4-H/FFA: Reaching Out to Our Urban and Farm Youth

Husker Home Place

Fair time is when 4-H and FFA youth and their talents are on display, but these organizations work all year long.

Published on: September 3, 2013

I just returned yesterday from a great day at the State Fair. As always, I enjoyed the food, agricultural displays, the food, livestock, entertainment, the food, and all of Nebraska on display. Did I mention the food?

Anyway, after being involved in the writing of the 4-H articles that appear along with Don McCabe’s FFA stories as part of a youth package on pages 7 and 8 of your September issue of Nebraska Farmer, it occurs to me that these organizations probably get the best press around the time of county and state fairs around the country, but they are working hard all year long.

According to University of Nebraska Extension 4-H program administrator, Kathleen Lodl, our state has one of the highest 4-H enrollment rates as a percentage of our population of any other state. Part of this is due to the outstanding outreach programs like school enrichment, after-school programs and camping experiences modern 4-H offers to the youth of our state.

With agriculture literacy as one of the official, stated focus points for 4-H, the organization, along with FFA, is working hard not only for the betterment of our youth, but also to inspire and encourage future adults who are knowledgeable about where their food comes from and appreciative of the folks on the land who produce it.

Sure, 4-H and FFA today are more than cows and plows. They are robotics and computers. They are leadership and organization. They are management skills and engineering. They bring out the best from our youth. And they educate young folks who may never set foot on a farm or ranch, but who hopefully will carry with them to adulthood a better understanding of the processes and production techniques involved in bringing food and fiber to world.

Be sure to stop by.  A week from today, the 36th annual Husker Harvest Days will convene at Grand Island. You don’t want to miss a minute of this year’s activities, displays, demonstrations and exhibits. And while you are enjoying HHD, don’t forget to stop by the Nebraska Farmer hospitality tent to visit with editors and staff, register for drawings, learn more about marketing from Paul Burgener and boost your health IQ by visiting the health-related booths located throughout the tent. We look forward to seeing you there. By the way, did I mention they have great food at HHD?

Here is this week’s discussion question. How many members of your family have been impacted by 4-H and FFA? Feel free to share your comments and experiences with us here.

Check out Nebraska Farmer online for the latest news on the growing and grazing season. You can read my new print column – Bow Creek Chronicles – in Nebraska Farmer magazine, or follow Husker Home Place on Twitter. And watch this blog the first Friday of every month for my “Field Editor’s Report” featuring the positive stories about the families who raise our food. Pass it on!