Minnesota 4-H news
Extension is growing the next generation of agricultural leaders
(June 2016, Source magazine) When University of Minnesota Extension 4-H challenged Minnesota youth to come up with science-based solutions to agriculture-related issues, the youth took "science-based" to heart.
A Meeker County 4-H team, for example, developed a 3-D printed ear tag that will allow farmers to electronically track and monitor their livestock using GPS technology. "We thought it would be helpful to be able to monitor livestock from a phone or computer," says Andrew Massmann, age 16. "A family we know lives four hours away from one of their pastures." Their mentor is Erik Hildebrand, a biologist from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources who tracks Minnesota's moose population.
4-H program aims to grow next generation of ag scientists
(May 2016, Seattle Times) One team is developing GPS ear tags so cattle farmers can track herds from afar. Another thinks drones can protect livestock from predators. Yet another is developing a rechargeable portable warmer to prevent vaccines from freezing when dairy producers inoculate their herds in the winter.
These aren’t corporate or university researchers, but teenagers in Minnesota’s 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge, which aims to nurture the next generation of agricultural scientists for a country facing a critical shortage. A study last year by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Purdue University found that nearly 60,000 high-skilled agriculture-related jobs open up annually, but there are only about 35,000 college graduates available to fill them.
University of Minnesota Extension is developing the challenge, which is now in its second year and already attracting interest from other 4-H programs, such as Michigan’s. Extension specialist Josh Rice says his team will present a workshop for national 4-H officials in October, and recently gave a presentation to youth development officials in Bangladesh.
Minnesota 4-H offers Co-op Calf, Co-op Swine projects for youths
(May 2016, Agweek) Morgan Junker and McKenzie DeGroot know a thing or two about leading their calves around the farm yard, but put them in a pen with their pigs and they shriek like they’re under attack from the curious swine. The girls are among a growing group of 4-H members enrolling in the livestock project in Nobles County, thanks to a program geared to teaching them about production agriculture and new experiences. For the past eight years, Nobles County has offered its 4-H members — from ages 5 to 19 — a Co-op Calf project. In its inaugural year, they had 18 participants, said Darren Ponto, Quality Assurance Manager for New Vision Cooperative, the company that helped launch the project for local youths. While it’s had its ups and downs over the years, the program has 24 participants this year.
Local 4-H members participate in hands-on experiment
(April 2016, KIMT 3) Students from around the state are teaming up with mentors to develop science-based responses to agriculture-related issues that are common in their communities. Today, the students are trying to improve the efficiency of engines that are fueled by ethanol. They are testing the fuel ejection systems and also emissions levels. So they can compare how the engine runs with and without a muffler. They will present their project to a panel of professors and business people put together by the University of Minnesota 4- H extension in June.
Youth selected to represent Minnesota 4-H at 2016 National 4-H Conference
(March 2016, The Midweek Inc.) Minnesota will be represented by an outstanding group of 4-H’ers at the 2016 National 4-H Conference in Washington, D.C. on April 9-14, 2016. The Minnesota 4-H delegation includes: Expedit Rypa (Ramsey), Genevieve Benson NiCheallachian (Hennepin), Nina Buchanan (Chippewa), Rosemary Edberg (Kanabec), Martyn Novacek (Roseau), Megan Slater (Washington), and Klarissa Walvatne (Otter Tail West).
The annual National 4-H Conference – administered by 4-H National Headquarters of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture within the U.S. Department of Agriculture – empowers youth to become well-informed citizens and social change agents who are actively engaged in their communities and the world. 4-H youth delegates have an opportunity to explore complex public issues and possible solutions through research and dialogue. The delegates choose an important societal topic and prepare a briefing working in round-table groups. During the conference, the groups present their briefing to federal officials around the Washington, D.C. area. Delegates also participate in a “Taking it Home” Community Action Plan process that helps them take what they learn at the conference and use it to address an issue back in their home communities.
