Iowa 4-H Foundation

Posted on May 2, 2013 at 12:14 PM by Global Reach

Two words describe the 4-H program in Buchanan County—energy and tradition. These traits have long sustained each other to create a strong and respected 4-H history in Buchanan County.


“Buchanan County 4-H’ers have always been go-getters,” according to 2005 Buchanan County’s 4-H State Hall of Fame nominee Marvel Dennie. Through the years, 4-H’ers have been active, vital members of Buchanan communities. Their energy is still apparent today in citizenship and leadership activities performed around the county and state. 4 H’ers regularly visit retirement homes, they organize park beautification projects, campaign for charitable contributions, and assemble Christmas food baskets. And where do they get their energy? The answer is a mix of young idealism, terrific club leaders, and parents that fondly and gratefully remember their own 4-H experiences. Buchanan 4-H parents never hesitate to lend a helping hand, assist other families in a time of need, donate time and food to 4-H activities, and join in the fun at fair (especially when it comes to volunteering to sit over the dunk tank!).


The Kenneth Fox family was nominated as 4-H Family of the Week in 1972.  The Fox family had a combined 72 years of 4-H experience and was recognized during National 4-H Week that year.  4-H families like the Foxes have had a positive impact on Buchanan County communities. For this reason, the community has faithfully supported the 4-H program through financial contributions at the most distinguished event at each Buchanan County Fair—The Pie Auction. In 1976, many Buchanan 4-H members wanted to attend camps and area events, but could not afford it. The 4-H Program Assistant at that time, Beverly Spahn, successfully came up with the idea of a pie-baking contest and auction as a way to raise money to pay for the 4-H’ers’ expenses. The idea was an immediate success!

Every year since 1976, the Pie Auction is THE big event at the Fair, capping off a day of chopping fresh fruit, rolling dough to the perfect thickness, and smelling the wonderful aroma of fresh-baked pie.  Two or three generations of families will bake pies together, and they are joined by businesses, the Youth County Council, and other individuals who vie for the big trophies. After the judging, the contestants parade through the packed pavilion and show off their pies while auctioneers sell the pies. Theses pies will sell for $400 or more! The buyer enjoys a delicious pie, the baker enjoys the satisfaction of contributing to a great cause, and the 4-H’ers receive financial support when they attend area, state, and national 4-H events.

Now it is 2013 and our programs for the Buchanan County youth continue to grow and add value to their lives. Our 4-H’ers are pairing up with Master Gardeners to educate others on healthy eating habits. The group of teens even named this new program H.E.A.L. (Healthy Eating Acts for Life). The teens and a Master Gardener volunteer, Anita Miller are teaming up to plant a garden of vegetables and fruit to use in healthy eating demonstrations at local farmers markets and our county fair. Last year, 2012 was the pilot for this program and we are very excited about the growth and interest shown in the project.
Our Pie/Flower Auction continues to grow and support our clubs. 2012 was a record year for the fundraiser.

Energy and tradition—both fuel the 4-H program in Buchanan County, and both traits will continue to be evident in the community’s support of up-coming, quality leaders in the local 4-H clubs.

Buchanan County citizens certainly apply the 4-H motto “To Make the Best Better” in their community!


Visit theBuchanan County 4-H Website.

To make a donation to the Buchanan County Endowment through the Iowa 4-H Foundation, click this button. Then select Buchanan County in the far right column (My 4-H County) and complete the gift information.

Donate Today!



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