Writer: D'Lyn Ford
LAS CRUCES -Ð How many sheep are in New Mexico? What nutrients does a serving of beef provide? Why do ranchers brand their livestock? Third-grade students from various Albuquerque elementary schools will learn the answers to these and many more questions during the State Fair Youth Tours at the New Mexico State Fair this month.
"Each year, Albuquerque Public Schools holds a lottery for third-grade teachers," said Danette McGuire, a tour coordinator and Valencia County home economist with New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service. "Several teachers' names are drawn, and their students are selected to participate in the youth tours."
The tours have been part of the State Fair since 1991. The project is sponsored by Extension, the New Mexico State 4-H Office, New Mexico Beef Council and New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau.
This year, students will learn that there are about 495,000 sheep in New Mexico; beef provides protein, zinc and iron; and livestock are branded to show ownership.
"The tour leaders will take the kids through the dairy, horse, beef, pig and sheep barns as they explain the state's agricultural industry," McGuire said. "The kids also will see the 4-H exhibits and stop at the Beef Council booth for a snack." The state 4-H leadership team of officers, ambassadors and diplomats will guide the tours with help from volunteers.
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