Grant County Extension Connection

Episode 8: Dr. Frannie Miller NMSU Agricultural Economics & Agricultural Business

April 02, 2020 Jessica Swapp Season 1 Episode 8
Grant County Extension Connection
Episode 8: Dr. Frannie Miller NMSU Agricultural Economics & Agricultural Business
Show Notes Transcript

Dr. Miller has a big passion project that she would like to share about. She introduces the new public speaking contest and the agriculture science fair to be held at the 2020 New Mexico State Fair. Youth from around the state are invited to compete!

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Jessica:   0:00
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.

Jessica:   0:50
Hey everyone! The upcoming episode was recorded before the Corona virus outbreak. So, we're releasing this in hopes that fair season arrives. And with all of all of this Corona Virus, Covid-19 behind us. If your kids are interested in, um, having some interesting, independent projects that they can be working on right now at home, Um, this might be of interest to you. September is a long ways away. So, um, I hope you enjoy the episode with Frannie  Miller.  

Jessica:   1:24
Welcome to the podcast today. I have Dr Frannie Miller. She's the associate professor of the...

Frannie:   1:32
You just gave me a big promotion.  

Jessica:   1:34
Oh, hey, Assistant. Sorry. Assistant Professor right? Okay. Assistant professor of the Agricultural Business, Agricultural Economics Department here at New Mexico State University. She also does the dairy, range and livestock economics. You're the economist for that right? All right. So, uh, welcome to the podcast.  

Frannie:   1:56
Thank you for the invitation.  

Jessica:   1:58
So let's talk about you. All those things, All your background.  

Frannie:   2:01
Okay, so my background is I grew up in Colorado and upstate New Mexico. I'm from Aztec. My dad has a cow calf ranch there. And then I came to New Mexico State University, which is God's favorite land grant university. (Applause) And I met my husband, Tom Miller, and he's a dairy farmer. I went back to his farm in Veguita. And then about 13 years ago, we sold that dairy and moved with his parents to Sulphur Springs, Texas, where we were in Hopkins County. That's where my kids have mostly grown up. And when we got the chance to come back to New Mexico State University, we were both pretty excited about it. Um, so we came back this July and are just back. But one thing that we discovered in Texas and that I really enjoy that I thought was a really neat program for my kids was the Ag. science fair and the Ag. public speaking contest that they had at all of their majors at Houston Livestock Show and San Antonio Livestock Show.  And they were just really neat programs. It was it was, I loved going to a a state fair and having one contest that I didn't have to walk around covered in cow hair, so it was kind of fun about it. But besides that, it was a chance for them to develop skills that really directly transfer into the workforce.  

Jessica:   3:23
Nice. So you did a perfect segue into, um, we're basically announcing, a, big passion project that you've been working on, so I'm gonna let you just dive right in and tell us about it.  

Frannie:   3:36
Okay, Well, first hats off to Tommy Spindle and all of the commissioners at New Mexico State Fair they, we went and presented this and they saw the beauty in it. They saw what it could do for New Mexico youth, and they have been fully supportive. So what we're looking at is this September, one of the contests that's that's being added to the State Fair is a public speaking contest and this Ag science fair. It opens up an avenue for kids that may not have had been able to participate in the state fair as exhibitors, to come and be part of it. The details of the contest that the rules are going to be available through your extension agent or through FFA, FFA teacher's. Mainly there's gonna be two categories we'll have a category for juniors and for seniors. And we're working right now on donations. For there will be a cash prize, a scholarship and the felt banners. And so so if anybody out there is listening and has some extra funds that they were thinking, what could I donate this to? We're open, we're open for donations. We were hoping to make the prize line really attractive to our our students.  

Jessica:   4:51
So as I'm gonna kinda break it down into a couple of things in a kind of two categories here, So you're gonna do this ag science fair. What's the thought process behind this like the why.  Why is this so important?  

Frannie:   5:05
So if you're a mom like me or even a dad, um, you watch your kids go through school and too much of it and just I have tremendous respect for every teacher I've met, but there's so much that's crammed into what they have to memorize. And I think sometimes it takes away from what kids get to discover. And so the exciting thing to me about the Science Fair project is it it allows for student directed learning where they can really do that critical thinking and creativity. That is what the jobs of the future entail. Um, it allows them to explore anything that they're interested in. As an AG advocate, I've always known that pretty much everything in the world goes back to agriculture, and natural resource, so whatever your kid's interest is, there's a way to make that applicable to an Ag science fair project. The nice thing then is it. It starts to show kids even if they're not traditionally involved in agriculture, it gives us a chance to show them how, how much what they're interested in is relevant to agriculture and natural resources. So they have to pick a category. But then...   

