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New agent joins NMSU’s Lincoln County Cooperative Extension Service

With an extensive background in agriculture and education, Melanie Gutierrez has joined New Mexico State University’s Lincoln County Cooperative Extension Service as agent and program director.

Two women in front of a sign
Melanie Gutierrez, left, and Marisol Gonzales are ready to help residents of Lincoln County at the Cooperative Extension Service office in Carrizozo. (NMSU photo by Darrell J. Pehr)

The single-agent office at 409 Central Avenue in Carrizozo, New Mexico, serves all of Lincoln County with programming in 4-H youth and development, Family and Consumer Sciences, agriculture and horticulture.

Gutierrez is an NMSU College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences graduate, majoring in animal science. She has been involved in agriculture all her life, growing up on a ranch in Roy, New Mexico, and participating in 4-H and FFA in Quay County.

Her experience includes managing a hog farm in the Oklahoma panhandle, serving as a 4-H agent for five years in Roosevelt County and teaching in Carrizozo for three years and most recently in Vaughn, New Mexico, for the past four years.

“Lincoln County is a great place to serve, helping kids grow up in the program the way I did,” she said.

In addition to Gutierrez, the Lincoln County CES office staff includes administrative assistant Marisol Gonzales, ICAN Regional Coordinator Brenda Weatherford and nutrition educator Marla Caughron.

Gutierrez said the office is working with other counties and agencies to offer quality programs.

Synchronizing the various 4-H clubs is a priority, Gutierrez said. There are three clubs in Capitan, one in Corona, one in Carrizozo and one in Hondo. She also hopes to get a Ruidoso Club started.

Gutierrez thanked Rick Richardson, who stepped in to direct the Lincoln County office in the interim before she was hired. The relatively new office has a lot more space than the former office in the Lincoln County Courthouse and is much more visible.

“We’re here, we’re moving forward,” Gutierrez said. She invited county residents to bring any needs that they see to her.

“Come to us. We can figure out a program to help anyone and everyone in the county that we can.”

The Lincoln County office can be reached at 575-648-2311 or by email at lincoln@nmsu.edu.