Three outstanding 4-H volunteers will receive 2019-20 Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Awards.
Beth Clark, of Shiawassee County; Vera Kempf, of Newaygo County and Andrew Walker, of Ogemaw County will receive $1,000 grants, funded by the Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Endowment, to help support a 4-H agricultural program of their choosing, for volunteer training, supplies or curricula to enhance 4-H programming locally and statewide.
Honorees have been leaders in youth development and education achievements of Michigan 4-H through agricultural project areas including beef cattle; dairy cattle; goats; horses; horticulture, crops and soils; poultry; rabbits; sheep; swine; and veterinary science programs. Honorees will be recognized by both Michigan 4-H and by Michigan Farm Bureau. Honorees will also receive a personalized recognition memento.
The MFB 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Award is supported by an endowment with the Michigan 4-H Foundation, established by Michigan Farm Bureau in 2006. County Farm Bureaus and individuals were asked to build the endowment and Michigan Farm Bureau matched gifts received from county Farm Bureaus up to $50,000, resulting in a $100,000 endowment. The awards have been given since 2008. To learn more about the award, past award winners or to nominate an individual for the 2020-21 award, visit https://mi4hfdtn.org/4-h-emerald-awards/michigan-farm-bureau-4-h-excellence-in-agriculture-award.
Beth Clark, Shiawassee County (photo not available)
Only a leader for a short time, Beth Clark has already made an impact. Driving 4-H’ers to opportunities when their parents are unable and creating educational worksheets to teach members about swine, sheep and beef cattle are just two examples of her willingness to go above and beyond. She has created a program in which she encourages youth to engage with individuals and businesses to explain the importance of their swine projects to Shiawassee County and to gain necessary communication skills. She has assisted many of her club members in winning various awards such as Youth Sportsperson of the Year, the Mark of Excellence Competition and the Sweepstakes Competition.
Vera Kempf, Newaygo County
Kempf was a 4-H volunteer from 1950 until her death in 2018. For nearly seven decades, she worked with the youth in her area, providing them with many new opportunities. She created new experiences for youth to learn about animals by inviting veterinarians to teach them about a variety of species such as cattle, llamas, draft horses, saddle horses, sheep, goats, reindeer, ducks and pet fish. She started a program to raise and enter beef calves at the fair that awards a heifer to the winner to foster a youth’s love for the program. She encouraged involvement in many other programs such as Key Club Awards, trips to Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, and 4-H international exchange programs. She also taught youth to compete at national level competitions for various species.
Andrew Walker, Ogemaw County
A former youth participant, Andrew Walker has been a 4-H volunteer since 2009. He has been active in the swine project area, working to increase the knowledge of 60 to 75 4-H’ers every year, the largest 4-H club in Ogemaw County. He also serves on both the large and small animal livestock advisory committees and during fair week, he is the sheep and goat barn superintendent. In 2016, he had been instrumental in the funding of the MSU Extension Ogemaw County programs, when many budget cuts occurred on the state level. He helped organize various campaigns to provide more opportunities for Ogemaw County youth such as organizing holiday parades, scripting and recruiting for radio advertisements, and designing promotional materials. He encourages youth to go outside their comfort zone by applying for state awards and attending 4-H Exploration Days.