NDSU Extension - Morton County


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September 23, 2019 4-H & FFA Blog

Karla Meikle, 4-H Youth Development


Dates to Remember:

October 6-12 – National 4-H Week
October 8 – Powerful Tools for Caregivers series begins – register now
October 14 – Stepping On series begins – register now

I wanted to share a blog one of our local 4-H members writes for her Ag Education Class.  Thank you ShiAnne Boehm for sharing with us. ShiAnne is a Junior at Mandan High School. Shared with permission.

Recently with all of the fairs I have been to, one question I always get asked is; what is 4-H and what is FFA.  For starters these are both organizations that work with youth from ages 5 to 18.  Many ask, "well aren’t these only for farm kids?'  The truth is that anyone can join, it does not matter whether you live in the big cities, or if you do live on a farm, they accept all types of kids.  Both organizations are amazing to work with and help you better yourself in leadership and community service.  

Many years ago in 1902 4-H was born in Ohio to help people better understand the new ways of agriculture.  In 1910 Jessie Field Shambaugh developed the clover pin with an H on each of the four leaves, and by 1912 they were called 4-H clubs.  When the Smith-Lever Act passed in 1914 it developed the Cooperative Extension System at USDA and nationalized 4-H.  Today 4-H is so much more, yes, you learn about agriculture, but you are also learning about leadership, community service, and STEM activities.  4-H is the largest American youth development organization today.  This organization is something that will help you soar high in life, from getting your dream job or even taking your grandparents farm and increasing revenue.  

A few years later in 1928 FFA was born.  At first this organization only allowed men to join, but later on in 1969 girls were allowed to join and nearly doubled the amount of kids.  FFA use to stand for Future Farmers of America, but in 1988 they changed the name to National FFA Organization to represent the growing diversity of agriculture.  The organization is about teaching students about agriculture, leadership, parliamentary procedural skills, and personal growth.  FFA has many opportunities to get involved from being a livestock judger, to judging land, or even giving a speech.  It has something everyone can enjoy being apart off.  

Joining 4-H is simple you can go to the website https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/mortoncountyextension  and go through the registration process to become a member in Morton County or your local county.  Once you are signed up you can contact your local extension office and see what clubs are available to join around you.  As a member you can compete at the county fair and show your static exhibit projects like welding or baking to a judge.  You can then take those projects and enter them at the state fair to gather more feedback on what you can improve on for next year.  You can also be an active member who only part takes in the shooting sports program which includes shotgun (trap), archery, air rifle, small bore rifle, hunting skills, air pistol, and small bore pistol.  4-H has many opportunities for youth to get involved in. 

To join a FFA chapter is a bit different, you have to be enrolled in an agriculture class at your school.  Once you are in an Ag class you are technically a FFA member.  As a member you can attend monthly meetings that your chapter holds, compete in career development events (CDE) like livestock judging, Ag sales, or even dairy foods, you can also compete in leadership development events (LDE) like parli pro(holding a meeting), prepared speech, or greenhand quiz.  FFA is an organization that has something for everyone to enjoy. 


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