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NMSU alumnus named ag agent, director of Sierra County Cooperative Extension Service

After years of rodeo competition, racing horses and teaching junior high and high school students, New Mexico State University alumnus Joshua Boyd has taken on his next challenge in life: serving as the agricultural agent and director of the Sierra County Cooperative Extension Service.

Man in cowboy hat sitting at desk.
Joshua Boyd is the new agricultural agent and director of Sierra County Cooperative Extension Service (NMSU photo by Darrell Pehr)

Part of the NMSU College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, the extension office provides many outreach services to residents of Truth or Consequences and surrounding areas.

?We?re a livestock producing county, and we also have production agriculture,? Boyd said.

Since stepping into his new role Sept. 1, Boyd has been approached by community members with various concerns.

?We have a person in town who has a peach orchard in which cotton root louse has been detected, so we?ve talked to experts, and we?ll need to treat that soil,? Boyd explained. ?Another pressing issue is the salt cedar beetle. There are two species of beetles that may meet up here or in Socorro. So far, all the research shows they will follow the salt cedar.?

Fair season has also been keeping Boyd extremely busy. The New Mexico State Fair in Albuquerque was Sept. 10-20, the Southern New Mexico State Fair & Rodeo in Las Cruces is Sept. 30-Oct. 4, and the Sierra County Fair in T or C is Oct. 8-11.

?We had several first-timers show animals at the state fair in Albuquerque,? Boyd said. ?Many of our 4-H members are very involved in showing animals, and Sierra County 4-H had two breeding heifers that placed second.? Due to the large number of participants involved in showing animals, Boyd immediately set up a showmanship clinic in Winston to help those members.

The 4-H program is going strong in Sierra County. The county has seven 4-H clubs with a total of 144 members. Many of the youth are currently involved with rabbit projects. Boyd said part of the reason there is so much interest in rabbits is that there are some rabbit breeders and national growers in the county who volunteer as project leaders and help out with the 4-H team in general.

One of his immediate challenges is organizing the extension office in a way that allows him to address the needs of numerous constituents, including the general community, clubs and organizations in the agriculture industry.

At the top of his list of long-term goals is working with surrounding counties to strengthen the economy by developing a strategic economic plan. This goal is part of the United States Department of Agriculture?s Stronger Economies Together program. The SET program brings together a group of regional county officials to develop a strategic rural economic development plan over the course of a year. Boyd serves as the Sierra County facilitator as he works with representatives from Socorro, Catron and lower Valencia counties.

It has been quite a path that led Boyd to where he is now. He was a jockey for 10 years until a career-ending injury occurred in 2005 at the Sunland Park Racetrack. After four years of intense rehabilitation, Boyd received bachelor?s and master?s degrees in agricultural extension and education from NMSU.

Prior to taking the helm at Sierra County Extension, Boyd taught agricultural education and science at three junior high/high schools in New Mexico, including Lake Arthur, Elida and Quemado.

?I bring a lot to the table for Sierra County,? Boyd said. ?I look forward to a long and enduring career here.?