The expressions on students’ faces ranged from disgusted to thrilled as they reached into the insides of the cow named Ella May. This hands- on experience teaching kids about rumination was just one of the workshops that over 100 elementary students participated in for NMSU Socorro County Cooperative Extension Service at the fairgrounds for the annual AgXplorer Day.

Jamie Fasset, 4-H agent, said this year they wanted to highlight the complex work that local farmers and ranchers do to produce a sustainable food supply, all while caring for natural resources.

“Sparking engagement and helping Socorro County youth understand the vital role that agriculture plays in their daily lives is the goal of the AgXplorer program,” Fasset said.

For the field trip on April 4, students went through nine stations to learn about various topics related to agriculture such as soil texturing, water conservation, crop production and rangeland. Presenters included the US Forest Service Magdalena Ranger District, U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management – Assessment, Inventory and Monitoring, NM Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, Socorro Soil & Water Conservation District, Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, NMSU College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences Animal and Range Science Department, Dean Wilkinson, DVM and Socorro County ICAN.

Shannon Mounyo, third grade teacher at Magdalena Schools, said the event provided an opportunity for her students to learn more about agriculture and natural resources.
“Many of the topics were presented by local organizations and allowed for a ‘hands on’ experience, which will last a lifetime,” Mounyo said.

Student participants came from Cottonwood Valley Charter, Saracino Middle School, Magdalena Elementary School and home school students. The students had access to 12 Socorro County 4-H members who served as group leaders, shared their experiences, and helped answer questions about the impact of agriculture in Socorro County.

In 2023, the AgXplorer program reached 2982 students, 231 teachers/staff and 100 volunteers.

For more information, please contact the Socorro County Cooperative Extension Service at 575-835-0610