Iowa 4-H Foundation

Posted on April 6, 2011 at 10:30 AM by Global Reach

Paul TaffPaul C. Taff - Assistant Extension Director and State Club Leader, Iowa State Extension

4-H Efforts: Began 4-H affiliation as a member of "Uncle Henry Wallace's Corn Club Boys" in 1903. As an Associate & Extension Professor, wrote 4-H club circulars and was in charge of state junior corn shows. Appointed Assistant Extension Director in 1917 and State Club Leader in 1919. During his tenure, the Iowa 4-H Foundation was started and land was purchased for the Iowa 4-H Camping Center. Served with National 4-H Congress and National 4-H Club Camp. Led an IFYE trip to Europe in 1951. Helped with research for The 4-H Story (Reck, 1951), worked on collecting 4-H club records at USDA, organized National 4-H Foundation records and prepared Iowa 4-H history records for the Iowa State University library.

Paul Taff joined a boys Corn Club in 1903 that sparked a career in 4-H and Extension. At age 17, he enrolled in a farming short course at Iowa State College. He returned in 1905 & 1906 and earned the highest exam scores. Prof. Perry Holden hired him to assist with the short courses and demonstration work. Taff enrolled at ISC, while also working for Extension and ISC, earning a B.S. in 1913. Hired as an Associate & Extension Professor, he wrote 4-H club circulars about growing crops and was in charge of state junior corn shows. In 1915 he accompanied 43 Iowa corn club county winners to the Panama-Pacific Exposition. Appointed as Assistant Extension Director in 1917 and State Club Leader in 1919, he served in both positions until retiring in 1952.

Taff joined the National 4-H Congress advisory committee in 1922 and was superintendent in 1923-1937. He received a citation at the 50th National Congress as the only person to attend all 50. Taff was also involved with National 4-H Club Camp. Taff led 54 youth from 34 states in 1951 on an International Farm Youth Exchange trip to Europe, visiting 14 countries. He was granted an audience with Pope Pius XII and discussed 4-H work. An avid historian, Taff helped to research The 4-H Story (Reck, 1951), a history of 4-H club work; worked with Gertrude Warren on collecting 4-H club records at USDA; organized National 4-H Foundation records; and prepared Iowa 4-H history records.

Quote: Rural youth of today have all the common conveniences of their urban counterparts and are just as
sophisticated. But their advantage is the open air, the sense of being part of nature, and the routine of hard work
that they enjoy on the farm.

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