Posted on August 28, 2017 at 9:02 AM by Global Reach
Leroy Jensen has been a teacher, a farmer, and the Wright County Extension Education Director over the years, but he’s been a lifelong 4-Her. For that, he has been selected as this year’s Wright County inductee to the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame.
Jensen’s 4-H journey began when he was 10 years old. Showing hogs and market beef kept him busy, and it fueled his passion for 4-H and FFA.
Leroy and his wife, Mariam have two children, Troy and Melanie, who became heavily involved in the Emmet County 4-H program. They earned trips to the Iowa State Fair with their 4-H projects. Throughout their children’s 4-H careers, Leroy and Miriam took on the roles of more than just 4-H parents; the couple served on 4-H committees and as 4-H leaders. Leroy also served on the swine committee.
In 2000, Leroy and Miriam moved to Clarion where Leroy began working as the Wright County Extension Education Director. Leroy enjoyed this job for nine years. He coordinated workshops and programs, chaperoned camps, and was available for questions at judging day at the Wright County Fair. In 2000 he was instrumental in starting the county livestock judging contest. In 2006 he helped organize a local event to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 4-H emblem birthplace.
After retiring in 2009, some might have expected him to take a step back from 4-H. On the contrary. He still remains an active participant and supporter of 4-H and FFA. He is part of the Clarion Community Buying Group. They purchase livestock from area 4-H youth at the end of the fair. The money these kids get from the sale of their animals helps offset the costs of raising the animal or goes towards purchasing a project for next year.
Leroy would also like to stress that showing livestock isn’t just for farm kids. He feels so strongly that “city kids” also have the opportunity to show livestock, if they so desire. He has helped find farms to raise animals for those city kids wishing to do so. He matched a brother and sister with an area farmer so they could raise hogs. Those kids have entered swine at the Wright County Fair for the past three or four years.
Leroy said he is willing to help make those connections if there are kids interested. Beef is hard to do, but swine and sheep are a real possibility.
“Seeing the 4-H projects, and the youth looking at each other’s projects are what I love most about the fair,” he said.
“The fact they would consider me for this honor...it’s very humbling and rewarding. There are a lot of people who have done many great things,” said Leroy.