This week I had the awesome opportunity to travel to Estancia, New Mexico to share my love for Agriculture with more than 600 students and parents. I love traveling West to see the wide open ranch country, changing terrain, and discovering new places, and what better opportunity than a chance to inspire others to learn more about Agriculture.

A huge thank you to the Estancia Faculty and Staff for allowing me to take time out of their day and share a few New Mexico AgFacts with their students. The Elementary and Middle School students were very interested in learning about the life of a rancher, especially from one 900 miles away in Arkansas. I shared what my life is like as a rancher, daily activities, and how cattle travel from the farm and result in hamburgers and other great foods on their plates. The kids were really interested to find that their marshmallows and toothpaste are made with cattle by-products. You should have seen the looks on their faces.

The kids were very knowledgeable about food products from cattle, especially dairy like milk, cheese, and yogurt. But they also knew about other New Mexico Ag Products like Chiles, Peas, and Beans. We then learned that the top 5 New Mexico Ag Products are Cattle/calves, dairy products, hay, pecans, and greenhouse/nursery plants. I sure didn’t think about pecans being in there until I studied up for the trip.

Challenge: Can you list the top 5 Agriculture commodities from your state? I believe it’s an important tidbit to learn if you ever share with others a love for Agriculture in your area!

During the presentation I asked what jobs are available, related to Agriculture. Many of the kids mentioned farming and ranching, but there are so many more opportunities out there. For those interested in science, there are plenty of research opportunities, and let’s not forget Ag covers everything from politics to communications, journalism, marketing, business, law, education, and manufacturing. Agriculture isn’t just a bunch of farmers and ranchers riding horses into the sunset.

Many of the kids had stories about their parents or relatives that have livestock, and that is encouraging to learn. I hope many of them went home that day, thinking a little more about agriculture around them and who produces the food that is on their plates. We are so lucky to have abundant and affordable food for every meal.

Speaking of food… I can’t forget to thank the Lutrick family who were very gracious hosts, put me to work during my stay in Estancia, and made sure I had plenty of delicious local food! Stop by the Old Mill if you ever find your way down New Mexico Highway 41. I recommend the Cowboy Salad or the Shane Burger for those with bigger appetites.

Stop by Monday for a look at my message for the Estancia FFA Banquet and how speaking with these youth does everything to fuel my desire to share my passion in production Agriculture.