Iowa 4-H Foundation

Posted on October 7, 2014 at 4:17 PM by Global Reach

4-H has come a long ways since O. H. Benson, county superintendent of schools in Wright County, and Mrs. Jessie Field Shambaugh, Page County superintendent, introduced club work into the schools. The use of a three-leaf clover emblem, backed by an ear of corn, started in 1907-1908 with an H on each leaf signifying head, heart and hand. The fourth H was later added to stand for health. The main purpose of 4-H was to give rural youth an opportunity to gain practical knowledge in farming and homemaking.  The 4-H program is part of the Floyd County Extension Service. In the beginning three county sponsoring organizations cooperated with Iowa State University in the extension program.

In February 1916, farmers and businessmen organized the Floyd County Agricultural Society. Articles of Incorporation were adopted July 21, 1917, and the name changed from Farm Improvement Association of Floyd County, and changed again in 1919 to Farm Bureau.

The Iowa General Assembly passed a new extension act in 1955 known as the Agricultural Extension Law establishing an extension district in each county. It transferred the responsibility of the programs from the Farm Bureau to the County Extension Council. Its offices were in the Tjaden Building, 703 N. Main, but were later moved on July 15, 1966, to Trowbridge Building, 615 Beck Street.

The present fair society was organized April 15, 1954. From 1926 until 1955, when the present fairgrounds was put into use, the boys’ and girls’ 4-H clubs held achievement shows in many locations.

1923                During the first year there were two canning clubs for girls. The first demonstration team included Janet and Doris Ferguson of Orchard and Doris Raisty of Colwell.

1924-1925      There were 21 girls in a farm record club and seven Floyd girls in a poultry club, with canning as the major project of five clubs, which include Rudd, Floyd, Charles City and two at Rockford. The 1924 team consisted of Selma Witzel and Luella Kling who placed third at the Iowa State Fair.  This time also marked the beginning of general supervision of clubs by county club committees and the Farm Bureau office.

1927-1935      For the men and boys there were Farmers’ Institutes; exhibits were taken to the Big Four Fair, Nashua; North Iowa Fair, Mason City; the Cattle Congress, Waterloo; and State Fair, Des Moines.

1929               The girls county health contest started with 46 girls entering.  Betty Follanshee was the winner in 1930. 

1935               The style show was added--Virginia Hardy, Union Township, placed first and Dorothy Lacour second.

1931               Rally Days for girls began and were held at the Manual Arts Building for about 10 years.

1936               An effort to qualify under the county fair rules of 1876 failed; however, through the cooperation of many persons, a County Achievement Show was set up. The boys showed 50 head of cattle, 20 horses and 30 hogs August 21-22 at the Oliver Farm Equipment Co.

1937-1938    The boys’ exhibits were at Bissonette’s and M Roberts Motors Warehouse, then they moved to the Charles City Sales Barn on Highway 14 west of Charles City for 6 years. The Jamboree Centennial Celebration sponsored the Floyd County Jamboree. The sale in 1938 was highlighted by the purchase of the county grand champion steer by the First Security Bank for 18 cents a pound. The sale price averaged $10.84 per hundredweight. This began the tradition for the bank to buy the grand champion.

Late 1940’s  The search for exhibit space continued. In 1948 a Harvest Jamboree was at the Charles City Airport for both boys and girls. In 1949, the girls returned to using the Manual Arts building for 3 years, while the boys went to Harvey’s Race Track north of Charles City. 

1950-1951    The boys’ exhibits were once again displayed at the sale barn.

1953-1954    Sherman Nursery grounds were used to display 4-H’ers’ exhibits. 

1955              The fairgrounds were finally ready to be used by 4-H’ers to house and display their 4-H exhibits.

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