Valles Caldera. Photo by Greg Kendall/ladailypost.com
To address the concern that ranching is an aging industry, New Mexico State University’s Cooperative Extension Service will host a weeklong applied skills beef academy for youth from across the United States at the Valles Caldera National Preserve in northern New Mexico, July 8-13.
“The average age of the New Mexico rancher is 57,” said Dina Chacon-Reitzel, executive director of the New Mexico Beef Council. “And 97 percent of New Mexico’s ranches are family owned and operated multigenerational outfits. The best investment we can make in the economic development of New Mexico ranching and this critical segment of New Mexico agriculture is to support and educate our youth.”
In 2011, NMSU’s Cooperative Extension Service and allied beef industry organizations, including the New Mexico Beef Council, developed the New Mexico Youth Ranch Management program to promote learning opportunities for youth from family ranches.
In June 2011 and 2012, the NMYRM team hosted 30 youth from across the state for the weeklong camp at the 89,000-acre Valles Caldera National Preserve.
”The program is designed to be fun, yet challenging,” said Manny Encinias, NMSU’s beef cattle specialist and co-chair of the New Mexico Youth Ranch Management program. “It is amazing how this age group absorbed the in-depth information presented in each session of the camp.”
Like the annual NMYRM, the U.S. Beef Academy is a unique event that aims to further expand the knowledge base and practical experience for youth aspiring to become the next generation of beef producers and industry leaders.
“During the ranch camp we have 12 hours in a day to skim the surface of information regarding best management practices to become a better beef producer,” Encinias said. “The USBA is designed to be the second tier of the ranch management program where an entire day is devoted to each of the major aspects of BMP.”
Encinias and other beef cattle specialists and veterinarians from across the United States who are organizing the event expect that participating youth will leave this unique experience with an expanded toolbox of new concepts and a set of applied skills that are currently being used throughout the beef industry to improve efficiency and profitability.
Application to the USBA is open to youth across the United States between the ages of 15-19.
Acceptance into the program will be based on demonstrated progress and interest in beef cattle management.
For more information on the 2012 U.S. Beef Academy, visit the program’s website at usba.nmsu.edu or contact Encinias at 505-927-7935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.