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4-H fears being put out to pasture
The Lowell Sun ^ | Thursday, August 21, 2003 | AMANDA KRUPKOSKI

Posted on 08/21/2003 4:12:03 PM PDT by Willie Green

For education and discussion only. Not for commercial use.

WESTFORD -- Sheep will be sheared, horses will be mounted, and local youths will display prowess honed with a multitude of other beasts and crafts when the 48th annual Middlesex County 4-H Fair opens tomorrow.

But the fair and the 4-H Youth and Family Development Program may be an endangered species.

"4-H is very much in limbo-land right now," says Mary McBrady, executive director of the Massachusetts 4-H Foundation, a non-profit organization that holds fund-raisers to support 4-H training and after-school programs statewide.

4-H is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which designates one university in each state as a land grant university. In Massachusetts, the University of Massachusetts Amherst is responsible for funding many programs, including 4-H, through its Cooperative Extension office.

Because of budget cuts at the university this year, 4-H's budget of $1.4 million was cut by $975,000. That resulted in 18 4-H staff members receiving layoff notices. Earlier this month, however, notices for six extension educators and four part-time secretaries were rescinded. The other layoffs are effective Oct. 11. The cuts will also close five of the 12 field offices statewide by Sept. 30, though none local.

But 4-H officials fear the cuts may be the beginning of the end.

They have heard that there will no longer be liability insurance for 4-H clubs and volunteers, which would mean they would have to stop meeting.

"The program could completely disappear because the program was completely gutted with this decision," McBrady says.

But Stephen Demski, director of the UMass Amherst Cooperative Extension, says it's not time to panic.

"Any suggestion that the 4-H program is ending is absolutely incorrect," Demski says. "The university will continue to provide liability insurance for the 4-H program in exactly the way we have before."

Demski admits some staff members have received their pink slips and that some county offices will close, but says the university is pitching in $150,000 beyond what is left in the 4-H budget. He says the ideal solution to would be for the Massachusetts 4-H Foundation to contribute $100,000, for $150,000 to come from grants and donations and for 4-H members to pay membership fees of maybe $25 per person, which he is hoping will bring in about $100,000. Currently, 4-H members only pay fees to their individual clubs, not the program. Fees run the gamut, but some are as little as $10 a year.

In 2005, UMass will stop funding 4-H, but will maintain extension educators on campus. At that point, the 4-H Program must be completely self-sufficient, Demski says.

Eugene Tworek, president of the state 4-H advisory council, has been lobbying state and U.S. legislators about the problem. And meetings across the state have been held, but with no quick solutions.

"4-H has been dealt a near-fatal blow, but I have a lot of hope that the legislators will provide some assistance," Tworek says.

In Middlesex County, the annual fair draws a huge crowd an estimated 10,000 for last year's three-day run. But members participate in programs all year. They belong to clubs, attend meetings, go to seminars and give visual presentations.

"We allow kids to work on their passions and interests in such a way that they're learning life skills in a very hands-on way," says Wendy Marcks, northeast extension educator for the Massachusetts 4-H Program. "They learn things like rocketry, aviculture, science and technology, communications, art and career development."

The 4-H Program, which marked its 100th anniversary last year, reaches about 50,000 children annually and has about 5,000 volunteers in Massachusetts. The value of volunteer time has been estimated at $7.7 million, McBrady says.

"Kids learn leadership skills, team building, working together as a club, public speaking and community service," McBrady added. "4-H (which stands for head, heart, hands and health) is based on good values and helping others and learn by doing. To lose that opportunity for future generations is a grave concern for the volunteers."

But Demski says information about the future of 4-H has been skewed and blown out of proportion.

"I believe 4-H is going to prosper," Demski says. "I believe sincerely that there is a very deep reservoir for 4-H throughout the state and that individuals, corporations and foundations will be willing to support the 4-H financially."

Marcks and Karen MacPherson, a member of the Middlesex County 4-H Fair Inc. board of directors, say if 4H did cease to exist, the local board would try to run a similar fair, but it wouldn't nearly as big.

Until the air clears, Marcks says she is not going to give up on 4-H. She will continue support the members, starting this weekend at the fair.

"The fair is for people to come and enjoy," Marcks says, noting that members are not going to go out of their way to discuss the funding crisis. "There will be (4-H members) to talk to if people are interested and want to help, but they shouldn't have to worry about being harassed."

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; US: Massachusetts
KEYWORDS: 4h; 4hclubs; grangelist; usda
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1 posted on 08/21/2003 4:12:03 PM PDT by Willie Green
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To: Willie Green
Same thing's happening at Iowa State University.
I expect one of the chemical or seed companies will see this as an opportunity.
2 posted on 08/21/2003 4:16:29 PM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: Willie Green; AAABEST; Ace2U; Alamo-Girl; Alas; amom; AndreaZingg; Anonymous2; ApesForEvolution; ...
Rights, farms, environment ping.

Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from this list.

3 posted on 08/21/2003 4:19:08 PM PDT by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
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To: Willie Green

Grange Youth Fair Program

We are all familiar with the 4H and FFA showing animal and other project at the local fairs. But did you know that in the State Fair and Exposition Rules that govern all these fair, that there is another category called Grange Youth!

While a young program (no pun intended), having started in the late 1980's, the program is being adopted by more fair districts each year as we are able to show them that we have young people wanting to exhibit under the category of Grange Youth.

Some of our most successful programs are found in El Dorado County, Antelope Valley, San Fernando Valley, Amador County and Nevada County Fair Districts.

What categories can you show under? How about beef, sheep, swine, diary and market goats, rabbits, poultry, cavies, horse, pygmy goats, arts & crafts, horticulture, floriculture, textiles and whatever categories you wish to enter as long as your local fairs approve. You might also participate in the " Feature Booth " contest at your local fair. All Granges should have a " Grange Information Booth " if they do or do not have a GYF Program participating. This is a great way to let the public know we are still here and serve as a " Friend of The Farmer".

E-mail the State Grange Youth Fair Program Director for more information, or details on how you can learn more about this program, just click on the image to the left.

4 posted on 08/21/2003 4:27:49 PM PDT by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
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To: Willie Green

Grange Youth for America

California State Grange Announces the Grange Youth for America Program Kick Off

The California State Grange announces two opportunities to be involved with the Kick Off for a new and exciting Youth Program; Grange Youth for America.

We will be presenting this innovative program to Grange youth from ages 5 to 19 At two separate Youth conferences; one in Redding, August 8 and 9, 2003 and one in Bakersfield, September 5 and 6, 2003.

Plan to arrive on the Friday evening of each conference date to start bright and early the next morning to participate in a day crammed full of activities, learning, sharing and FUN – FUN – FUN.

Cost will be $ 30.00 per day or $ 60.00 for both evenings lodging and all event meals per individual attending.

Please contact the California State Grange office to register at 916 454-5805, extension 10 and Summer will be happy to sign you up!

Please also have the following information available when you call: Name and age of child, children or youth attending, state the need for a chaperone if required, and which conference you are interested in attending.

The Redding Youth Conference will be held at the Red Lion Hotel, 1830 Hilltop Drive in Redding on August 8th and 9th.

The Bakersfield Youth Conference will be held at the Holiday Inn Select, 801 Truxtun Avenue in Bakersfield September 5th and 6th.

For program information, contact Mike Byers at 916 454-5805, extension 16.

5 posted on 08/21/2003 4:29:28 PM PDT by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
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To: Willie Green maybe behind this move...this is MASS. after hell w/ animal husbandry/crops and the farmily the P.E.T.A./E.L.F. will whine.
6 posted on 08/21/2003 4:29:49 PM PDT by skinkinthegrass (Just because you're paranoid,doesn't mean they aren't out to get you. :)
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To: Willie Green
4-H is absolutely one of the best things you can do for your kid. It is a conservative organization that has existed since 1902, and it teaches hard work, leadership skills, community service, and respect for tradition. It also teaches a whole SLEW of skills that may one day be lost in this country. 4-H families tend to be tight, as 4-H is NOTHING ifit did not have the entire family pulling for it's members.

My daughter Caitlin is mildly autistc, and the confidence and skill that I have seen bloom in her since we joined 4-H are astounding and much better "therapy" than any shrink or any drug could be for her. Just talking to the judges and receiving awards and praise for the projects she works so hard on has made her "light up" and reach out to people in a way i never thought possible.

I cannot praise 4-H highly enough.

Want info? Freepmail me!


(Who can tell you more about llamas than you ever wanted to know! )

7 posted on 08/21/2003 4:32:50 PM PDT by tiamat ("Just a Bronze-Age Gal, Trapped in a Techno World!")
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To: tiamat
To add to the above: You do NOT have to live on a farm or have an animal to belong to 4-H. We have city kids and an "urban" program, too!


8 posted on 08/21/2003 4:36:54 PM PDT by tiamat ("Just a Bronze-Age Gal, Trapped in a Techno World!")
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To: farmfriend
"The Pilgrims refused to set sail in 1620 because their liablity insurance was cancelled by the King of England..."
9 posted on 08/21/2003 4:55:19 PM PDT by snopercod
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To: farmfriend
Okay, I'll bite.

I've seen the buildings and heard people mention it.

But while we live in the country, we are not FROM the country and we do not farm

SO! (grin)

What's a Grange?

