Clayton County, Iowa 4-H History

Iowa 4-H History By County

Clayton County, Iowa 4-H History

 
The history of Clayton County 4-H dates back to 1918 when the Clayton County Farm Bureau was officially organized on February 28, 1918, in the Court House in Elkader. The Farm Bureau movement was started by a small group of farmers who believed they needed an organization to represent them, speak for them, and defend their interests. The farmers had heard of Extension work through Iowa State College in Ames, and realized that it could do much in helping farmers to profit through educational information.  Through the efforts of the Farm Bureau and Extension Service, the first Clayton County clubs were organized in 1920.        
        
The first two clubs were a Purebred Calf Club and a Purebred Gilt Club. The Purebred Calf Club was a countywide project with 25 members enrolled in this club. A committee was appointed to buy calves for the club. They purchased 19 Shorthorn, 2 Polled Herefords, 2 Milking Shorthorns, and one Aberdeen Angus. The calves were brought to Elkader, appraised and tested for tuberculosis, and drawn by lot. Each member paid the price of the calf which he drew. The average price of these calves was $150. These calves were shown at two fairs in the county--National Fair and Elkader Fair. 
 
1928 Stock ParadeThe other club, Purebred Gilt Club, was organized through the Farm Bureau townships.  The enrollment of the Gilt Club was 72 members. A committee was appointed in each township to manage the work, to assist the boys in procuring their pigs, and to help them in any way necessary. Poland China, Spotted Poland China, Duroc Jersey, and Chester White pigs were selected by the members as projects. The average cost was $25.  In October a Club Show and Sale was held. The 57 head sold for an average price of $101.20.
 
Also in 1920 two Livestock Judging Contests were held at two county fairs. Fifty-two boys and girls entered the contest at the National Fair. Five classes of livestock were judged--dairy cattle, sheep, horses, beef cattle, and hogs. The winner of this contest won $50 from the National Fair Board.  The second contest was held at the Elkader Fair where 48 youth entered the contest.

The next year, 1921, 18 clubs were organized in the county, and 105 youth exhibited their projects at county fairs in Elkader and National plus the District Fair at Strawberry Point. Clubs had meetings, club picnics, judging contests and shows. The first Dairy Calf Club was organized in 1921. The calves were purchased and distributed in August to 15 members. The club had six Jerseys, five Guernseys, and four Holsteins; all were purebred calves from nine months to a year old.  
 
In 1924, the first girls club work began with an emphasis on Clothing. They also studied music and music appreciation. Five clubs were organized with 80 members enrolled. The girls could also belong to a boys club, but had to keep a record in both.  There were 11 countywide club events during the year, with two public entertainments and 19 public demonstrations given by teams. Eight training schools were held for the leaders.  
 
In February 1925 the first poultry clubs were started in the county. The poultry clubs were especially interesting and attractive because they did not require a large investment. Forty-six boys and girls joined clubs in Elkader, Monona, and Luana. 
 
One of the early achievements of Clayton County 4-H members occurred in 1926 when three young people started on the road to national and international fame. The local dairy judging team, comprised of Gertrude Kaiser, Lloyd Kaiser and Kenneth Walter, went to the Dairy Cattle Congress in Waterloo, then to Detroit to the National Contest, where they competed with 20 other state teams, winning by 152 points over the nearest competitor. In July 1927 the Clayton County 4-H Dairy Judging Team competed in the International Judging Contest held at the Royal Livestock Show in London, England. The team was very unique because a girl, Gertrude Kaiser, was a member. In 1926 Miss Kaiser had the highest individual score ever made by a contestant in a national contest.

The team, along with Professor Fordyce Ely of the Dairy Husbandry Department of Iowa State College, Mrs. Ely, Mrs. J.H. Kaiser (mother of Gertrude), and Mr. A.R. Combs (County Agent and team coach), started on their international journey on May 28, 1927, by train. They met President Coolidge and Secretary of Agriculture Jardine in Washington, D.C. on May 30. From Washington they traveled to New York City where they boarded the ship “Majestic” on Saturday, June 4. They arrived in England on June 10.

