4-H in New Mexico




In New Mexico 4-H clubs, there are:

  • More than 76,000 youths
  • More than 11,000 volunteers
  • More than 200 projects available

4-H offers youth:

  • Membership in positive peer groups
  • Year-round community clubs
  • Special-interest and short-term groups
  • School enrichment programs
  • Leadership experiences
  • Events, camps, and activities

There are also project schools, such as horse, lamb, goat, pig, and steer schools; and sewing camps.

4-H History

The beginning of 4-H club work in New Mexico dates back to 1912. In January of that year, the New Mexico Agricultural College and the Santa Fe railway ran an agricultural train on all parts of the Santa Fe Railway system in the state. The train carried livestock and farm exhibits, and educational talks were given by specialists of the Agricultural College. Special meetings were held for young people in which boys’ and girls’ club work was discussed and organized. In 1913, the same general plan was followed with an agricultural train run in cooperation with the El Paso and Southwestern Railway. As a result, several boys’ and girls’ clubs were organized in eastern New Mexico.

With the passage of the Smith-Lever Act in 1914, and the permanent establishment of Cooperative Extension in New Mexico, more concentrated club work followed.

Under the stress of the war emergency in 1918, the state enrollment in 4-H clubs reached 4,181 members. By 1921, it was evident that club work was one of the most effective means of introducing better livestock into the state, since larger numbers of high grade pigs, beef, dairy calves, and poultry were being produced in club projects each year. Also the introduction of pure seed and seed treatment, to prevent disease, were stimulated through club activities. In 1930 and 1931, club terracing demonstration contests created widespread interest in soil erosion control.

Local volunteer 4-H leaders were invited to become involved by Extension workers to aid in the club program. Leader training meetings began in 1924 and have been held as an important component of 4-H programming ever since.

Today, 4-H projects are offered in creative arts, health and nutrition, natural science, plants and animals, communications, and many more areas! 4-H reaches youth in urban, suburban, and rural communities throughout New Mexico.