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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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4-H Animals Teach Confidence, Self Respect

LAS CRUCES -- Amid a ruckus of oinks and bleats, New Mexico 4-H students build character and learn responsibility at the annual Pig and Goat School. Held in Albuquerque in June, the schools prepare students for county fairs -- and life.

"The schools ties very closely to the mission of the 4-H program," said Roy Vaughan, 4-H agricultural specialist with New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service. "The pig or goat is a instrument or a tool that we use to develop characteristics in young people such as self-respect and responsibility. This animal is totally under their care, and it's their responsibility to make sure the animal is fed and remains healthy."

Schools for animals projects in pigs, steers, lambs and horses have been held for some time. This is the first year, however, for goat school.

"Goats are becoming a more popular 4-H project because they are economical, easy to care for and can be raised in limited space," Vaughan said. "They also are good companions for the students."

Dellia Wilk, a Crownpoint 4-H member who owns Angora goats, hopes to use what she's learned to improve her project for county and state fairs.

"In the past, we were told buy a pretty goat, show it like a sheep and hope to get lucky at the fair," Wilk said. "Now, we've learned specifics about how to select a healthy goat, what their nutritional needs are and how to present them at shows. It's really amazing what the instructors taught us just in a few days."

With a little training, Wilk placed first in the school's showmanship contest. "My goats are healthier and have better manners since attending goat school," she added.

For more information about any of the 4-H schools, contact Vaughan at (505) 646-5472.