The group visited Holland, Germany, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Jersey Isles, Guernsey Isles, England, Scotland, and Denmark. The Clayton County team placed second in the contest with Great Britain only 12 points ahead. In the contest were teams from all leading agricultural nations competing for the World’s Championship. Miss Gertrude Kaiser was the only girl in the competition. When the team returned home, a large reception was held at the fairgrounds in National honoring their accomplishments. 
   
 In 1927 Rally Day was held in Elkader and the girls 4-H County Organization was started. The first officers were President--Gertrude Kaiser, Vice-President--Doris Matt, Secretary-- Treasurer--Gladys Cords, Reporter--Lenore Wiltse, and Historian--Willa Helwig. 
   
The first county-wide boys and girls 4-H banquet was held at the Farmersburg Opera House in November 1928. The meal was furnished by local clubs, each furnishing a part of the menu. Musical numbers, skits, and talks were enjoyed. Mr. W.C. Monlux, President of the Clayton County Farm Bureau, was the guest speaker. Music was furnished by the Farmersburg band.
     
The first Clayton County 4-H Club Orchestra made their first appearance at the county fair at National in 1929. The orchestra was composed of 15 members and was under the direction of Miss Lucia Roggman of Garnavillo. The instruments included violin, cornet, guitar, piano, and harmonicas. 
     
In August of 1930 the first County Girls Club Style Show was held at the Elkader Fair. There were four classes: Street Class Dress, Afternoon Dress Class, Party Dress Class, and School Dress. Fern Stiehl was selected as the Club Style Show girl over-all winner with her Street Class Dress. Fern represented Clayton County at the State Style Show in Des Moines.
     
Reports show that 209 4-H Club members were enrolled in 11 organized clubs in the county in 1931. Of this number, 122 were enrolled in Girls’ Clothing Clubs, 32 in Dairy Calf Clubs, 30 in Baby Beef Club, and 25 in the Market Pig Club.  The first Girls 4-H Club camp ever to be held in the county was July 15-17 at McGregor Heights near McGregor, Iowa. 32 girls attended. Mr. I.T. Bode, specialist from the Extension Service, Ames, was in charge of the camp activities and program. 
   
 In 1932 the Boys 4-H Clubs members organized into a County Boys 4-H Association.  Officers elected were President--Karl H. Kainz, Elkader; Vice-President--Orlando Voelker, Farmersburg; and Secretary--Milton Voelker, Farmersburg. The boys outlined a plan to organize a County 4-H Baseball Team, to assist in the Club Rally Day and to organize a countywide orchestra.   On May 13, 1932, the Boys Association hosted the first countywide 4-H Club Party with 160 members in attendance. The program consisted of installation of officers, music, a melodrama, and guest speaker John Quist of the 4-H Department in Ames. 
   
The Des Moines Register Record Book Contest was held to select the Champion 4-H Club Member to represent Iowa at the 4-H Club Camp held in Washington, D.C. In 1934 Florence E. Meier (Becker) was chosen as Iowa’s Champion 4-H Club Girl. In June Florence traveled by bus to spend 10 days at the National Club Camp where delegates enjoyed sight-seeing tours and participating in the camp’s programs,
     
1937 Meadow Lark 4H ClubIn 1936 Girls Work emphasized Oven Products or Bread Baking. A total of 110 girls were enrolled. Members reported baking 635 loaves of whole wheat bread, 1,588 loaves of white bread, 487 bakings of whole cereal yeast bread variations, 556 bakings of white flour yeast bread variations, 1,294 cakes, and 1,135 bakings of cookies. Estimated value of the products was $2,748.02. 4-H members also reported planning, preparing, and serving 1,919 balanced meals. 
   
