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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU, beef industry experts to host national beef academy for youth at Valles Caldera

Valles Caldera National Preserve, N.M. - New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service will expand its New Mexico Youth Ranch Management program by hosting a weeklong applied skills beef academy for youth from across the United States at the Valles Caldera National Preserve in northern New Mexico, July 8-13.

Man standing by cattle chute talking to youth
Eric Scholljegerdes, NMSU animal and range science assistant professor, talks to youth about a cow's digestive system during the New Mexico Youth Ranch Camp. Similar sessions will be held during the upcoming US Beef Academy. (NMSU photo by Jane Moorman)

In 2011, NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service and the allied beef industry in New Mexico developed the New Mexico Youth Ranch Management program to promote learning opportunities for youth from family ranches. In June 2011 and 2012, the NMYRM team hosted 30 youth from across the state for the weeklong camp at the 89,000-acre Valles Caldera National Preserve.

"The program is designed to be fun, yet challenging" said Manny Encinias, NMSU's beef cattle specialist and co-chair of the New Mexico Youth Ranch Management program. "It is amazing how this age group absorbed the in-depth information presented in each session of the camp."

Like the annual NMYRM, the US Beef Academy is a unique event that aims to further expand the knowledge base and practical experience for youth aspiring to become the next generation of beef producers and industry leaders.

"During the ranch camp we have 12 hours in a day to skim the surface of information regarding best management practices to become a better beef producer," Encinias said. "The USBA is designed to be the second tier of the ranch management program where an entire day is devoted to each of the major aspects of BMP."

Encinias and other beef cattle specialists and veterinarians from across the United States who are organizing the event expect that participating youth will leave this unique experience with an expanded toolbox of new concepts and a set of applied skills that are currently being used throughout the beef industry to improve efficiency and profitability.

"The Valles Caldera is the perfect place to hold this unique event for ranch kids," Encinias said. "There are very few that will ever get the chance to go through this type of educational camp, and also get to say they got to watch the sun rise and set on this historic ranch for an entire week."

Application to the USBA is open to youth across the United States between the ages of 15-19. Acceptance into the program will be based on demonstrated progress and interest in beef cattle management.

For more information on the 2012 US Beef Academy, visit the program's website at usba.nmsu.edu or contact Encinias at 505-927-7935 or mencinia@nmsu.edu.