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New Mexico State University

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Beck joins NMSU as State 4-H Department leader

The new New Mexico State University 4-H Department Head started his new job in mid September, and hopes to continue to build on the success of the program.


Man standing in grassy area.
Steve Beck, head of Extension 4-H Youth Development. (Photo by Andres Leighton)

Originally from Oklahoma, Stephen Beck has been involved in the 4-H program for 20 years as a parent, 4-H agent, 4-H specialist and now department head. Beck said his role will largely be assisting county agents in order to help support their county programs. This will help ensure that New Mexico 4-H continues to be one of the most successful youth development programs in the nation.

Beck said he feels at home at New Mexico 4-H. He said that it feels very similar to Oklahoma 4-H, and the people are warm and friendly, making him excited to be working for the program.

Majoring in Agriculture Education, Beck graduated from Oklahoma State University with his B.S. in 1991, with the intention of eventually teaching agriculture education. After graduation, he worked for a corporate hog farm for six years, but Beck wanted to work directly with people.

Beck took an agriculture/4-H job at the Harper County Extension Office in rural Oklahoma. He was originally interested in the agricultural side and working with the producers, but Beck said he fell in love with the 4-H program and working with 4-H families. After nine years, Beck took a position in another county, where he could be a full-time 4-H educator. He served there for three years.

Beck then began his job as an Oklahoma Cooperative Extension 4-H Specialist, where he oversaw the companion animal program, the camping program, the outdoor adventures program and the State 4-H Officers. These jobs led him to his new position as New Mexico 4-H department head.

?I want to see New Mexico 4-H continue to be a successful program having the positive impact that it?s had in the lives of so many youth,? Beck said. ?But at the same time I want to look for opportunities to expand 4-H programming and new strategies to introduce 4-H to underserved audiences.?

Realizing that a lot of the youth they are missing live in more urban areas, Beck said they have to do something to spur their interests in the 4-H program.

Beck attended his first large New Mexico State 4-H event in September. The State 4-H Rodeo Finals were held Sept. 23-25 in Albuquerque, where the top competitors from across the state competed for a champion title. Beck said he believes the event went well and he was impressed with the skills of the 4-H members.

4-H is the Youth Development Program of New Mexico State University. For more information about 4-H or how to join, contact the New Mexico State 4-H Office at 575-646-3026 or visit http://aces.nmsu.edu/4h/