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January 2014 Archives

Celebrating Minnesota Agriculture


While Minnesota may be the "Land of 10,000 Lakes," it is also home to over 80,000 farms. Agriculture makes up an enormously valuable part of our state's culture and history. Throughout the years, Minnesota 4-H has remained firmly tied to its roots in agriculture even as it has incorporated other areas of learning. 4-H programs have been a part of the state's agricultural education for over 100 years and we are excited for the opportunity to recognize this invaluable connection.

The special and longstanding relationship between 4-H and the agriculture industry will be the focal point of a new event, the Minnesota 4-H Foundation's Celebration of Agriculture, set for Thursday, March 20 at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul.

The formal event will gather farm and agricultural leaders, legislators, educators and public media, joined by 4-H families, volunteers, donors and enthusiasts. There will be live music performed by local bluegrass artists Dick Kimmel and Adam Granger, dinner, and a program that celebrates the importance of agriculture to 4-H and to the state of Minnesota. The evening's menu will feature all Minnesota-grown products.

Compart Family Farms and the Minnesota Pork Producers Association will be providing a fine pork dish for the main course. Compart Family Farms started as a 4-H project in Nicollet, Minnesota and has grown to be one of the largest family-owned swine genetics businesses in the Midwest.

The Minnesota 4-H Foundation's Celebration of Agriculture will help set the stage for National Agriculture Day, celebrated in Washington, DC and across the country on March 25th. Additionally, the event is intended to provide support for the new Minnesota 4-H Agricultural Sciences Endowment Fund.

Featured Scholar: Libby Mills

Libby Mills, one of the 2014 recipients of the Minnesota 4-H Foundation Kern Scholarship, has a true passion for agriculture. She began 4-H when she was five years old and she has been actively involved ever since, especially in showing livestock and dairy judging. Libby is currently a freshman at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. "This scholarship is one of the biggest reasons that I am now at the U of M because it gave me the last missing piece of the puzzle, the financial support that I needed," Libby said. "The sense of support that comes from this is simply amazing." Libby is studying Animal Science with an emphasis in Dairy Production. On campus, she is involved with the Dairy Club, International Agriculture Club, and Gardens for Humanity among other groups.

As a freshman, Libby is still exploring career options, though she knows that her passion lies in agriculture and feeding the world. She would love to do research in developing modernized farming practices in parts of the world where agriculture is difficult to maintain. "I am so fortunate to have already found something that I am so passionate about this early in life," Libby explained. "The thing about living on a farm is that it's a lot of's more of a lifestyle than a job, and I can't imagine doing anything else."

The Minnesota 4-H Foundation's Kern Scholarship provides support to outstanding 4-H'ers for all four years of their undergraduate education. It is awarded to two 4-H'ers each year who plan to attend one of the University of Minnesota campuses or a college within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. Kern scholarship recipients are excellent examples of what 4-H is all about. Libby said, "4-H gave me the platform I needed to be a leader, take on responsibility, and inspire creativity in areas that interest me."

What Libby loves most about 4-H is "being part of an organization that empowers our nation's youth to be future leaders and model citizens." Libby credits her family, her childhood on the farm, and her 4-H membership for influencing her to become the person she is today. As she finishes her last year of 4-H, Libby will proudly carry the endless opportunities, friendships, and leadership skills that 4-H provided into a life of serving her community and the world.

by Maria Brekke

$4,000 given by Tractor Supply Company to MN 4-H

TSC logo.JPGThe Minnesota 4-H Foundation is pleased to announce that ten Minnesota counties have been awarded funds totaling $4,030 from the Fall 2013 Paper Clover Promotion through National 4-H.

This promotion is held twice annually in partnership with Tractor Supply Company stores across the nation. During this promotion, shoppers at participating stores are asked to donate $1 or $5 to their county's 4-H program. Each contribution was honored by the display of the donor's name on a paper clover at their local store. The next TSC Paper Clover Promotion will be April 16-27, 2014.

Please help us congratulate the following county recipients:
Blue Earth • Clay • Dakota • Isanti • Morrison • Nobles • Olmsted • Scott • Sherburne • Wright

For questions about the TSC Paper Clover Promotion, please contact Erin Kelly-Collins, County Development Liaison, at the Minnesota 4-H Foundation ( / 612-624-7667).

From Our Executive Director

Cara Miller.JPG

In the cold beginnings of a new year in Minnesota, 4-H youth are halfway through their year of learning and experiences. Learning and experiences that will eventually be highlighted at fairs across the state this summer. Summertime is when many folks think 4-H "happens" but the truth is it is in these cold winter months when youth do their greatest learning.

Right now, youth are participating in workshops in project areas that may be new to them. They are experimenting with woodworking, baking, robotics and more to learn how they can make their chosen projects better. They may be participating in livestock ethics training or public speaking contests. Or maybe they are attending their regional Building Leadership and Understanding (BLU) retreat.

So much happens for 4-H youth from October through April all across our state! They are active, learning and developing their head, hearts, hands and health all year long. If you know a 4-H'er, take a moment to ask "what are you doing in 4-H right now?" Find out what they learned in a recent workshop. Ask what projects they are experimenting with today. It will make next summer's 4-H exhibits at the fair much more meaningful for you and for our 4-H youth.

Cara Miller
Executive DIrector
Minnesota 4-H Foundation

Helping Hands Grant provides 4-H access to Hmong-American youth


Over the years, Asian Media Access, based in North Minneapolis, has become a beacon of hope and opportunity for Asian and non-Asian youth alike, providing opportunities for cultural dance performance, skills development in technology and graphic arts, service learning, academic enrichment, and project-based learning. In a partnership with Urban 4-H of Hennepin County, and funded by the Minnesota 4-H Foundation, the Stand Up! Participate! project was crafted to explore how positive youth development principles could be incorporated to enhance the powerful work already being done with and for Asian Media Access youth participants.

The first Stand Up! Participate! group to grow from this partnership, named the Hmong Mother-Daughter Club by its members, targets Hmong youth aged 7-18 years old. Their club mixes leadership development opportunities with arts education (dance, Hmong needlework and traditional foods), intergenerational learning (mothers and daughters together), and student-led community service projects. Last August the youth's creations were showcased at Urban 4-H Day at the Minnesota State Fair.

The 13 youth and 9 adult participants benefited from a club environment that encouraged the honest expression of concerns that are often difficult to share, even in the family circle. The youth-identified community issues they addressed within their club included healthy living, cultural practices, and domestic violence.

Survey results clearly show that this type of club serves youth participants well in terms of developing self-esteem, relationship building, creative problem solving, and providing emotional and social support in a welcoming and supportive environment. The youth survey data indicates that participants made significant gains at social and emotional skills. More than 94% of youth participants stated that they feel welcome at the club, like being in the programs, and feel adult club leaders care about them. An overwhelming majority of participants stated that the program helped them feel good about themselves and get along with others.

The success of this new club was influence by several community partners, including Extension Health and Nutrition Educators from Hennepin County and the University Research and Outreach Center in North Minneapolis.

The Minnesota 4-H Foundation is proud to support the Stand Up! Participate! 4-H project through it's Helping Hands Grant program, which prioritizes increasing access to 4-H for new audiences. If you'd like to provide a 4-H helping hand during the Minnesota 4-H Foundation's next funding cycle, please contact Erin Kelly-Collins at or 612-624-7667.

By Jessica Jerney
Program Coordinator
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