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Wright settles in at the Doņa Ana County Extension Service office

LAS CRUCES - The Doņa Ana County Extension Service office has a new face for community development.

Philip G. Wright has joined the staff of New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service office in Doņa Ana County. Previously, Wright worked for the Extension Service in Otero and McKinley counties. (NMSU Agricultural Communications photo by Darrell J. Pehr)

Philip Wright joined the team in May as the County Extension agricultural agent for livestock, community development and 4-H. Wright worked as a county agent for McKinley County from 1995 to 2000 and was a county agent in Otero County from 2000 until his move to Doņa Ana County.

"I've always been very fond of Doņa Ana County," Wright said. "I have a lot of friends here."

Wright will be working with larger programs in Doņa Ana County than in the other two counties. He said he is looking forward to "a new challenge, a chance to work with new people and some new experiences."

Wright has a bachelor's degree in Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business and a master's degree in Agricultural and Extension Education. Having gained an education from New Mexico State University it is fitting that he now helps educate others through NMSU Extension. In fact, he said that he first became interested in Extension while in graduate school.

"We are the outreach arm of New Mexico State University. Our primary goal is non-formal education," Wright said. "We take the research and the information that is gathered through research on campus and disseminate it out to the public."

Extension deals with four categories: agriculture, home economics, youth development and community resource development. "Anything that people can ask we can relate back to one of those four program areas," Wright said.

Wright's immediate goals are to become more familiar with the programs that are already in place and to identify the needs of Doņa Ana County, putting emphasis on developing programs in some of the smaller communities.

"We'll be able to go out and work in some of these smaller communities on community development issues, whether it is infrastructure, quality of life, border security, family security, those types of things," Wright said.

Nutrition education is one of the most recent projects Extension has been offering in smaller communities. Once a needs assessment has been completed, Wright plans to target these same communities with other programs concerning development issues and adapt them to residents' specific needs.