In 1940 there were 210 youth enrolled in club work. The first county-wide 4-H livestock tour took place in the southern part of the county on June 21, 1940. A draft horse project club was also organized that year. A county 4-H Boys Basketball Tournament was held at the Elkader High School with nine club teams participating. 
   
 In 1943 84 girls were enrolled in six clubs. Individual Club Goals were 1.) Each girl to strive to maintain her own good health by following good health and nutrition habits, by having a physical check-up and correcting defect found. 2.) Each girl to plan, prepare and serve at least eight meals for her family during the year.  3.) Each girl to can at least three jars of meat; six jars of vegetables (to include three varieties); and six jars of fruit (to include three varieties). 4.) Each girl to keep her current year’s record book and an expense record book. 5.) Each girl to start, or to continue to keep a long-time memory book. 6.) Each girl really to live up to her 4-H pledge and the following war-time slogan “Eat it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, Do Without.” 
   
By 1946 all 22 townships in Clayton County were organized in Extension work. A county-wide training school for local club officers of the boys and girls clubs was held in January. Emphasis was given to the essentials of a good meeting, characteristics of good officers and the best means of assisting with the entire 4-H club program in the county.
     
Two fairs in the county created a problem for the Extension Service and 4-H club members.  Folks in the north part of the county supported the Clayton County Fair at National, and the folks in the southern and central part supported the Elkader Fair. Through the years many attempts were made to get the two fair boards together with no successful results. The Extension Service along with county boys and girls committees were involved in the discussions.  Both fairs offered 4-H show premiums and wanted 4-H members to exhibit. Finally in 1948 a decision was made and the first Clayton County Boys and Girls Achievement Show was held at the National Fairgrounds. 
     
The first 4-H County Council was organized in 1951 composed of one member from each club. The purpose of the group was to promote interest in and expansion of the 4-H program.
     
1955 - Iowa Dairy GroupOn July 1, 1955, the Iowa Legislature separated the relationship between the Farm Bureau and Extension Service. 
    
In 1957 Clayton County had 17 Farm Project 4-H Clubs involving 296 members. Members carried a wide variety of projects. A majority of these were dairy and beef, but the number carrying swine, poultry, agronomy, farm electrification and garden projects was increasing. There were 26 Home Economists 4-H Clubs with 332 members. Their project for 1956-57 was Clothing, but many participated in other activities including health examinations, gardening, music appreciation, home grounds improvement, poultry, reading, keeping personal accounts, conservation, citizenship, and fire and accident prevention. 
     
In 1959 the baby beef calves were weighed rather than taped as in earlier years. Several weighing stations were set up at different points around the county. The calves were ear-tagged rather than tattooed. Eighty-eight 4-H members weighed 140 calves. 
 
A 4-H & FFA Calf Sale was planned and organized by the members of the Extension Council, Youth Committee and the 4-H Boys Committee for the convenience for the buyer and seller, the opportunity for members to see several calves without lots of traveling, comparisons could be made in quality and price, and provide a market outlet for locally raised calves. The first sale was held October 11, 1959, at the National Fairgrounds. Forty-one steer calves averaged $150.06 per head, and eight purebred heifers averaged $150.62. The sale totaled $7,357.50 with the average calf weighing 443 pounds and bringing $33.85 per hundred pounds. The 49 head of cattle were consigned by 20 producers and sold to 26 4-H & FFA members. 
     
1957 - Junior Style ShowClayton County 4-H enrollment in 1961 was 701 members (363 girls and 338 boys). The Boys and Girls Committees recognized a need for more coordination between the two programs and recommended that a new County 4-H Committee be organized composed of adults from the existing committees and the Extension Council Chairperson. 
     
The selection of the 4-H County Council was changed from club representatives to a ballot selection in 1965. Eight boys and eight girls were elected to serve.
   
 In 1973, 270 boys and 464 girls for a total of 734 members were enrolled.  By 1978 4-H enrollment had dropped to 635 members in 37 clubs. 
   
