Iowa 4-H Foundation

Posted on October 7, 2014 at 4:20 PM by Global Reach

Throughout the last 80 years, 4-H in Union County has provided healthy activities for young people and has created positive youth development programs in our communities.  The projects and methods of 4-H clubs and members have evolved during that time, but the goals and values have been maintained.

In the fall of 1918, 200 farmers and business residents in Union County signed a petition to establish a Farm Bureau. The Bureau, in turn, became the sponsoring vehicle for extension service. With the Extension Service established in 1918, 4-H also began. In January of 1918 Judge Maxwell supplied purebred gilts for a “pig club”.  Fourteen members of the club exhibited at the Grain and Stock Show that October. Then, just a year later in 1919, the first girls “canning club” was established.

1926 brought an astounding number of new members and clubs. Eight 4-H members recruited 27 others to participate in the newly formed Baby Beef Club.  Eleven clubs for girls thrived as well.

By 1930, 127 girls were members of eight different clubs and 25 boys were enrolled in farm project clubs. Union County 4-H members represented the county at the Iowa State Fair, St. Joseph Interstate, Ak-Sar-Ben, and even at the National 4-H Club Congress in Chicago. The grand champion Hereford calf sold for 60 cents per pound at the fair livestock auction.

A district youth program was established in 1949. Milt Henderson used KSIB radio in Creston to educate and inform the public of 4-H work being done by boys and girls in Adams, Clark, Decatur, Ringgold, Taylor and Union counties.

The county fair moved from Lorimor to Afton in 1953. The fair lasted three days with 7,000 people in attendance. There were 411 4-H members were a part of 24 clubs in 1968.

Today, Union County 4-H boasts 14 community clubs with 202 young people taking part while approximately 80 kindergarteners through third graders are members of the four active Clover Kids program units. 4-H offers school enrichment and special interest programs that provide education for youth in school classrooms and in after-school programs or in areas of particular subject matter interest. More than 70 project areas are available for members to choose from.  The projects are supported with educational resources as a way to develop knowledge and skills that promote citizenship, communication, and leadership in the community.

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