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State 4-H officers hit the ground running after being elected at conference held at NMSU

After being elected as 2015-2016 state 4-H officers in the summer, the high school students from across New Mexico did not waste any time. From volunteering at the New Mexico State Fair to planning various events, the seven-member team has had very little down time.

The new officers are Britt Dixon of Chaves County, president; Abby Spindle of Santa Fe County, vice president; Clay Bob Stearns of Lincoln County, secretary; Sean Owensby of Union County, treasurer; Kaly Cone of Roosevelt County, reporter; Joshua Knight of Bernalillo County, parliamentarian; and Katelin Spradley of San Juan County, song and recreation leader.

Dixon, who held the office of treasurer last year, has also served in various other 4-H capacities, including president of both the Chaves County 4-H Council and Berrendo 4-H Club. He exhibits market lambs and goats on the county and national levels.

?Being an officer is my way of leaving a lasting impact on this organization that has changed my life,? Dixon said. ?In 4-H I?ve been able to take the knowledge and skills that I?ve learned in my leadership projects, as well as my livestock exploration, so that I may manage finances and routines throughout my daily life.?

In addition to meeting in person about five times throughout the year, the officers? responsibilities include helping out at the state fair, planning and hosting a youth get-away and providing leadership workshops.

?At the state fair, the officers are in charge of the 4-H float in the parade, and they help at the junior livestock shows, livestock sale and McDonald?s Farm, which is an area for young kids to learn about agriculture,? 4-H youth activities specialist Amy Zemler said. ?They also volunteer at the New Mexico Department of Agriculture booth by providing samples of ag products.?

Their hard work has already paid off. The officers? float earned first place in the state fair parade this year.

Youth get-away is an event in which the officers host 4-H members ages 9-to-13. Held at Cook Canyon Camp in Ruidoso Downs this year, the event includes various sessions and workshops.

The officers provide a few leadership workshops throughout their term.

?The workshops focus on various topics, such as team-building or leadership personalities,? Zemler said.

Kathy Landers, program director at the McKinley County Cooperative Extension Service office, is the team?s adviser.

?Serving as a state officer gives the kids a lot of experience, especially in public speaking,? Landers said. ?They also find out a lot more about the 4-H program, and it brings out their passion.?

Landers explained that the officers are involved with AgFest at the state capitol.

?They are our own ambassadors,? Landers said. ?At AgFest in Santa Fe, they?ll meet with farmers, ranchers and representatives from NMDA and Farm Bureau. They can help answer questions, and they can explain how agriculture has affected their own lives.?

The officers also assist the 4-H Foundation by speaking with potential donors at fundraisers such as golf tournaments and skeet shoots.

?Adults can talk and talk about the 4-H program, but it?s much better when a potential donor hears it from a kid,? Landers said.

State officer elections are held each summer at the annual state 4-H conference.

The 4-H youth development program is part of NMSU?s Cooperative Extension Service, and the state 4-H office is on the NMSU campus.

For more information about 4-H, call 575-646-3026 or visit http://aces.nmsu.edu/4h.