The Clayton County Dairy Judging Team won top honors at the 1977 Iowa State Fair. Team members included Trent Henkes, Luana; Alan Hempler, Garnavillo; Robin Mills, Strawberry Point; Linda Miene, Luana; and coaches were Janice Keene and Heidi Mills. 
   
 In January of 1981 Clayton County started the Clayton County Special Education 4-H Clubs at the Garnavillo School. Five clubs were organized with 58 members. It was arranged with the teachers to have one hour per month devoted to the 4-H club work.  All the meetings were set for the same day so that leadership and helpers could be shared. High School volunteers came to the aid of teachers, aides, and 4-H leaders. Projects ranged from place mats to refrigerator decorations and wood burning to decoupage.   
Darrin Palmer, Monona, earned the 1985 Iowa 4-H horse project award. He received a trip to the National 4-H Congress in Chicago.  Darrin was instrumental is starting a new 4-H group in Clayton County called 4-Horsemanship, a club dedicated to the horse project and activities. 
     
Clayton County Dairy Judging Team won the state contest two consecutive years in 1985 and 1986. Team members in 1985 were Steve Wright, Garnavillo; Tim Harbaugh, Guttenberg; Doug Schmelzer, Guttenberg; and Mark Schlueter, Guttenberg. In 1986 the team included Dave Gisleson, Luana; Christine McNally, Monona; Renae Moon, Monona; and Ken Kishman, Farmersburg. The teams were coached by Trent Henkes, Luana. 
    
Clayton County piloted the Clover Kids program for youth in Kindergarten through third grades in 1995. The Edgewood Community Child Care and Learning Center used the curriculum in an after school program, and three county Clover Kids clubs were started.  
   
In the 1995 Clayton County 4-H held their first Omelet Brunch as a fundraiser for the county program. A menu of omelets, muffins, fruit, orange juice, milk and coffee was served to 300 people. A quilt raffle was also held along with it.  In 1998 a silent auction replaced the quilt raffle. In 2010 over 1,000 omelets were served at the annual brunch. 
     
During the Clayton County Fair in 2003 James C. Hosch, County Extension Education Director, was honored for his 40 years of service to Clayton County.  4-H members and 4-H alumni attended the fair wearing green t-shirts printed with the saying “40 Great Years with Jim.” Jim was also selected as Clayton County’s first nominee to the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame. 
    
The Clayton County 4-H Senior Dairy Judging Team won the 2003 Iowa State 4-H dairy judging contest held August 6 at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. Team members were Craig Fisher, Edgewood; Emily Hanson, Elgin; Jesse Landsgard and Zach Landsgard, Postville.   The team scored 1,613 points out of the possible 1,800. Emily Hanson was also the overall individual winner. She scored 562 points out of a possible 600.  The team represented Iowa at the 2003 National 4H Judging Contest in Madison where they placed tenth.  
         
Both the junior and senior dairy judging teams from Clayton County won the state 4-H dairy judging contest held August 11 at the 2004 Iowa State Fair. Members of the senior division team were Megan Kregel, Guttenberg; Anna Troester, Garnavillo; Leah Henkes, Luana; and Kayla Koether; McGregor.  The senior team represented Iowa in the Dairy Judging Contest at the World Dairy Expo in Madison.  The winning junior team consisted of Anderson Althoff, Edgewood; Matt Henkes, Luana; Lucas Klosterman, West Union; and Jordan Landsgard, Postville. 
     
Clayton County had 18 4-H clubs with 438 members in 2004.  The county also had 48 youth enrolled as members of seven Clover Kid Clubs.
    
2008 Clayton Community ServiceIn 2006 a countywide Clover Kid Day was organized.  Each year since youth and adult volunteers help organize the educational themed fun day which is held the last Saturday in February. Beach Party, Buck-a-Roo Bash, County Fair and Pajama Jam are the themes that are rotated. Hands–on sessions include music, games, crafts and educational materials. Attendance each year ranges from 90-120 kindergarten through third grade students.  
     
