First person 

As we start to experience chilly mornings and cooler evenings, we can appreciate that summer is fading, and fall is making its entrance.  

Sierra Cain

In our Valencia County 4-H program, fall represents a closing of the busiest season — fairs! We have officially finished up our summer projects in livestock and indoor exhibits and exhibited them at the Valencia County Fair, New Mexico State Fair, Southern New Mexico State Fair and Eastern New Mexico State Fair. Fall has been known to be a time of reflection and we are sure proud of what our 4-H members have achieved. 

We started the year off attending Senior Leadership Retreat held in Albuquerque with our senior 4-H members and then took a delegation to 4-H Day at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe. Of course, there was a major snowstorm, but we rode the rail runner up and trudged through the snow to see our state’s legislation. 

Family and Consumer Science (FCS) School of Life Skills was held in Albuquerque, and then we headed out with our novice and junior members to Youth-Get-Away in Glorieta, N.M. We also took some senior-aged members up early to get trained as leaders for our younger groups from our county. After that wrapped up, we headed over to the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, N.M., to watch our senior 4-H members compete in muzzleloader, air rifle, shotgun, .22 and archery. 

We had our third annual 4-H Rodeo here at the Sheriff’s Posse in Belen that had more than 280 entries each day. Our younger members then headed over to Horse School in Socorro. Contest season then began, and we participated in county contest and district contest in Stanley, N.M., district shoot in Albuquerque, and the 100th New Mexico State 4-H Conference at NMSU in Las Cruces. The 100th State Conference was such a fun celebration to be a part of. 

4-H Livestock Schools started in the summer with the northern school in Taos and southern school in T or C. We had our county 4-H dessert and basket auction in July, and are so thankful for our community members who came out to support our 4-H youth. Between the project workshops and leadership trainings, we looked around and fair season was upon us. 

Our youth worked hard this summer caring for their livestock to compete at the various fairs. Our indoor exhibitors learned and expanded their skills throughout baking, sewing, braiding, origami, public speaking and much more. We are a unique county that still has a strong fair presence. Our show ring and indoor hall had youth that showed up strong willed, responsible and ready to compete. 

All these events show 4-H has so much to offer our young people in Valencia County and of course the adults, too. In our county, 4-H program we have a great number of youth and adult volunteers that belong to eight clubs. We have fantastic club leaders who meet monthly with our youth members and help them on their 4-H journey. 

Enrollment is officially open! To be a part of our 4-H program you must meet the open enrollment period requirement and find a club that complements your family life and 4-H goals. For youth to be able to show their animals they must be enrolled in the project. 

For our county fair, we had more than 490 livestock entries and 430 indoor exhibits entered. We also brought back the cake contest, which offered a sale slot in the livestock auction to an indoor exhibitor. 

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 (even more than the ones mentioned above!).  

If your family is interested in being a part of our Valencia County 4-H Program, our open enrollment runs through Jan. 31, 2024. 


Program announcements 

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. Registration required, please visit the link for upcoming classes and more information at
  • Valencia County Extension Master Gardeners is active. Sign up to become one of the next certified Master Gardener’s for Valencia. Classes start in January 2024. Contact Josh Sherman through the Extension Office at 505-565-3002. Plant clinics will be coming to the Farmers Markets soon!
  • Kids & Carmel Sauce will be held from 5:30-7 p.m., Monday, Oct. 23, at the Extension Office. Open to all youth aged 13-18. Come learn to make caramel sauce for the holiday season and your fresh picked apples. Call the office at 505-565-3002 to RSVP or for any questions. Space is limited!
  • The Haunted Barn will be held from 7-11 p.m., Friday-Saturday, Oct. 27-28, at the Valencia County Fairgrounds. Come out to the Haunted Barn to have a local scare by 4-H and FFA members. Admission is $5 per person.
  • Healthy Fall Desserts will be held from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 14, at the Peralta Methodist Church. Open to Valencia County adults. Create and sample delicious healthy desserts for the holiday season! Cost is $15 per person. Call the office at 505-565-3002 to RSVP or for any questions.
  • Winter Extravaganza will be held Friday, Dec. 1. More details to come. Come out and make four to six holiday crafts items and take them home or give as gifts! Cost is $20 per person.
  • Santa in the Barn is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 2, at the Valencia County Fairgrounds. Come out to Santa’s Barn to play holiday-themed games and check out local holiday crafts from 4-H, FFA and community members.

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

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

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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.