Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Hidalgo County October-December 2020 Report

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Helping Texans Better Their Lives

Sal Del Rey, Hidalgo County Photo by Andrea Valdez

What We Do

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is a unique education agency that provides research based community education, tools, and resources on a local and statewide level that teach people how to improve agriculture and food production, advance health practices, protect the environment, strengthen the economy, and enrich youth.

Inside This Issue

Extension Staff Andrea Valdez County Extension Agent- Family & Community Health Extension County Administrator I N T H I S Vidal I S S U Saenz E County Extension Agent- Agriculture & Natural Resources

Joanne Ureste-Armijo WHAT'S County Extension Agent-NEW Family IN & Community Health

EXTENSION Ashley Gregory County Extension Agent- Horticulture

A Note from the Extension Team................2

Romeo Ozuna County Extension Agent- 4-H & Youth Development

COVID-19 Response..................................2


Family & Community Health........................3

Agent HER'SExtension CLOSE OUT THE Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program

Agriculture & Natural Resources.................4 4-H & Youth Development...........................4 Horticulture..................................................5 More Extension Program Highlights............5 Family & Comm. Health-PV A&M................6 Expanded Food & Nutrition Edu.Program...6 County Supported Staff Programs..............7


Stephanie Bowman Cooperative Extension Agent-Prairie View A&M Family & Community Health

Contact Us 410 N. 13th Ave, Edinburg, Texas 78541 956-383-1026 hidalgo@ag.tamu.edu RETROSPECT: A LOOK http://hidalgo.agrilife.org BACK AT LAST YEAR @HidalgoAgrilifeExtension Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Hidalgo County

A Note from the Extension Team:

As we reflect on a most historic year and in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Hidalgo County Agents and staff continued to educate the community through various media. Traditional programs were transitioned to online formats and our YouTube channel continues to grow with educational videos and subscribers. Programs and conferences have been offered virtually to continue to meet the needs of the community while keeping everyone safe and distanced. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has answered the call by assisting with Disaster Assessment through Strike Team deployments, Contact Tracing shifts and PPE distributions. We would like to extend all our thoughts, prayers and thanks to all our essential workers and members of our community affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Please stay safe and well! Subscribe to our YouTube channel "Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Hidalgo County" for educational videos

Visit http://hidalgo.agrilife.org for more events!

COVID-19 Response


Gallons of Sanitizer delivered to Hidalgo County Elections Department for Poll Workers (October 2020)

Family & Community Health Andrea Valdez, M.P.H.


COVID-19 Public Service Announcements In October and November of 2020, we assisted the Hidalgo County Judge's Office in filming public service announcements for COVID-19 precautions for holiday gatherings. Thank you to Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez and his staff for including the Extension office in these efforts.

Cooking Well in the RGV


The Hidalgo, Cameron, Starr and Willacy Family & Community Health Agents came together in October 2020 to educate TOTAL citizens on how to cook and eat PARTICIPANTS well with diabetes.

1st Live Online Food Handlers Class in the State of Texas held for 25 1,325 participants in Likes December 2020

Family & Community Health Joanne Ureste-Armijo, M.S. @AgrilifeExtensionFamilyResourcesHidalgoCounty

Step Up, Scale Down

The Master Clothing Volunteers The Master Clothing Volunteers hosted a drive by volunteer recognition in December of 2020. This program year, the MCVs held 4 community service projects and pre-recorded sewing tutorials to continue the program virtually due to COVID-19.

The Step Up, Scale Down (SUSD) and Walk Across Texas programs were held in the Fall of 2020. SUSD is a 12 week program that aims to help participants choose a helpful eating plan to maintain a healthy weight. Walk Across Texas is a 8 week program aimed at helping participants establish the habit of regular physical activity.

Agriculture & Natural Resources Vidal Saenz, M.S.

23rd Annual RGVBIA Bull Gain Test & Heifer Development In October 2020, the 23rd Annual Bull Gain test was held in Linn, Texas. There were 85 bulls and 4 heifers consigned to the program. The program will provide objective information on animal performance in the feedlot by measuring average daily gain and weight per day of age.