Clayton County won the 2007 Iowa State Fair 4-H dairy judging contest.  The team of Matt Henkes, Luana; Jordan Landsgard, Postville; Leah Ruff, Farmersburg; Baili Kerns, Edgewood; represented Iowa in the national contest at the World Dairy Expo in Madison.  The team was coached by Trent, Leslie and Leah Henkes, Luana; Larry Landsgard, St. Olaf; and Mark Fisher, Edgewood.  Also in 2007 Clayton County won first place in the Iowa State 4-H Meats judging contest on August 25 in Ames.  Team members included Zach LeGrand, Colesburg; Natasha Berns, Garnavillo; Kendra White, Colesburg; Brandon Friedlein, Guttenberg; with Jill Hefel, Holy Cross, as the alternate.  The team was coached by Steve Zaruba of Colesburg. The winning team represented Iowa in the National 4-H Meats Contest in Kansas.
   
In 2007 the Clayton County 4-H Foundation was established through the Iowa 4-H Foundation. The Foundation’s objectives are to generate funds and increase the principal of the Clayton County 4-H Endowment Fund; to oversee the income, principal and interest of the fund; and to provide support for all Extension youth and 4-H educational activities and opportunities. The Board has three major fundraisers each year – golf tournament, celebrity and showmanship classes at the county fair, and 4-H Fun Night.   
     
2008 - Clover KidsIn 2008 a new building was built at the fairgrounds in memory of long-time Clayton County Extension Director Jim Hosch.  The Jim Hosch Arena provides much needed housing for cattle exhibits and a new milking parlor during the fair season. During the off-season the arena is used as a storage area for vehicles, campers, trailers and boats.                                                                                                                           
A two-year 4-H Citizenship project alliance was established in 2009. This group is open to all intermediate and senior age 4-H’ers enrolled in the Citizenship project area and choosing to participate. Year 1 includes local and state level citizenship education, tour of the county courthouse and jail, and a trip to the Iowa State Capital in Des Moines. Year 2 involves national citizenship education and a trip to Washington, D.C. with a four-night stay at the National 4-H Center in Chevy Chase, MD. 
    
In 2010 the junior Livestock Judging team won the state contest.  Luke Orr, Melanie Lane, Kennie Orr and Katie Orr were the team members. Our Meats judging team placed second at the state contest in Ames. Kellie Walters, Hannah VonHandorf, Morgan Tauke and Matt Althoff participated.  Kellie Walters was the top individual.
     
Clayton County CouncilOne of the highlights of the 2010 fair was the “Celebration of Green Hair.” In the fall of 2009 Clayton County 4-H clubs were challenged to increase their membership by three percent.  If they did so, the Clayton County Extension staff agreed to color their hair green.  Clayton County increased 4-H membership from 429 to 484 members – over a 12 percent increase! Clubs also added 57 new families. Three new clubs were started with 36 new members. Representatives from the top four clubs had the honors of spray-painting everyone’s hair green. 
     
Clayton County’s newest 4-H club, ClayCoCom Brainiacs, Central Elkader Lego League Team, finished in the top ten at the Regional FIRST LEGO League Competition in Cedar Falls in December 2010. This year’s challenge was Body Forward.  Through the 2010 Body Forward™ Challenge, youth explored the cutting-edge world of Biomedical Engineering to discover innovative ways to repair injuries, overcome genetic predispositions, and maximize the body's potential, with the intended purpose of leading happier and healthier lives. The club participated in state competition in Ames in January 2011. 
     
As with any organization, the 4-H program continues to evolve to meet the needs of youth. Clayton County currently has 18 community clubs, 12 Clover Kid Clubs and six special interest clubs. 2012 enrollment is 444 4-H members, 78 Clover Kids and 92 screened volunteers.
 
2012 Clayton County Washington D.C. tripOmelet Breakfast

 
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