Iowa 4-H Foundation

Posted on July 12, 2021 at 10:01 AM by Emily Saveraid

The History of 4-H in Jones County, 1920 - 2009

4-H clubs began as project clubs to teach agriculture and home economics. Projects for girls were food and nutrition, clothing and home furnishings. Boys belonged to 4-H project clubs that included beef, swine, dairy, crops and gardens.


  • In 1922 there were seven 4-H clubs with 63 members. By 1925, there were twenty-one clubs with 191 members.
  • A boy and girl were selected to go the State Fair Health Contest
  • In 1927 the first annual 4-H club banquet was held for boys and girls
  • Livestock workouts were started, beginning with beef and later with swine
  • Girls 4-H clubs were organized by communities and townships A girls 4-H committee was formed to give direction to girls in 4-H. Girls county 4-H officers were elected
  • Livestock was exhibited at both the Anamosa Fair and the Monticello Fair


  • Organized beef club tours were started to provided teaching and recognition. In later years, there tours included all boy's projects.
  • Boys 4-H project clubs were organized into communities or township clubs. Some parts of the county had concerns.
  • A county wide picnic for boys brought about the first election of boys county 4-H officers.
  • Girls 4-H clubs had exhibit booths at the Jones County Fair
  • Teaching was conducted in how to give a 4-H demonstration.
  • 4-H camps were held at the Monticello fairgrounds


  • Livestock is now noted as 4-H projects not livestock clubs.
  • World War II brought about emphasis on purchase of war bonds, victory gardens etc
  • A Farm Bureau group, Rural Young People, provided leadership to 4-H. They held a basketball tournament,
  • 4-H held steady during the war years

1950 -59

  • 4-H members increased to more than 600 girls and boys.
  • 4-H structure became more highly organized with terms for committee members, club expectation and more county-wide events
  • More youth became involved in state 4-H experiences
  • Extension Service moved into a new Farm Bureau building which provided meeting rooms and Extension Staff offices
  • The 4-H exchange program to other states began. The first exchange was with Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Exchanges (one year visit, next year host) continued with counties throughout the United States
  • The county-wide older youth club, 4-H Builders began. This group served banquets, did community service and experienced large cities - St Louis, Minneapolis and Chicago
  • 4-H camps tried several sites - Scotch Grove Boy Scout cabin, county fairgrounds etc
  • Boys 4-H club tours, girls 4-H achievement shows, garden tours became annual events
  • Countywide education emphasis for all 4-H clubs took place each winter

1960 -69

  • Girls 4-H and Boys 4-H were organized into a total structure
  • Girls and Boys 4-H Committees were combined to form a total 4-H Committee
  • Girls and Boys 4-H officers were united to be a 4-H Youth Council
  • more project leaders gave special training projects included horses, dogs, gardens, photography etc
  • Camping experiences grew into Junior and Senior camps as well as winter camp. Camp Wyoming was used.

The Great Jones County Fair

  • 4-H volunteers carried out the complete operation of the youth department at the county fair.
  • Exhibits had quotas as to the space available
  • A beef and dairy parade as well as a calf, pig and chicken scramble were grandstand events
  • The 4-H food stand expanded from a tent to a permanent shelter manned by 4-H'ers. The profit was the major source of income for programs and activities.
  • Extra projects became the science, mechanics and fine arts department
  • Cold watermelon feeds were big county fair treats
  • Outstanding livestock exhibits advanced to State Fair, AK-SAR-BEN, International Livestock show or Waterloo Meat Animal show

1970 -79

  • 4-H member participation exceeded more than 850 youth
  • College students were employed as summer aides to conduct summer youth outreach programs
  • 4-H'ers started taking part in Washington DC Citizenship experience
  • Summer 4-H club tours, achievement show, county camps, presentation days, Rally-Roundup and county fair involved hundreds of youth, parents and adult volunteers
  • Many activities like banquets and awards, county council elections, basketball tournaments, Share-the-Fun became annual events
  • A new show ring and a swine barn were constructed at the Great Jones County fairgrounds
  • Hogs from the fair began to be marketed on grade-and-yield with tours to plants for carcass evaluation
  • Jones county was the first Iowa county to begin nose printing beef animals for project identification


  • 4-H programs and philosophy evolved to youth development and life-skills
  • More short-term youth programs beyond the traditional 4-H club experience were carried out
  • There was increased competition for young people's time by sports, school activities, part-time work etc
  • A beef/dairy barn and a horse arena were constructed at the fairgrounds

1990 -2009

  • 4-H programming becomes more flexible and changeable
  • A three year cycle of foods, clothing and home improvement ends
  • 4-H girls and boys clubs start combining into a single community club
  • Specialized clubs begin with topics like shooting sports, horses, etc
  • Clover Kids, (k to 3rd grade) Summer Discovery day camps (k - 5th) and after-school programs begin
  • Camping experiences become more multi-county programs
  • More youth are involved in non-traditional 4-H clubs
  • Non-traditional youth programs such as shooting sports, the 5th quarter and summer community programs are developed
  • 4-H now covers a wider age range, k - 12 grades
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