Thanks in advance. Tia

10 posted on 08/21/2003 5:06:32 PM PDT by tiamat ("Just a Bronze-Age Gal, Trapped in a Techno World!")
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To: Willie Green
I must say that this article bothers me greatly, but somehow I can hardly see 4-H ceasing to exist. There are far too many dedicated voluneers and 4-H members out there to allow it to happen. As a member of a horse club and my county horse council, I can tell you that this has been a worry for some time, and an issue that has been brought up frequently. If people knew what was good for them, they wouldn't stop funding. 4-H is the best thing that could happen to a youth. It fosters good work habits as well as an excellent work ethic through county, state, and national horsebowl, horse judging hippology, and visual presentations, not to mention record keeping and not to shows. VPs alone are a project and a half, as any 4-H'er (or 4-H leader) knows. One has to study hard to succeed to go to any state or national competition. To make it to nationals alone required quite a comittment for me and my horsebowl team mates, and coachs.

Not only that, but one of the prime goals of 4-H clubs is community service. I did countless community service projects with my club, from ongoing projects, such as collecting pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald house, to donating supplies to a horse rescue and animal shelter. 4-H builds leadership skills to allow youth to become better leaders.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that to abolish 4H is a huge, huge mistake. Are you into it?
11 posted on 08/21/2003 5:08:26 PM PDT by Beaker (4H.. the power of youth)
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To: Beaker
No, I've never been personally involved with 4-H.
But I recognize it for the excellent organization that it is, and I support those who do participate.
12 posted on 08/21/2003 5:29:19 PM PDT by Willie Green (Go Pat Go!!!)
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To: Beaker
I am just WAITING for the day til Caitlin turns 12. Since that is the "magic" age and you can do so much with 4-H then!

We are getting litigated to death though. Llama rules have changed so that you can't show til you are 9 due to "risk"

(And yet I see little kids handling horses and swine! )

If anything takes down 4-h it will be the damn lawyers and the bed-wetters.


( I Bleed Green!)

13 posted on 08/21/2003 5:44:00 PM PDT by tiamat ("Just a Bronze-Age Gal, Trapped in a Techno World!")
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To: tiamat
What's a Grange?

Hahahahaha. You asked for it.

Founded in 1867, the Grange is the oldest general farm and public policy in the United States. It is a fraternal family and communtity service organization.

The Grange – Patrons of Husbandry Founded in California in 1873

Did You Know……

Would you like to learn more about the Grange? Contact us at:

California State Grange
2101 Stockton Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95817


National Grange

14 posted on 08/21/2003 6:08:12 PM PDT by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
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To: Willie Green
4-H is indeed a wonderful program:
I pledge
My Head to clearer thinking
My Heart to greater loyalty
My Hands to larger service, and
My Health to better living
For my club, my community, my country and my world.

Can’t get much better than that. I hope the private agricultural industry will step up to the plate and support this group.

15 posted on 08/21/2003 6:24:33 PM PDT by thtr
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To: farmfriend
Why isn't the Grange active in the South? Some historical reason for that? The map has a big blank spot that includes almost all the Deep South.
16 posted on 08/21/2003 6:28:48 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother (. . . there is nothing new under the sun.)
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To: farmfriend
WELL how cool is that!


Does this mean we are "cousins" since I am 4-H? LOL!


17 posted on 08/21/2003 6:38:50 PM PDT by tiamat ("Just a Bronze-Age Gal, Trapped in a Techno World!")
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To: thtr
You have to be into it.

Or you were!

So this is me, flashing the secret 4-H signal!


What are you into?

We do llamas.

And my daughter does lots of projects.

You ?


18 posted on 08/21/2003 6:55:54 PM PDT by tiamat ("Just a Bronze-Age Gal, Trapped in a Techno World!")
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To: Willie Green
Since I am originally from Iowa, I attended the Iowa caucus at the first Reagan Presidential Innaugauration. There, I met a man wearing a farmer's stetson and clean and polished farmer's work shoes. His name was Royal Tuttle. He was 87 years old. He was from Norway, Iowa. A devout conservative Republican he believed in public service. As such, he led 4H groups for 40 years. He led two for 20 years. He then started two more which he led for another 20 years until age started to catch up to him. 4H is a way of life promoting a way of life. That way, and the trainging in that way, was his idea of public service. I hope there are more Tuttles to continue the work.
19 posted on 08/21/2003 7:04:59 PM PDT by RLK
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To: tiamat
Although we did not live on a farm, I grew up in a farming community in Wisconsin. We were all part of the 4-H – that was quite awhile ago…. It was a place where you got to work on your own – see a project through to the end – and be proud of your effort. I did many hybrid plant projects (it was hot stuff at the time) - learned about the real birds and bees
20 posted on 08/21/2003 7:16:10 PM PDT by thtr
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