The summer break from school can be filled with a variety of activities for teenagers.
For 30 teenagers it will be an opportunity to learn the science behind ranching at the New Mexico Youth Ranch Management Camp conducted by New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.
Now is the time for youth ages 15-19 to apply for a life-changing experience at the June 9-14 camp where they will be introduced to the many aspects of running a ranch, from financial statements and marketing strategies to producing quality beef and managing natural resources and wildlife.
Online registration deadline is April 12. Visit nmyrm.nmsu.edu for more information and to register.
The camp is held at the CS Cattle Company’s 130,000-acre ranch at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range near Cimarron.
“This location allows our campers to see a real-life working ranch,” said camp co-director Sid Gordon, NMSU Extension agricultural agent in Otero County. “The CS, a cattle and hunting operation, has been family owned and operated since 1873.”
Collaboration between NMSU Extension specialists, county Extension agents and members of the ranching industry provides an opportunity for youth to learn about the many aspects of ranching.
“We are proud to offer this one-of-a-kind program for the future cattle producers of our state,” said Jon Boren, NMSU College of ACES associate dean and director of the Extension service.
“What we are finding, from the more than 200 youth who have participated in past ranch camps, is that they have gained a greater appreciation of the science and opportunities in agriculture,” Boren said. “It is also a win-win for our aging agricultural industry with more young people having an interest in going into this type of work.”
During the first four days, the youth compile information necessary to manage a ranch. The college-level hands-on curriculum includes all things beef, marketing and economics, natural resources and range land management.
At the end of each day, one camper receives the Top Hand award for their outstanding participation in that day’s activities.
Each evening the campers are using that day’s information to design their team’s own ranch management plan, which they present on Friday to a panel of judges from the beef industry in competition for the coveted team jacket.
“You don’t have to just be in ranching to attend this camp. It offers a wide variety of career avenues,” Gordon said. “I encourage any youth within the age group to apply.”
The camp is sponsored by NMSU’s College of ACES, New Mexico Beef Council, New Mexico Cattle Growers Association and New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau, and several beef industry companies.