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The All-American 4H Club – My Shot of the Day. September 4, 2012

Colorado State Fair

The All-American 4H Club started out as one of those ways that University-based agricultural scientists could skip over the curmudgeonly attitude of the old folks at the plow and get agricultural innovation directly in the hands of those who would use it. The young.

That was 100 years ago when some American farmers still cast their seed by the light of the full moon, bouncing the grain off the bare hind end of  the woman of the farm to help ensure fertility.

Yes. That is true.

The 4H Club became the vehicle for getting agricultural innovation in the hands of the youth and to have them put it into practice.  University scientists worked through rural public schools to get to the kids.  The first such program was in Clark County, Ohio and proved exceedingly successful.  When the Cooperative Extension System was put into place just before World War I, the 4H Clubs became a ready part.

When we were kids, my parents took us into the agricultural pavilions at the Colorado State Fair to see the over-sized breeding rabbits that were for sale, the baby chicks under glowing red lamps and the auction cows sold out by the youth of the 4H Clubs.  I remember sitting in the bleachers of an indoor arena trying to piece together the staccato of the auctioneer while my dad drank Coors from a plastic cup. When the cow or steer sold my dad shouted “Hamburger!”

colorado state fair

These kids were from the eastern lip of Weld County in Northeastern Colorado.  They sat in circles of fold-out Wal Mart chairs expertly thumbing their smartphones waiting for the evening and the auction.

A mother came and talked to me while I was taking pictures.  She said it was the end of the showing season and they were ready to get home and get the kids back in school.

The one boy in the shot above seemed like the only one working and he went at it relentlessly.


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