My 4-H Story is also similar to many others who have participated in the program. I received my start in 3rd grade as a member of the Newark Pioneers 4-H club located in the SW corner of Rock County, WI. My siblings and I were first generation 4-H members at that time and I credit my older two sisters who were successful in convincing our parents in joining. I was a bit younger than my older sisters so early on, so I can still remember going to the fair and watching them show their projects and just couldn’t wait until I was old enough to become a member and follow in their footsteps. Some of my 4-H projects included: Beef, Sheep, Swine, Gardening, Foods, Woodworking and Youth Leadership.
Growing up on a farm with beef, swine and crops, livestock projects were definitely my favorite, and paved a path for me to meet many great people, learn many life lessons and do something I enjoy so greatly, in a very rewarding career. I was very proud to have been a 10 year graduating member and Key Award recipient, and it was a no-brainer that I wanted to continue my education in the area of Animal Science and learn more about livestock production after I was done with my 4-H career.
I am proud to be a product of Wisconsin’s Youth Livestock program while participating as a 4-H member on successful teams from Rock County, WI. I was able to participate on teams that competed at the American Royal in Kansas City, MO and the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, KY, and also judged collegiately during my time at UW-Platteville.
I received my B.S. degree in Animal Science from UW-Platteville and M.S. degree in Agricultural Industries also from UW-Platteville. Through my time in 4-H and in college I was involved in livestock and meats judging, which took me to places I never thought were possible as a young person, and really opened up my eyes to opportunities that I am very grateful for.
After earning my degrees and entering the workforce, I spent 12 years as 4-H Youth Development Agent for UW-Extension in Green County where I spent a portion of my time coaching livestock and meats teams and also focused a portion of my programming in agriculture education and literacy for both youth and adults.
I currently serve as the Extension Outreach Specialist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at UW-Madison, in the Department of Animal Sciences, University of Wisconsin Extension. My role with the Department of Animal Sciences is to support the Youth Livestock, Horse, Meats, Small Ruminants and Poultry programs as conducted by our current state specialists. I also still help out on our family farming operation in SW Rock County where we continue to grow crops and raise commercial and registered Red Angus cattle and have been a 4-H leader for the past 18 years.
Happy National 4-H week!