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My First 4-H Experience

By Renae Larson, Extension Poultry Communications Intern

As a Communications Intern for the Extension Poultry team, I’m learning that working for Extension is fast-paced, collaborative and rewarding. Extension professionals wear many hats, which is giving me the opportunity to engage in various projects this summer.

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending one of the 4-H Livestock Day Camps in Farmington, accompanying Abby Neu, Poultry Extension Educator, with presenting biosecurity education using the BEET unit, Biosecure Entry Education Trailer. Minnesota 4-H is a learn-by-doing youth development program delivered by Extension throughout the state. 4-H’ers attend camps and complete projects in areas like health, science, agriculture, and citizenship, where they learn from adult mentors and are encouraged to take on proactive leadership roles.

Since I’ve never been a 4-Her, I had no idea what to expect out of the camp. Many of my U of M classmates in Agricultural Communications and Marketing grew up being a part of 4-H, so I was eager to get a taste of what I now feel I missed out on.

Extension poultry intern, Renae Larson distributes GLO Germ (TM)
to 4-Hers during biosecurity education workshops.

My day consisted of connecting with four different groups of kids, each choosing to educate themselves further on a specific animal species: rabbits, meat goats, beef or swine. The 4-Her’s cycled through our biosecurity break out session throughout the day. By the end, the level of attentiveness and passion within each and every attendee blew me away.

Abby and I had such a great time educating the kids on biosecurity. Many of them were already conscientious about biosecurity with their animals but through the presentation and activities in the BEET trailer they were able to learn something new. Collectively, the kids exuded excitement during our sessions that carried the mood the entire day.

My biggest take away from the day was the intelligence and kindness encompassed by the entire 4-H community. The camp gave kids who are passionate about agriculture, livestock, natural resources, and the environment an opportunity to learn more about what interests them in a fun environment. It gave 4-Her’s a place to express their own farm experiences and knowledge amongst like-minded people. It gave them a chance to exhibit the plethora of facts on species of livestock they’ve spent hours studying through friendly games.

I’m looking forward to seeing 4-Her’s get older and continue making valuable contributions to the Agriculture Industry because they are all stellar human beings. I wasn’t a part of this incredible program as a kid, but I am thankful to get the chance to collaborate with Minnesota 4-H through my internship.

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