Posted on August 22, 2022 at 11:14 AM by Cade Cameron
In Fremont County, Jim & Carla Nahkunst have been the whole hog for 4-H!
The Nahkunsts both grew up in Fremont County 4-H, Jim as a Washington-Madison member in Hamburg, and Carla as a Riverside Wren in Randolph. Jim’s favorite projects were beef and woodworking. Carla had entries in swine, beef, woodworking, sewing and baking.
The Nahkunsts were married in 1989 and settled on Jim’s family farm. They have two sons, Colin, and Bradley. When Colin was old enough to join 4-H, there was no club in Hamburg, so Carla rebooted Washington P.E.P., serving as a club leader for 15 years. Jim joined her a few years later. Together, they came up with a plan to incorporate livestock into the culture of their club, and membership grew from 5 to 36!
For 12 years, Jim and Carla hosted the Nahkunst Swine Project, making it possible for 4-H members to show pigs by sharing their facilities. A highlight was the annual trip to Northwest Missouri State University to pick out pigs and tour livestock barns. The 26 kids in the project learned how to care for and exhibit hogs, but more importantly, they learned responsibility from the chore schedule and managing money through loans set up at the local bank.
Swine wasn’t the Nahkunsts only focus. As 4-H club leaders, they built their share of parade floats, hauled kids to 4-H sporting events, spent the night at the zoo, and hosted roller-skating parties and hayrack rides for their club, all while enjoying time with their sons as a 4-H family. In 2009, they had a wonderful time chaperoning Citizenship Washington Focus, in Washington, D.C.
Their commitment to 4-H didn’t start or end with being club leaders. Jim’s other volunteer roles include 17 years on the Fair Board and a term on Extension Council. He also secured buyers for the 4-H Premium Sale for several years. Most recently, he helped establish the Cameron Owen Enthusiasm Award to honor a young 4-H member who died too soon. As for Carla, she served as a Horse & Pony Superintendent, judged trail classes, and served on Extension Council.
The Nahkunsts farm with their sons near Hamburg. Brad and his wife, Bailey, welcomed their first child, Sam, in December. He is Jim and Carla’s first grandchild, the 7th generation to grow up on the Nahkunst farm, and a promising 4-H cattle showman! The Nahkunst family plans to continue enjoying the Fremont County Fair and the Iowa State Fair for years to come. Through giving of their time and talents, they gained passion and skills for themselves and their kids, life-long friends, and many fond memories.