Texico ag teacher recognized by NMSU

Texico agriculture teacher Tod Pinnell was recognized as the Outstanding Agriculture Teacher of the year by New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

An NMSU alumnus, Pinnell has trained 24 state championship teams in areas including parliamentary law, livestock evaluation, entomology and dairy evaluation. His students have won the Production Sweepstakes in 2003 and 2011 and won the Leadership Sweepstakes in 2010.

Pinnell has been teaching agriculture for 20 years, the last 11 spent at Texico Municipal Schools.

Peer recognition: It’s very humbling to be recognized by people that do the same thing you do. Of course it’s an honor to have been picked for that. All the credit goes to God and to the school system I work in and the kids I get to teach to be perfectly honest. I try real hard but the kids are just awesome and I work in a good place.

Texico love: Our administration and board really support the ag program here at Texico. They’ve done whatever is necessary. They support all programs but they just support you and try to help you do your job the best you can. I think you find that in most schools in our area. We live in a pretty good place, a good community.

Ag students: I have some kids that come in that are farm and ranch kids that already know a little bit. A lot of kids, my class is their first exposure to agriculture in any way.

Science and leadership: I teach fairly heavy in animal science. That’s kind of my area of expertise, animal and plant science. I try to teach leadership, decision-making and public speaking skills. With the type of events that we do, we have to make decisions on criteria. And then sometimes may have to stand up for that decision and there comes the communication and public speaking skills. Agriculturists have to be leaders. When you think about the industry, a lot of people in the ag industry are their own boss.

Melrose grown: I was born and grew up on a cattle ranch between Melrose and St. Vrain. I attended Melrose High School. In my senior year of high school, I knew that I wanted to stay in agriculture. At the time, things were a little bit tough and this was a way I could stay in agriculture and also have an opportunity to return to the family business at some point in my life.

The ag attraction: The people keep me in agriculture. I got a real love for cattle and horses and any kind of livestock and growing crops for that matter. The people that are engaged in ag, in my opinion, are down-to-earth people who are responsible and easy to get along with.

Teaching: I guess what hooked me, the first couple of years I found out how much I enjoyed kids. And teaching was something I could do a little while and go back and work with my dad. Sometimes what we think and what God has in mind are a little different. I found out how much I enjoyed kids in general and school and other ag teachers. I got a lot of friends. I know a lot of really great people because of what I do. That’s what kept me in it so long.

— Compiled by CNJ staff writer Liliana Castillo