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Iâ€™m writing to express my interest in restoring the funding that if allowed to take effect will severely affect the Cooperative Extension Service in New Mexico as well as around the country.Â Iâ€™m speaking with firsthand knowledge.Â Not only did I spend my childhood growing up in 4-H, I decided to make it my career when I graduated from College. You see, 4-H is not just another youth program; it is the premier, top notch program that was developed by the people working within Land Grant Universities.Â 4-H is a grassroots program that has members as young as 5 and volunteer leaders in their 90â€™s.Â You would have to look long and hard to find such a diverse age range that is expressed in these cross generational partnerships within one organization. The great diversity of the 4-H program does not stop there, agents in every county in New Mexico offer more than 200 project areas that will capture the interest of any youth. These projects range from animal, nature, and science to rocketry, healthy living, responsible budgeting, and most of all leadership.
Within the 4-H program we teach our youth to be respectful, active members of society. They leave this program with the confidence and ability to make the right choices. I hope you were a member of 4-H as a youth or you have made it a point to get involved with this great program. For if you had ever know the benefits of 4-H, I know you will be fighting with tooth and nail to save our funding.Â Another important factor of the 4-H program is that not only do we offer youth over 200 projects but we emphasize a sense of community in these young peopleâ€™s hearts. I donâ€™t care if you are in the most rural of towns or here in Las Cruces, you will seeÂ 4-H youth getting together and making a positive change within their respective communities. The youth not only identify the need, they go about a plan to address that need and then put that plan into action. 4-H is the largest youth organization in the world, we are reaching more youth than anyone else in a time that nobody is reaching enough. How can we expect the good old USA to stay strong and productive if there is nobody teaching these qualities to the youth?
If the 4-H program is lost we will be doing our country a great disservice that is not justifiable. We cannot cut funds to the programs that keep these youth from getting in trouble. Give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. We are teaching Americaâ€™s youth to fish both figuratively and literately.Â Youth are leaving our program and being a positive factor in the world, we are keeping kids off the streets, off drugs and out of trouble. Please donâ€™t take that away from our kids. If we are no longer there for them, who will be?
The 4-H program is worth saving in its own right, but itâ€™s not even close to what Cooperative Extension has to offer.Â Cooperative Extension is the peopleâ€™s arm of New Mexico State University, we take the knowledge and research findings from the University and put it into the hands of the people, the same people you serve. Donâ€™t you want your constituents to be well informed and utilize knowledge to the best of their abilities? If funding to Extension is cut, so are many of the opportunities that people have to better their lives. I donâ€™t see how you can look anyone in the eye and say Yes! Cut Extension Funding.Â Knowing what a great negative impact you will be bring on one of the last positive, diverse, and life changing programs available to the people of United States Of America.
John R. Allen,
DoÃ±a Ana County