Iowa 4-H Foundation

Posted on March 1, 2018 at 3:31 PM by Emily Saveraid

The Extension program started in Black Hawk County in 1912 in a livery stable in Cedar Falls.  Mr. A. A. Burger assumed his duties as Black Hawk County’s first county agent that same year.  At that time local farmers paid the expenses of the first county agent through an organization known as the Farm Improvement Association, located in Cedar Falls.  4-H club work had not yet claimed the interest and financial assistance of groups which were later to play a big role in its success.  In the first year, 4-H club work was financed by business concerns of Waterloo and Cedar Falls.  Then the county fair association became interested in the movement and furnished pigs to boys.  At the end of the club year each boy turned in two pigs for each sow he had received.

When A.A. Burger, encouraged the first 4-H club members to enroll in a corn and garden project, little did he realize that from that small group was to grow an organization which by 1934 would claim the active interest of 483 of the 1,194 boys and girls of club age in the county.  The organization would reach 1,500 of the 2,100 homes.

Black Hawk County enjoyed the distinction of having the first county home demonstration agent in Iowa.  Miss Tura Hawk assumed her duties in September of 1916.  Two sewing clubs with a total enrollment of 60 members comprised the girl’s club work in 1916.

In 1917, Professor F. E. Fuller of Iowa State Teachers College was instrumental in forming the first poultry club in Black Hawk County.  In that same year four mixed groups of boys and girls were reported.  Comparatively little was accomplished in club work during the years immediately following World War I.

The second phase in the progress of Black Hawk County 4-H club work consisted of welding the individual members into local or township groups with local adult leaders in charge.  During this period, rules and standards for the 4-H organization were formulated.  Experience gained in this formative period paved the way for later success.

Girls were organized on a local club basis from the beginning.  Boys organized into local club groups in 1927.  The record of a junior club committee of members is found in 1922.  Adult committees were named to actively assist local club leaders and county agents in carrying out a county club program.

In 1924, demonstration and judging contests were regular phases of the club program.  Girls of the county had started demonstration work as early as 1920, when a team of A.A. Burger and Clara Sutter from the Ferris Wheel Club of Cedar Falls Township represented Black Hawk County at the state fair, demonstrating the canning of tomatoes.

In 1924, Back Hawk County boys judging team captured the grand championship at the Iowa State Fair.  During the same year a demonstration team representing Black Hawk County won the contest at the Waterloo Dairy Cattle Congress, thereby earning the privilege of representing the state at the National Dairy show in Milwaukee.

Two years later another Black Hawk County livestock judging team won first place at the Iowa State Fair, at the Interstate Fair in Sioux City where teams from eight states completed and judged at the International Livestock Show in Chicago, where they won sixth place.  During that same year a Black Hawk County team also won the demonstration contest at the Waterloo Dairy Cattle Congress, there by winning the right to represent the state at the National Dairy Show.

Election of countywide 4-H officers for girls was started in 1924.  In the same year there is a record of a county boys’ club committee composed of A.H. Evans, Vocational Agriculture instructor in Hudson High School and Lloyd Loonan and A.J. Minish, two prominent Black Hawk County farmers and beef producers.

A major highlight in Black Hawk County 4-H was in 1936 when the Black Hawk County Dairy Judging Team won the National Contest and advanced on to the International Dairy Judging Contest in Bristol, England.  The team consisted of Vincent Kelley, Kenneth Kramer and Clinton Sage.  They traveled with Paul B. Barger, the Black Hawk County Extension Agent and Floyd Johnson, representing Iowa State University.  The group sailed on the U.S. Manhattan from New York City on June 17, 1936.  The International contest was held on July 1, 1936.  As was typical of the time all team members wore long white coats when participating in the judging contest.  Final contest results were announced in front of the Royal Pavilion by Sir Merrik Burrel of the Royal Agricultural Society of England.  The English team took first place with the Black Hawk team coming in second.  Some of the Black Hawk team didn’t notice that one of the jersey cows had been milked prior to the competition and was not a dry cow.  Vincent Kelley had the highest individual score in the contest.  Following the contest the group took a tour, visiting farms in England and Islands of Jersey and Guernsey.  They also toured farms in Denmark, Switzerland and France.  Their 6 week journey ended with a visit to Niagara Falls in New York.

By the 1930’s record books were being submitted to the state 4-H office.  Community clubs enrolled more than 27,000 rural youth, teaching them how to run a farm and manage a home. 

In the 1940’s the IFYE (International Farm Youth Exchange) program was started after World War II to build peace and understanding.  One of the first IFYE’s was Ray Dankenbrink of Poyner. 

In the 1950’s, Black Hawk County had the champion national livestock judging which represented the United States at the International Livestock Judging Contest in England.  Gene Clubine was selected to participate in the IFYE program.  By the late 50’s a state law passed creating County Extension Councils and the break took place from Farm Bureau although Farm Bureau has continued to be very supportive of the 4-H program.