Jessica:   6:19
What are the categories?  

Frannie:   6:20
So the categories include animal systems, environmental, natural resource systems, food products and processing, plant systems, power, structural and technical systems. So this includes anything like, welding, better ways to do welding, some of the shooting sports stuff. If if you can think of a way where you can evaluate some question that they're interested in, that would be a great thing for those kids to do. And then we have the social systems, which is what a lot of what the Ag economist work on. Things like, how can we better market New Mexico, Chile or or things like that. So or if there's if there's an interest in a rural economic development that something that would fit in there, One of the things that we'd like to do is really showcase our our best and brightest. And the kids that participate in this will will have a preliminary round that will be private, just them and the judges and the timekeepers. And then for the Final 10 those will go into the final round, and that will be available. The public can watch that. We'll also have a reception afterwards where the public can walk around and look at their boards and just give us some time to to showcase. What New Mexico youth are doing. What they're interested in and what they're capable of.  

Jessica:   7:34
Perfect. All right, so let's talk a little bit about also the public speaking. So what's the why behind that, that particular portion?

Frannie:   7:43
We had a guy that came and talked to one of my classes and he had graduated with the 2.0, and he said and he was there because he was donating tons and tons of money to the university and he his secret to success. What he'd done that was different is he was a really good public speaker.  

Jessica:   8:01
He had the gift of gab!

Jessica:   8:02
He had the gift of gab! And if you knew him, he really did, Um, but it's such, you know, if we start kids young, they don't even know that they're afraid of it. Um, but it it's a tremendously valuable asset to develop in students. And so that's that's the why behind it, um, we talk about the need for more ag advocacy. We talked about the need to communicate what we're doing. All of that is relevant to a public speaking contest. The other reason for this and the other contest really is that I think New Mexico youth are some of the brightest, most creative anywhere. But one thing about coming from a sparsely populated state is that compared to Texas, they don't have as many opportunities to go and practice. And so one thing that we can do with this contest is to give our kids more kinda, a little high pressure situation, a real contest where they can go and practice, and then when they go to nationals for these types of contests, they're just that much more prepared. That's one of the other things we want to do with it, aside from the job skill development.

Jessica:   9:05
Yeah, and I have to say, you know, people think, well, you know, my kids not really a good public speaker, So that's not really their thing. Really, developing that is probably the best thing you can probably do for your kiddo. Just because public speaking is in everything. If you have to answer a phone, you have to publicly speak. You have to speak to somebody on the other end of that line. If you're gonna go into a job interview, you have to be able to speak. You have to be comfortable with conversing and no takeaways from the technology that we have. But I think we're kind of losing a little bit about with, you know, the emails and the Snapchats and Facebooks. And it's really easy to type and those types of things. But doing these types of contests would, you know, obviously put something on that piece of paper, make your resume look really, really good. More stuff you got on that piece of paper, the more you're gonna stand out on paper. That's kind of step number one. And then the second step is to get you into the room. Once you can get into the room and you can kind of prove that you have these public speaking skills, You're a likable person, you know, just talking about you can convey a message. You're more likely to get hired for the job or get the scholarship, or I mean, there's just, um, array of things that you're gonna get from that. So it's not just it's just not it's not just a contest. This is real life, right?  

Frannie:   10:23
This is what um to me. I'm a 4-H advocate from the beginning. Um, but to me, this is what it's about. It is. How do we prepare these kids to go forth out into their club, their community, their country and their world and really make a difference?  

Jessica:   10:39
Yeah, and we we need more of our youth stepping up into these positions just because, as you know, as people in agriculture, we just haven't really done a good job of explaining, explaining our side. We just thought that well, we won't say anything because nobody's gonna understand. Nobody's gonna understand why we do this. So we're just not even gonna explain it. And then it's gotten out there and it's gotten twisted, and now it's being conveyed in a way that is completely incorrect and our side is still being a little bit too, too quiet, and they're also late to the party.  

Frannie:   11:15
That's as as a 1% of the population we're gonna have to speak loudly and we're gonna have to speak effectively. And we're going to have to be compelling. And that's the goal of this contest.  

