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Armenta Leads 4-H as Extension Agent in Grant County

SILVER CITY - Justin Armenta hopes to match young people with projects in 4-H that will have lifelong impact in their lives.

"4-H programs prepare them to be outstanding adults and citizens," said Armenta, the new 4-H agent in Grant County for New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service. "A lot of it is knowledge and skills that are going to last them a lifetime, like arts and crafts, livestock, household pets, shooting sports and welding. It's hands-on experience."

Armenta took on his new duties just weeks before the annual county fair in September, so his hands were full from the start. He was able to meet many of the county's 200 4-H members during the fair, as well as their parents and other 4-H leaders.

"I'm glad I was here for the fair," Armenta said. "It's going to make the next year a little bit easier."

Armenta is a 2000 graduate of Capitan High School and a 2005 graduate of NMSU, majoring in agricultural and extension education. He is pursuing a master's degree at NMSU, also in agricultural and extension education.

While growing up, he was a Capitan 4-H member for 11 years and showed sheep, pigs and rabbits. He worked on ranches in Lincoln County and competed in New Mexico Junior Rodeo Association competitions, intending to become a professional bullrider before an injury his senior year.

Armenta worked for two summers in the Socorro County Extension office as a summer intern. While he initially considered a career in wildlife sciences, Armenta changed to Extension mostly due to the examples set by current and former Extension employees Shawn Dennis, Sid Gordon and Barry Herd.

Armenta plans to broaden the 4-H program in Grant County, building on prior successes and encouraging increased participation.

"I want to have a spot for anyone who wants to participate, and be strong in all areas," he said.