Posted on August 23, 2020 at 12:00 PM by Global Reach
Duane Johnson didn’t have experience with 4-H when he first moved to Benton County in the late ‘70s. As an auctioneer and friend of the cattle industry, it didn’t take long for a community member to ask him to volunteer with the Benton County 4-H program by helping with the 4-H livestock auctions at the Benton County Fair. What started as a one-time commitment easily flowed into almost 30 years of volunteer service with Benton County 4-H. Duane helped sell the 4-H’ers projects in the ‘70s, and then he sold their children’s animals… and without a blink he sold their grandchildren’s animals!
While there is excitement in holding responsibility on the auction block, Duane is quick to share that his participation in the program was deeper than selling livestock. He worked hard to make sure everyone was treated fairly, had opportunities to market their projects, and didn’t fall through the cracks in the auction ring or in life. He knows that instilling a strong work ethic in 4-H starts with the ‘little ones’, from bottle-babies to 1200 pound steers… you can bet Duane was keeping an eye out for the 4-H and FFA exhibitors on the other end of the lead rope.
Duane used his connections in the community and industry to help grow the audience at the livestock auction at the fair. He could scan the crowd and know most every face, what drew them to the fair, and how they were going to support the youth with livestock projects. Local businesses found their seat at the auction, partially in thanks to Duane, and stayed for years to support 4-H and FFA youth.
Duane shared that his time volunteering with Benton County 4-H was a growing experience and although every year was different, the passion the exhibitors had for their livestock projects didn’t waiver. He felt the weight of his responsibility as the auctioneer and worked hard to build lasting relationships with youth exhibitors and their families. Duane instilled strong values in the families he connected with and youth he mentored. He has history in Benton County as an active community member and has been recognized by the local FFA program for his contributions. Duane Johnson is, over all things, humble in his accomplishments. For Duane, his volunteer efforts come down to the impact he makes on the youth in the 4-H and FFA programs. His favorite recognition came in the form of handwritten thank you cards from 4-H and FFA members after the fair… which he proudly displayed in his office. Benton County 4-H wants to thank Duane for his contributions to the program and for the positive impact he made on youth exhibitors.