Jessica:   11:26
Yeah, I I'm thinking of two, two kiddos in my county that when I when I got there, they're pretty young, and I remember thinking, oh, you know these two are, they're pretty quiet. They don't really talk much. I don't think that probably public speaking would be a contest that they would probably do well in. And they're right up there at the top of the state. I mean, they haven't hit the state level yet, but they they just all of a sudden blossomed and they can talk to anybody about anything their very passionate about agriculture. And, you know, those types of things can be changed through activities like this, this science fair, this public speaking. So I think this type of stuff is absolutely phenomenal. And I think it's great that you guys have... 

Frannie:   12:10
So far, we have $2000 donated for the prizes. So we're trying to take those kids that have invested in themselves and have, you know, worked just like those kiddos that you're talking about that have worked and developed the skill. We want to reward them. Maybe for the, this will be Saturday, September 12th. And so it'll kick off the week of the....

Jessica:   12:33
Of Junior week at the state, right?

Frannie:   12:35
Right. So then if they win, they'll have a pocket full of money to walk around and buy green chili cheese curds with.  

Jessica:   12:41
That's dangerous!

Frannie:   12:42
But then they'll also have a bit of a scholarship, which, if you're 10 years old, that may not be the biggest thing. But it's I think it will help shape in their mind starting at 9 or 10 or 11 that they already have a scholarship. And they can keep planning towards an envisioning what are they going to do when they get to college? Or, um, you know, if they come to, however, whatever their focus is, we'll help make that available.  

Jessica:   13:09
And that scholarship is it's gonna be for here at New Mexico State, right?  

Jessica:   13:14
Yes, ma'am. Yeah, that's that's phenomenal. That that's gonna be offered. And just like you said for a 10 year old. Yeah, you're probably not quite thinking about college yet, but once once they're senior, it's almost too late. Do you think about we're gonna get the money to do this? Like, how are we gonna gonna send off our kids to college? You know, because we definitely don't want to set them up for a bad situation.   

Frannie:   13:35
Exactly. A lot of our first generation students, we just want them to realize what's available earlier. And so, you know, if at 10 years old if if that, maybe that changes some of the paths that they take because they realize that this is within their choice set.  

Jessica:   13:52
Yeah. So if anybody out there is listening and they want to throw some money in the hat to help you out with this, how did they get a hold of you?

Frannie:   14:00
So they can email me, my email is Franny f-r-a-n-n-i-e M for Miller  @  

Jessica:   14:09
Perfect. Perfect. And what if they have any questions? Can they call you?  

Frannie:   14:14
Sure. My my number here at work is 575-646-1162.  

Jessica:   14:20
Perfect. So, um, is there any more you wanna tell us on this one?  

Frannie:   14:25
That's um. This is our first year. We're really excited. I can't say enough to say thank you to Tommy Spindle and the other parts of the other members of the New Mexico State Fair Commission. They were really supportive. And we really look forward to kicking this off in style and just making it the first annual, and the first of many good contests. So...

Jessica:   14:48
I think this is great. I think it's gonna go really well. And I I see this growing in the future. I think this was a fantastic, fantastic idea.  

Frannie:   14:56
The one thing that's gonna make it successful is students if you know a kid that you think might be interested and if it's a kid that may be interested in, you know, but has a couple questions use New Mexico State as a resource. We have a tremendous amount of of capacity, and I've never met someone here that wasn't willing to help the next generation. So use us as a resource and let's let's have some really quality, exciting projects this year.  

Jessica:   15:24
Okay, so we're calling out to all you parents out there if you got a kiddo that, uh, you think might want to do something like this. Be sure, to, get with your county agent, your, your Ag teachers, and let's get those kids involved. And if I've got any kids out there listening, reach out to us and let's get you enrolled and let's let's do this. So I really appreciate you being on my podcast.  

Frannie:   15:46
I appreciate the invitation. I think this is such a cool thing that you're doing. It's all those public speaking skills developed!

Jessica:   15:52
All those public speaking skills that I've developed! Yes. So well, thank you so much.  

Frannie:   15:57
Thank you.

Jessica:   0:00
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, follow us on Facebook at NMSU, Grant County, CES, Snapchat at Grant County NM 4-H, shoot us an email at or give us a call, (575) 388-1559.    

Jessica:   0:00
New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer and educator. NMSU and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating.

Jessica:   0:00
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Jessica:   0:00
  Hooky with Sloane by Bird Creek

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Jessica:   15:57