Bowman County 4-H, as part of the national 4-H program, empowers youth people with skills to lead for a lifetime. Entering his second year as the Bowman County Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent, Max Robison, as a one-man office, has been directly involved and has seen this first hand. With roughly 70 members in the 4-H group, they are most active in their local achievement days, but they also experience different community service projects as well.
Robison mentions that during the county’s fair, the 4-H members have a livestock show, a static exhibit show as well as a horse show and that, “Throughout the year they are involved with different community service projects whether it be cleaning road ditches or assisting an elderly neighbor with snow removal or yard work. At the meetings, they will come up with a project for the entire club to be involved in for a fun activity for the kids to explore different things they might be interested in or want to learn about.”
Being mostly involved with the livestock judging team himself, Robison sees exponential growth from the students in just one year’s time but that the growth continues through their entire time within 4-H. “Seeing those youth be able to evaluate the animal and then there is a reasons portion where they go in front of their peers or an adult and explain why, that will make them come out of their shell and be more comfortable communicating with others. In a year’s time, the youth that were a little bit shier and more reserved, it’s almost a night and day difference – the growth they have achieved, the comfort and ease at speaking in front of us – that’s the biggest place I’ve seen a positive impact. Other areas I have seen are the youth being pretty responsible – that’s one of the best things 4-H teaches them,” mentions Robison.
Bowman County 4-H has been a pretty important part of the community for both agriculture families and urban families, giving youth more opportunities to be involved with various projects and events as well as potential to go on national and international trips. Robison boasts that the local community is very supportive of the 4-H program. “Most, if not all of the local business, support in some way or another, whether it be with livestock judging, with the county achievement days during the fair, or even with Dakota Community Bank & Trust Foundation Female program where they will get applicants that will apply to get a loan to buy so many head of bred heifers and build their own herd that way.”
“On the extension side, if we need a little bit of help Dakota Community Bank & Trust is more than willing to help with that. On the 4-H side, they are a great supporter of us. They will go out of their way to be helpful. They know they are improving our community because if you are helping the youth to improve their lives they are going to bring that back to the community and be an improvement and an asset to the community,” says Robison. He adds that it is that way with a lot of the local businesses and the people within Bowman County. The businesses, community and 4-H program all become intertwined with one another.
He goes on to say that Dakota Community Bank & Trust (DCB&T) are also purchasers of livestock and that he feels that’s just another way DCB&T shows the youth and the parents of the youth that DCB&T supports the community. “There is always one or two representatives at the sale. They will go out of their way to make sure their customers are taken care of. They are not just in it for themselves. They live in the community. They are a part of the community. They are involved in the community. They step forward and are active in whatever aspect they can be.”
Robison believes the Bowman County, in its entirety, has been involved in some way in 4-H, helping 4-H, or have assisted in a 4-H sale or 4-H show in some way. Bowman County 4-H prides themselves on having some of the best 4-H kids in the state with the quality of livestock and static exhibits because of the time the students put into 4-H along with the supportive backing they have from the community maintains Robison. “They want to keep doing new things and different things and explore new areas of interest. I think we are pretty lucky that the youth and parental involvement has allowed our program to keep getting better and better every year,” he closes.
For more information on the nationwide 4-H program, please visit: https://4-h.org/. If you are interested in learning more about Bowman County 4-H and all of the projects they focus on, go to: https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/bowmancountyextension/4h-and-youth.
Written by Lindsey Hefta, Marketing Director