Posted on August 23, 2020 at 12:00 PM by Global Reach
Anita Hamm is a longtime member of the Nemaha community. She moved with her family from Arlington, Nebraska to a farm near Nemaha in 1940 when she was in the 3rd grade. She became a member of the area girls’ 4-H club, Delaware Rainbows, at the age of 12.
Anita’s father, Merritt Cook, enjoyed raising and showing dairy cattle. He found an interest in Ayrshire Dairy Cattle, a relatively new dairy breed to Iowa at that time. She has fond memories of her dad showing and one memory really sticks out for her, Anita’s father and cow “Marigold” were the overall winners of the Dairy Show. Anita will never forget that moment of pride as her father handed over the Grand Champion banner to her family as they sat in the stands watching. Anita learned the skills and love of showing dairy cattle form her dad and it was she that later taught her own children how to show dairy cattle as well.
Anita would later marry Kenny Hamm and the two also raised dairy cattle and farmed near the Nemaha area. While raising their three kids, Anita was an active 4-H leader for the Delaware Rainbows, which was still at that time a girls’ club. She encouraged her own kids and other 4-H members to participate fully in the 4-H experience, from livestock and projects, to demonstrations and public speaking. Son, Jim, was a member of the Delaware Cadets, the boys’ club, and was able to show livestock. Jim’s sisters saw what fun he was having showing dairy cattle and decided to join in the fun. Anita remembers well the white uniforms of the dairy showmen that naturally got dirty during showtime and had to be washed and pressed before the big livestock parade that processed past the grandstand as the finale of fair.
Anita was and is to this day an active member of the Nemaha community. For years she partook in and led the Nemaha UMW group in sewing school bags and filling them with school supplies for local and oversea relief for impoverished school children. Over 800 school bags were sewn and packed for this project! Another outstanding citizenship project for Anita was the improvement of voting rates for Sac County. She was the backbone for figuring out the cost of voting per person and a changing force behind moving to only 9 precincts, finding a universal voting location and advertising when it was time to get out and vote. For this effort, Anita won a citizenship award though the local Nemaha Woman’s Club.
She will tell you that her time in 4-H and her time leading 4-H was time well spent. She believes that the 4-H program is a valuable teaching/learning tool for today’s youth. She mentioned that as a leader she felt she continued to learn just as much as the kids did! No finer woman will you ever sit with over a cup of coffee and discuss years of past and importance of community and all it has to offer!