In the 1960’s Larry Anton of LaPorte City was selected as an IFYE delegate to France.  The 4-H program began to change from not just farm and rural communities to an emphasis on both urban and rural.  Programs emphasized personal development, citizenship and leadership, not just livestock and homemaking projects.

In the 1970’s Frank Wyatt of Hudson was selected as an IFYE delegate.

In the late 1980’s the Discovery program was developed by the county 4-H youth coordinator, Mary TeWinkel.  Discovery took place during Dairy Cattle Congress in September.  Over 1500 elementary students from Waterloo and Cedar Falls came to the fair each year where they visited a number of educational booths that have rotating workshops about livestock and food as well as experiencing Cattle Congress.   A Farm Safety Camp was also started in 1989.

Support to expand the program was funded by the Iowa 4-H Foundation in the early 1990’s through a grant from the Iowa Department of Agriculture.  Later the Clay County Fair and the Guthrie County Fair replicated the Discovery program.  In the 1990’s the county started to raise funds to support the 4-H program through a direct mail campaign as well as personal asks. In addition an omelet breakfast was started.    For over 25 years over 400 4-H’ers, leaders and families have been involved in this fund raiser.  At this same time the Black Hawk County 4-H and FFA Fair Foundation was created to support the county fair.  A new program for young people was carried out in Black Hawk County called, “Growing in the Garden”.

In 2000 Black Hawk County started the County Fair Queen and Fair King Contest.  Two of the young women went on to be Iowa State Fair Queens.  They were Katie Greiman and Lydia Beck.    It was in the 2000’s that community service was emphasized in local 4-H clubs.

In the 2010’s the Black Hawk County 4-H and FFA Fair was awarded the Iowa Fairs Blue Ribbon Fair Award.  In 2017 the Black Hawk County Fair Board received the Iowa Governor’s Volunteer Award.   The Discovery program at the fair as well as the Farm Safety Camp still continue.  Black Hawk County is one of only two counties in Iowa that doesn’t have their onw county fairgrounds.  The Black Hawk County 4-H & FFA Fair has always been held on the grounds of the National Dairy Cattle Congress grounds in Waterloo.  The other county is Polk County that uses the Iowa State Fair grounds. 

Little did anyone know that what began in 1912 with farm boys and girls learning new and better methods of raising corn, feeding calves and pigs, canning fruits and vegetables, and sewing would grow into our current 4-H program.


4-H Member serving food


4-H members with goats


4-H members with art

4-H members


4-H members with plants


4-h members


4-H members on stage

4-H member shooting a target using a crossbow


Honorary 4-H Members were first recognized in 1930 and continue today. 

1930 – Katherine Hearst

1931- Mrs. John Plum

1932 Mrs. Elmer Blough

1933 – Mrs. Ira Knapp

1934 – Mrs. R. E. Middlekauff

1935 John W. Cloverdale

1936 – Mrs. Floyd George

1937 – Mrs. A. J. Hansen

1938 – Mrs. John M. Briden

1939 – Mrs. J. J. Kelly

1940 – Mrs. E. J. Hausman

1941 – J. H. Butts

1942 – Matha Nation

1943 – Bertha Mae Dimmitt-Kelly

1944 –Rev. J. S. Deedrick

1945 – Elizabeth Sage and Paul B. Barger

1946 – Blanche Jones-Wolfe

1947 – Glen W. Morris

1948 – Hugh E. Muncy and Mrs. Robert Mess and Mrs. A. F. Hoppe

1949 – Mrs. Orville Tannreuther

1950 – Mrs. L. J. Dunwlad

1951 – Mrs. Godfrey Guldager

1952 – Mrs. Lester E. Loveland


1954 - Mrs. Thorwald Nelson

1955 – Russell Sage

1956 – Ramona Esbeck and Mrs. Stuart Henry


1958 – Mrs. Paul Barger and Mrs. Harold Brown


1960 - Hazel M. Kuehn

1961 – Ron Pullin

1962 – Folmer C. Hansen


1964 – Mrs. Paul Degener


1966 - Dorothy Mark and Dorothy Brown

1967 -  Maurine Rullen

1968 – Mrs. Harry Brown

1969 – Irving H. Anton

1970 – Mrs. Clinton Sage

1971 – Ralph Leymaster

1972 – Elsie Watters

1973 – Walter w. Renner

1974 – Irene F. Morgan

1975 – Jay Trent

1976 – Vyla Blough

1977 – June Faust-Hanson

1978 – Leeward Albert

1979 – Arlene Flickinger

1980 – Lawn Griffith

1981 – Ruth Beck

1982 – AuRae Heidemann

1983 – Water Hesse

1984 – Bettie Ferguson

1985 – June Faust-Hanson

1986 – Cliff Strein

1987 – Lions Clubs

1988 – Floyd TeWinkel and Ethel TeWinkel

1989 – Albert Petersen

1990 – John Noteboom and Beb Noteboom

1991 – Linda Herod, Glenda Schaeffer, and Barb Meyers

1992 – Bob Messerly

1993 – Joanne Eggleston

1994 – Kay Messerly

1995 – Gene Pint

1996 – Dan Schmitz and Cliff Murray

1997 – John Ackerman

1998 – Wally Mochal and Noreen Mochal

1999 – Phyliss Boatman

2000 – Alice Green and Larry Green


2002 – Leon Mosely



2005 – Dr. Phil Edler and Pat Eldler

2006 – Jeanne Hansen

2007 – Maynard Murch and Dick Goering

2008 – Farm Credit Services of America and Larry Steffens

2009 -  Mona Rottinghuas

2010 – Jackie Wulf


2012 – Phil Hufford

2013 –Charlotte Nieben

2014 – Lyle Guldager

2015 – Betty Ehler

2016 – Bruce Clark

2017 Tom Sage and Larry Walters and Bob Livingston


4-H Alumni Awards include:

1956    Mrs. Delbert Gerholdt          Wesley Yuska

1957    Wendell Glasener                Mrs. Harry Brown

1958    Lila Messerly                        R. Gordon Strayer

1959    Clinton Sage                         Irene Kramer

1960    Irene Morgan                        Wayne Mark

1961    Blanche Jones-Wolfe          Godfrey Guldager

1962    Ronald Sieben                     Martha Nation

1963    Otis Budlong                        Mrs. Evan Sage

1964    Les Newton                         Mrs. Harold Koob

1965    Virginia Ebbing                    Bob Tannreuther

1966    Barb Johnson                        Maurice Telleen

1967    Mrs. Don Mangrich               Paul Barger

1968    Rachael Gould                     Bernard Ebbing

1969    Bev Bennett                         Dick Klingaman

1970    Dorothy Brown                      Ralph Leymaster

1971    Helen Sage                          T. J. Andersen

1972    Bill Davidson           

1973    Ron Burk                             Rose Ann Pierce

1974    Blanche Pulling                    Lester Lampe

1975    Joanne Kucera-Vlasak        Rex Boatman

1976    Dora Rizzo                           Carrol Hayes

1977    Jean Klingaman                   Judd Leland

1978    Jeanette Brasch                   Luverne Christian

1979    Rick Hofmaster

1980    Del Bowers

1981    Marshall Grosscup

1982    Harlan Blough

1983    Judy Anton                            Larry Anton

1984    Norma Hager

1985    Jim Sage

1986    Jerry Kramer                         Joanne Kramer

1987    Ron Pullin

1988    Marilyn Teig

1989    Eleanor Meyerhoff

1990    Mary Esther Pullin                Mary TeWinkel

1991    Larry Loenser

1992    Ruth Taylor                           Marvin Taylor

1993    Ann Sage                             Frank Wyatt

1994    Carolyn Clubine

1995    Donna Schletzbaum

1996    Nancy Schmitz

1997    Helen Ackerman


1999    P. Lee Miller                         Barbara Miller

2000    Loretta Anderson                 Marty Port                             Dale Port

2001     Chris Greiman                    SOO Greiman                        Al Ricks                      Donna Ricks

2002    Frank Wyatt

2003    Judy Walsten                        Eddie Entz

2004    Louis Beck                            Pat Beck

2005    Kevin Sittig

2006    Jay Hansen

2007    Mary Jean Murch                  Hope Goering

2008    Pat Lichty                              Randy Lichty

2009    Tom Volding                          Craig Strein

2010    Duane Wulf

2011    Bob Koeningsfeld                  Lynette Cline

2012    Kay Connelly                        Phil Hufferd

2013    Charlotte Nielsen

2014    Lyle Guldager

2015    Mary Seekins

2016    Bruce Clark

2017    Mike Geisler


The Mayor of Waterloo’s Volunteer Award has recognized numerous 4-H volunteers.

? yr. -  Carolyn Clubine

1986 – Marilyn Teig

1988 – Jim Sage

2001 – Dan and Nancy Schmitz

2002 – Helen Ackerman

2003 – Dale Port

2004 – Mary Esther Pullin

2005 – AuRae Heidemann

2006 – Al & Donna Ricks

2007 – Loretta Doepke

2008 – Pat Lichty

2009 – Mike Pipho

2010- Marty Port

2011 – Kevin Sittig


In 2002 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of 4-H the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame was created by the Iowa 4-H Foundation.  Each year one person or a couple are nominated by each county.  Black Hawk County recipients have included:

2002 – Mary TeWinkel

2003 – Ron & Mary Esther Pullin

2004 – AuRae Heidemann

2005 - Eleanor Meyerhoof

2006 – Rose Ann Pierce

2007 – Rex and Phyllis Boatman

2008- Judy and Larry Anton

2010 – Arnola Jean Siggelkow

2011 – Dan and Nancy Schmitz

2012 – Soo Greiman

2013 – Dale and Marty Port

2014 – Louis and Pat Beck

2015 – Barbara and P. Lee Miller

2016 – Pat and Randy Lichty

2017 – Aland Jane Eilderts


Materials gathered by Eleanor Meyerhoff, 33 year 4-H program assistant

Edited by Florine Swanson, Retired Iowa 4-H Foundation Executive Director

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