Verne V. Varney
Wisconsin State 4-H Program Leader
Verne is remembered as the “Father of IFYE”, the International Farm Youth Exchange, which was renamed International Four-H Youth Exchange in 1974. A visit to Germany in 1950, visiting with many rural youth, adults, and leaders, sparked his interest in promoting international understanding through these exchanges.
In 1951, Verne started the Wisconsin IFYE program. He recruited participants, directed the orientation, and scheduled presentations for IFYEs when they returned. He also recruited host families and provided appropriate orientation.
Verne and his wife, Dorothy, hosted many youth as they first arrived in Wisconsin. Dorothy remained a contributor to WI-IFYE even after Verne died. She helped pay for registration fees for some foreign IFYEs when Wisconsin hosted the U.S. conference.
His hard work was characterized by an outgoing personality, outstanding leadership, and a true belief in the value of 4-H and IFYE.