West Otter Tail County 4-H’ers learn to lead at 4-H BLU
(February 2016, The Midweek Inc.) In February, more than 500 youth from across Minnesota gathered to participate in the annual 4-H Building Leadership and Understanding (BLU) youth leadership conferences. The five regional BLU leadership events were filled with exciting and fun activities that help youth learn and practice valuable leadership skills that they will be able to take back with them to their counties and communities, and use throughout their lives.
This year's conference theme was, "Find your Element," which taught participants about their intelligences and challenged them to think about how to apply them to future careers and community work. The topic was selected by the 4-H state ambassadors based on a survey from youth at previous events. There was also plenty of time dedicated to meeting new friends and having fun, with skits, singing, dancing and games designed and facilitated by the ambassadors to help youth participants get to know one another and have a good time.
Which is better, quality or quantity?
(February 2016, Albert Lea Tribune) Which is more desirable, quality or quantity? The Minnesota 4-H program has been researching this issue. Research has shown that a child who has a poor experience in a poorly designed or delivered program has more harm on that child than if they did not participate at all. Knowing this, Minnesota 4-H has been training and designing programming around quality.
U debuts Agricultural Career Day
(February 2016, Minnesota Daily) A career in agriculture doesn’t necessarily require previous farm experience. To address qualified worker shortages, youth groups and the University of Minnesota are working to educate students about the wide swath of careers in the agriculture industry. About 120 middle and high school 4-H program students came to the University’s St. Paul campus last week for the inaugural Exploring Agricultural Career Day, part of a University push to teach youth about agricultural jobs. Visitors filled surveys, joined an expert panel discussion and toured the campus.
What do your strengths tell you?
(February 2016, Albert Lea Tribune) Do you ever wonder why you make certain choices? Why do you do what you do? Why do you like certain things, or why you are better at some things than others? There is a reason and it has to do with your talents and strengths. 4-H Ambassadors recently took part in the Gallup's Clifton StrengthsFinder Assessment. Before a recent 4-H retreat the youth answered a series of questions from the assessment and at the conclusion of the assessment, they were given their top five strengths out of 34. Examples are communication, empathy, consistency, belief, arranger, analytical, etc.
Showing livestock in 4-H isn't just for farm kids
(January 2016, St. Peter Herald) Do you have a passion for animals? Have you ever wanted to show animals but could not because you live in a location that did not allow animals? Well 4-H has opportunities for you!
A misconception is that you need to live on a farm to show livestock at the county fair or even to be in 4-H. That simply is not the case. Minnesota 4-H sees the educational value for all youth to participate in the animal science project and has developed a lease program option. This program was designed to make it possible for youth to show an animal, which they do not need to own or house. Youth have the option to lease a dog, cow, poultry, sheep, rabbit, goat, horse, and even a lama! Through the 4-H lease program, youth will gain hands-on experience in managing and showing their animal project through cooperation and mentorship with the animal owner and a 4-H family.
Ask a 4-H’er with Mariah Huberty
(January 2016, The Post Review) Mariah Huberty talks about her experience in 4-H and her involvement with poultry. Mariah is in 12th grade and has been in 4-H for 13 years, beginning as a Cloverbud member in Kindergarten. She says that 4-H has been a great experience and has taught her about leadership, responsibility and how to be a better public speaker.
Jackson County 4-H teams excel at national event in Denver
(January 2016, Daily Globe) Two teams of 4-H'ers from Jackson County brought home hardware after competing in the 96th annual Western National Roundup during the National Western Stock Show this past weekend in Denver. The Family and Consumer Science Consumer Decision Making team, consisting of Jessica Christoffer, Abi Fest, Morgan Ignaszewski and Rachel Salentiny, walked away with a first-place overall finish. They competed against 11 teams from across the country. Meanwhile, the Livestock Judging team of Riley Johnson, Gavin Mulder, Bailey Schneekloth and Josh Ulbricht
garnered sixth place of 27 teams in that competition.
The annual roundup was Jan. 7-10.
4-H in the media