First Person

Our Valencia County Fair was a success this year for our 4-H program!

Sierra Cain

We had a great turnout for both livestock exhibitors and indoor exhibits. We hope you had time throughout the week to peek into our indoor exhibit hall or to watch a livestock show.

Our 4-H youth worked very hard all summer completing their projects and learning through workshops or guidance from other 4-H families. We are proud to have such a strong fair presence in our county, with both youth participation and adult support.

Even our livestock judge commented on the support seen around the kids when they were in the show ring.

Being a part of a 4-H program has consistently been influential on our youth. 4-H is a youth organization that has been around for more than 100 years, and has a rich history connecting the youth of today to agriculture and their community.

4-H is the largest youth organization in the world, and is a youth development program that focuses on a hands-on approach with the slogan “learn by doing.”

The first club was established in 1902 and was referred to as the “Tomato Club” and the “Corn Growing Club.” From the beginning of clubs came the 4-H emblem creation and then the connection of eager youth in agriculture to new innovations within the industry.

In 1914, the Smith Lever Act was passed and created the Cooperative Extension Service, nationalizing the 4-H program. The Cooperative Extension Service is present in more than 100 land grant universities and 3,000 county offices across the nation.

The New Mexico 4-H program is housed in the New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service and is present in the 33 counties.

Currently, 30,000 youth are enrolled in the 4-H Youth Development Program throughout New Mexico. 4-H is also supported by adult volunteers, who offer their time to serve the program as project and club leaders to cultivate positive youth experiences and healthy adult relationships.

There are more than 4,000 volunteers enrolled, which supports the 4-H programs and youth members in New Mexico.

In the New Mexico 4-H program, there are more than 200 projects youth can enroll in. These projects range from home economics, health and nutrition, livestock, agriculture, animal science, personal growth and development, horticulture, and many more.

In our Valencia County 4-H program, we have a great number of youth and adult volunteers that belong to 10 clubs. We have fantastic club leaders, who meet monthly with our youth members and help them in their 4-H journey.

When youth enroll in 4-H, they must meet the open enrollment period and find a club that complements their family life and 4-H goals. For youth to be able to show their animals or enter in their indoor exhibits to jackpots, county fairs and state fairs, they must be enrolled in the project.

For our county fair, we had more than 340 livestock entries and 350 indoor exhibits entered. These are great numbers and encouragement for our community and the future of our county fair.

4-H certainly has so many benefits in and out of fair season. While fairs are a great way for youth to showcase their hard work, know that many are competing and participating in many of the other events 4-H has to offer.

In 4-H, we focus on what is referred to as the BIGM: belonging, independence, generosity and mastery. These all come together to create a positive foundation for our youth during and after they are a part of our 4-H program.

If your family is interested in being a part of our Valencia County 4-H Program, our open enrollment is from Saturday, Oct. 1, through Jan. 31, 2023.


Program announcement

To register for an upcoming program, call the Valencia County Cooperative Extension Service at 505-565-3002.

For more information, visit

  • Ready, Set, GROW! Free gardening classes are being offered virtually. “Top 10 Common Plant Diagnoses” Wednesday, September 21, 2022 at 3:00 pm Registration required, please visit

If you are an individual with a disability who requires auxiliary aid or service to participate in a program, contact the Valencia County Cooperative Extension Service Office at 505-565-3002 two weeks in advance of the event.

New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and education.  NMSU and the US Department of Agriculture cooperating.

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Sierra Cain, guest columnist

Sierra Cain is the Valencia County 4-H/Youth Development agent for the New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service.