Master Marketer 2020 Seminar Series We hosted six virtual Master Marketer Programs in October 2020. Topics included Farm Budgeting, Crop Insurance, and Legal Matters for Farms and Ranchers. There was an average of 66 producers that attended each session.

Rio Grande Valley Rancher's Round-Up The RGV Rancher's Round-Up was held in November of 2020. 32 participants learned about the Pasture, Range and Forage Insurance Program, Whitetailed deer management, Livestock Buyer Fraud and Managing for Stocker Calves.

4-H & Youth Development

Romeo Ozuna, B.S. @HidalgoCounty4H

COMMUNITY SERVICE 4-H Ambassador Community Service Coat Drive

Community Service Town & Country 4-H

All 4-H Club meetings continued by moving to an online format.


Active 4-H members

25 Hidalgo County 4-H clubs

54 Addison Bortnick of Brush Country 4-H made history as the first elected Vice President of Cathey Middle School with Down Syndrome. Addison was also selected as a National Ambassador for Down Syndrome! Thank you Addison for your advocacy and inspiration!

Adult & Youth Volunteers

One Day 4-H and Tractor Supply Clover Campaign Parade


Ashley Gregory, M.S. In October 2020, the Master Gardeners held a socially distanced Fall Plant Sale raising almost $4,000 for future educational programs in Hidalgo County.

Master Gardener Fall Plant Sale RGVLS Vegetable Show

Master Gardener Graduation In November 2020, the 2019 Master Gardener Training Program graduated 10 graduates! There were also 25 participants that completed the online portion of the 2020 MG Training.

In December 2020, we partnered with the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show Citrus & Vegetable Show where over 100 youth participated in a variety of contests including educational posters.

Extension State Program Highlights

Better Living for Texans

Growing & Nourishing Healthy Communities

We congratulate our 2 BLT Nutrition Educators on their retirements! We thank you for your service to our community!


Frances Flores Yoli Rios

New Highlights Safety guidelines implemented at the community gardens 7 NEW Hand Washing stations installed 46 Sessions were delivered virtually to 1,239 contacts 27 videos created


Virtual or drive by graduations were held for the graduates at the PSJA and Weslaco gardens. A total of 122 participants graduated from the virtual gardening program!


Growing & Nourishing Healthy Communities Staff: Ricardo Carranza, Roy Custodio & Andrea Torres-Barragan

Family & Community Health Stephanie Bowman, M.S.


Mayor Joe V. Sanchez Public Library-Family Place Program participants learned ten behaviors supported by research to be associated with a healthy weight in children.

Balanced Living Program Participants

Mayor Joe V. Sanchez Public Library-Family Place Program

Participants Th Holiday Food Safety program at Mayor Joe V. Sanchez Public Library Participants taught particpants the importance of food safety.

Expanded & Food & Nutrition Program Expanded Food Nutrition Program (EFNEP) Melissa De Leon, M.S.


EFNEP continues to deliver practical lessons such as basic nutrition, food preparation, and food safety virtually on a variety of social media platforms to continue to reach the Hidalgo County community.

Helping young families and youth with limited resources!

113 Adult Enrollment 79 Adult Graduates 10,848 Youth Enrollment 10,789 Youth Graduates Nutrition! Food Prep! Food Budget Management! Food Safety!

Hidalgo County Supported Program Staff Community Outreach4-H Programs Karen Cantu, B.S.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, all 4-H curricula transitioned to online videos. The Kidz Ants program was presented to Zapata Elementary of La Joya ISD for 23 participants.

Program AssistantFamily & Consumer Sciences Elzie Martinez, B.S.


Region One, La Joya ISD, McAllen ISD, Edinburg CISD, Donna ISD hosted a variety of programs such as Green Living, Budgeting, Study Skills, Goal Setting, Child Health & Safety and Influenza like Illness Prevention


Program Coordinator Linda Ramirez

29 Participants

The Families Reading Every Day (FRED) program was implemented at multiple locations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Region One-McAllen and Region One-Edinburg hosted families that made reading with their children every day a priority!

Hidalgo County Support Staff Nora Linda Cruz, Administrative Assistant III Luz Sena, Administrative Assistant II Elena Almendarez, Administrative Assistant II (L-R)