Iowa 4-H Foundation

Posted on April 5, 2011 at 1:36 PM by Global Reach

Jim & Donna LeinJim and Donna Lein have been involved in the 4-H program in Fayette County, other Iowa counties, and state and national events for over 37 years.  Contributions to 4-H programs by the couple have involved livestock, especially sheep.  Their personal participation, however, began with dairy cattle.  Sheep projects, along with dog, cat, rabbit, and poultry projects, began with 4-H membership of their five children.

As their children began their sheep projects, Jim found himself in demand as shearer for project market lambs before the show at the Fayette County Fair.  This led to him filling the same need for 4-H’ers at the State Fair.  Next was helping kids learn about “fitting” the breeding stock animals.  Jim served as Fayette County Fair 4-H livestock show assistant for 18 years and as a helper on non-livestock judging day.  In January, 2006, he was a presenter at the show clinic for livestock projects sponsored by ISU Extension and Kent feed dealers.  After he accepted a request to judge a 4-H sheep show, he has traveled to many counties in Iowa through the years and will judge two shows this summer.  

Supporting the livestock business of the family farm, Donna found herself involved in many responsibilities regarding the sheep and 4-H.  One of the most satisfying projects was the couple’s leadership of the Fayette County sheep project club.  A goal of the club was to upgrade the sheep barn at the Fayette County fairgrounds by cleaning, painting, installing new barn signs, placing gravel in the walkways, and other improvements.  A mini Avenue of (sheep) Breeds was exhibited several years.  It included information about the various breeds that the 4-H’ers exhibited.  The family has supported sheep breed displays at Cattle Congress and the Iowa Sate Fair for over 20 years.  For the past 15 years Donna has assembled the newsletter for the National Lincoln Sheep Breeders Association.  Many of the Association’s junior members are also 4-H’ers.  For three years Donna conducted a youth contest for the American Corriedale Association in which the winner received credit toward the purchase of a sheep.  In the non-livestock area she first served on the Fayette County 4-H Committee beginning in 1970.  She has been an exhibit judge, judging day helper, and 4-H record book judge for many years.  In 1998 Donna was appointed to the Iowa Governor’s Council for Agricultural Education.

Jim and Donna’s most satisfying reward is supporting their children and other 4-H’ers to help them benefit from the 4-H program and develop their talents.   Their oldest daughter, Shelley, learned business skills early through 4-H record keeping.  She continued to build on these skills earning the State 4-H Sheep Award and continues to use these skills each day of her adult life.  Sarah’s multi-talents were well supported by the 4-H projects she chose including the International Four-H Youth Exchange (IFYE) to New Zealand for nine months which provided the opportunity to share her experience and knowledge (including sheep) with 4-H’ers and their families.  Susan, a National 4-H Garden Award winner and landscape architect, continued her interest by serving in the Peace Corps where she taught sustainability from growing food from the land in Guatamala.  Today she continues to teach near the Appalachian Mountain region.  David, now deceased, benefited from many 4-H projects and programs which enhanced his abilities to work with others and to teach.  Nathan challenged himself with a wide range of non-livestock and livestock projects, achieved the State 4-H Sheep Award as a high school junior, and has continued many of his interests and his flock of sheep.

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Categories: Fayette

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