Iowa 4-H Foundation

Posted on July 24, 2012 at 11:02 AM by Global Reach

Mike ErdmanMike was an eight year member of the Boone Boomers 4-H club, Dallas County. Encouraged by his parents, he was very active, participating in a variety of projects including beef, foundation beef herd, swine, woodworking, welding, leadership, and citizenship.  Some of the county awards he earned included swine, beef, leadership, citizenship, beef showmanship, and the JC Penney Award. Additionally, he participated in state 4-H conference, state leadership conference, 4H citizen short course, was a member of the county Iowa State Fair livestock judging team and was a Chicago and Washington DC trip winner. Mike was awarded the honor of Dallas County Outstanding 4-H member in 1974 and rounded out his 4-H years as a member of the State 4-H Council.  A 1974 graduate of Waukee High School, Mike attended Iowa State University in Ames. While an ISU student, Mike did a summer internship with the Guthrie County Extension Service and performed numerous duties with the 4-H program. Mike graduated from ISU with a BS in Agriculture in 1979.

After graduating, he located to a farm in Madison County. As his sons got older, he looked forward to getting back involved with 4-H and in 1982 Mike was elected to the Madison County Livestock and Fair Association Board. He has served on the board continuously since that time, the last several years as President. For many of these years he also spent countless hours as a 4-H parent, supporting his sons’ involvement. His philosophy on the board and regarding the fair has always been ‘ It is for the kids’. He focuses on making the fair experience rewarding for the 4-H kids. In 1992 he and another fair board member felt the poultry project was a good small animal project many kids could be involved in. They worked to get appropriate cages and encouraged their sons, large animal exhibitors, to join the poultry project to hopefully show others the advantages.  Prior to the show, he worked to get crowd interest and involvement to the then very small gathering. Those young 4-Hers entered 3 pens, and at the conclusion of the fair in what was a first, those broilers were sold at the livestock auction. In the coming years, the project took off and today has a large number of entries. In 1993 he started an open class bottle calf show for 5-12 year olds, with the idea to get younger siblings of 4-H members involved and get them excited to join 4-H. The thought behind it was not only the learning experiences and responsibilities gained, but the possibility to build a foundation herd toward raising a calf eligible to exhibit in the 4-H beef program.  The 2nd year of the program, he added a 2nd year class. This was to encourage the continued care and return of the calf by the child. This has been a very successful addition to the fair. A great number of kids have done as Mike had hoped, and became involved in the 4-H beef project.  Above all it added another strong 4-H family activity. 
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