By Tony Parra
The time is quickly approaching for 4-H agriculture students and their projects. They will have their craftsmanship on display this week during the fair.
Students participating in the 4-H events will have to start entering their horticulture, arts and crafts, sewing and baking projects in on Tuesday between 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. The judging for the baking items take place at 6 p.m. in the Home Arts Building.
Fran Bilberry, a Dora 4-H instructor, was able to witness firsthand the effects of the 4-H program and its effects on its participants. Her daughter Jena Bilberry, a Dora senior, is involved in the 4-H program.
“Jena achieved a lot and was able to travel a lot,” Bilberry said. “It helped her deal with the public and she learned a lot of life skills.”
Bilberry said there will be approximately 20-25 Dora students enrolled in the 4-H program from the ages 8-18.
Roosevelt County Agriculture Extension 4-H Agent Patrick Kircher said 4-H projects can range from a variety of things such as baking, sewing, rocketry, horiculture and raising livestock.
“There are students who grow cucumbers, squash and tomatoes,” Kircher said. “There are other students who receive a rocket kit and build a rocket. They test them while they are making them, but they won’t test them at the fair. The rockets will only be there for exhibit.”
Kircher also said there are underlying skills which the 4-H program develops.
“They are able to develop leadership skills and public speaking abilities,” Kircher said. “Creating projects help build self-esteem, character and a sense of responsibility. The fair allows them to receive recognition. They are able to enjoy the fruits of their hard work.”
According to Kircher, most of the judges are from around the community and they judge on a set of guidelines, including how well participants followed parameters and the overall quality of work. He said first-place division winners move on the the state fair, while first, second and third-place winners get to move on to the Eastern New Mexico Fair in Roswell.
“They put in most of their work in the summer,” Bilberry said. “They (participants) like to take their grandparents to see their projects. They’re able to win prizes but it’s a nice reward in just doing the project.”
Kircher said there is also a program for younger children from the ages of five to eight. Kircher said the Clover Buds program is generally for helping children at those ages begin to have an understanding of agriculture and natural resources. Kircher said they can use the Clover Buds program as a catapult into the 4-H program.