning, grafting, composting, all of those different things. Harvesting. I do a lot of work on, on that kind of stuff to put on workshops to educate the public. Those workshops are typically free. I also do workshops for our local cattle growers here in the County and t he other surrounding counties to help them continue their education and always keep them up to date on the newest, latest and greatest technologies and keeping them educated on sustainable agricultural practices as they serve our community and t hey a re a huge part of our economy here in Grant County. We work a lot with them. You know, every day is different. Like I said, there's, there's just no telling what's g oing t o happen when I come into work e very day, which is something I really like. Then you kind of have the other side of things. You have Judy who I'm hoping will be on the show soon as well, and I'll let her kind of talk about what she does, but she does a lot of education that's really important. She's the program director for this office, so she oversees all the programs that go on. She wears a lot of hats. She's the program director. She has 4-H responsibilities, the FCS agent, which stands for family and consumer science agent. She does a lot of education on diabetes, how to manage your diabetes and how to manage your chronic illness. She also does trainings on food safety, food handling. There's nothing like getting sick from, you know, you go to a restaurant and maybe your food wasn't handled quite properly or cooked to the proper temperature. She knows all those things, how to really keep yourself and your family safe. Even when you're cooking for things like Thanksgiving, she can really help out with the educational part of that. She also has some 4-H responsibilities so she helps out with the 4-H program on the uh , family and consumer science side of things and she's been a wealth of knowledge to have here and I'm not going to steal the show from her because she will be able to tell you so much more than I can and do a better job of it for sure on what exactly she does here at the office. Also here in the office we have an ICAN coordinator. She does a lot of nutrition classes and I'll also let her describe her job a little bit better and she does a really great job. She's been here for a very long time. She's very well respected in our community. And then we have Tenisha Fell who works as our program assistant and really is the only reason we probably get a whole lot done is because we're able to give her some of our projects and tasks to help us out and really support us. She does in school programming based around agriculture, 4-H, all of the above. And then we have a new administrative assistant, Carlie Gatlin. She just started with us here recently, so she's still learning the ropes, but she's our friendly face and a nice voice when you call on the phone and she's very helpful and understands agriculture and our community. We have a really good team here in our office. We do a lot of really cool things that I really hope that the community is able to find out about. Again, we go out into the community and we still get asked the question, what is the extension office? You know what, what do you guys exactly do? And really my response is what do we don't do? We really handle a lot of different things. We're generalists, which means we're not specialists necessarily in our office. We know a little bit about a lot. That's what I say to people when they, when they call me about a specific question is I'm not a specialist. I'm a generalist, so I know a little bit about a lot of different things as they relate to agriculture. But the good part about it is, like I said, is when we really need some backup needs, some help, we can reach out to those specialists and reach out to them to answer those specific questions that they are experts in and they are absolutely experts in their field on those particular items. That's a little bit about what we do here and we're always looking for better ways to serve our community and and be able to help everyone, especially with their agricultural needs. Agriculture is the basis for our lives. We can't live a day without agriculture. And it's my passion. It's the one thing I'm extremely passionate about. I'm passionate about agriculture and I'm very passionate about educating people about agriculture and the impact that it has on all of our lives, not only locally, but globally. As our population continues to increase we're looking at a population increase up to 9 billion people and you know, a very short amount of time, it's become a very big job, especially on on the American farmer. I'm the American rancher to be able to provide a product to feed that many people. So that's exactly what we do. Um , when we educate people as we're taking the latest and greatest research from our land grant institutions and we're extending that, we're extending that information out to the public, out to the people who need to know it. So that way they're up to date on all of the best research that's out there on how to produce their agricultural product as well as running their businesses, stay safe, stay healthy, all those types of things. And then once again, also educating our youth to be able to be prepared citizens to go into the workforce or go to a trade school, go to college, give them the skills that they need to be able to be productive adults. I hope that my conversations coming up, you'll be able to see exactly what all the different aspects are of extension and the different players that play into it. But I just wanted to give kind of an introduction into what this podcast is going to be doing. I plan on interviewing a lot of our local community members, talking to them about the type of agriculture that they're in, their goals, what they do, and really be able to give some of us that maybe we don't have the opportunity to go to these people's homes or farms/ranches and really be able to see exactly what they do. So let's, let's hear it straight from the horse's mouth. What exactly are you doing, you know, and maybe , uh, dispel some misconceptions and, and really be able to come to some sort of a common ground here in our community. I really enjoyed this first episode. I hope that this is beneficial and hope that you'll tune into us next time. I see this podcast probably happening about every other week, so keep checking back with us and we'll have a new one for you. Until next time! Thanks everyone for listening. If you enjoy this podcast, don't forget to hit the subscribe button on Apple podcast, Stitcher, Google play, or whatever app you're using to listen to this podcast. Want more information? You can visit us at our website, grantextension.nmsu.edu follow us on Facebook at NMSU Grant County CES, Snapchat at Grant County NM 4-H, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call, (575) 388-1559. New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer and educator. NMSU and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Hooky with Sloane by Bird Creek Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported— CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/... Music provided by FreeMusic109 https://youtube.com/FreeMusic109