The Michigan 4-H Foundation has announced grant and award opportunities of up to $1,000 to support local 4-H clubs and county programs for the 2018-19 program year. 4-H volunteer leaders, members and staff members are encouraged to apply for these funds starting April 1. All grant and award applications are due June 1, 2018.
The following funding opportunities are now open for the 2018-19 program year:
- Michigan 4-H Legacy Grants – Two $1,000 grants available
Supports development of a new program or initiative, or effort to strengthen, enhance or expand a current program that’s making a difference. Funded by the Michigan 4-H Legacy Fund Endowment.
- 4-H On-Target Grants – Two $500 grants available
Supports 4-H shooting sports programs to enhance existing programs, develop a new program or offer a special experience related to 4-H shooting sports. Funded with support from the Thomas H. Cobb 4-H Shooting Sports Endowment Fund.
- The Collins 4-H Youth Horticulture Grant – One $350 grant available
This grant opportunity is for 4-H youth clubs only to advance club work in plant science and horticulture activities locally. This grant is made possible by the William J. and Ruth D. Collins Endowment Fund to advance 4-H youth horticulture and gardening programs.
- 4-H Educational Garden Grants – Two $1,000 grants available
Supports the creation of local 4-H educational gardens in Michigan. Funded by the Albert A. Albright Endowment for support of 4-H plant science and gardening education.
- Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Award – Three $1,000 grants available
This award recognizes the outstanding achievements of Michigan 4-H volunteers or groups that have exhibited excellence in 4-H youth agriculture education and in helping youth participants develop leadership skills in the following project areas: beef cattle, dairy cattle, goats, horses, horticulture, crops and soils, poultry, rabbits, sheep, swine and veterinary science. Funded by the Michigan Farm Bureau 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Endowment.
You can apply for these grants and awards online at https://mi4hfdtn.org/grants or contact the Michigan 4-H Foundation for more information at 517-353-6692.
Two outstanding 4-H volunteers receive 2020-21 Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Awards and $1,000 program grants.
Stacy Hough, of Mecosta County and Christie Warren, of Washtenaw 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.
Stacy Hough, Mecosta County, has been a 4-H volunteer since 2010 from the project areas of horse, beef and dairy science to small animals, goats and gardening. She has a passion to teach youth agriculture and as such teaches dissection and other science learning activities with her club. She also organizes 4-H dairy booth at the county fair. Additionally, she encourages youth to take on leadership roles at the county, state and national levels and lends a helping hand as needed.
“The greatest reward in being a 4-H volunteer is seeing young kids set goals and help them accomplish those goals,” Hough said. “Also very rewarding is seeing young people become very passionate about the agriculture industry.”
Christie Warren, Washtenaw County, has been a 4-H volunteer since 2017 and serves as the 4-H poultry superintendent. She serves on the state 4-H poultry committee and has been a trailblazer teaching youth embryology sessions for 4-H, schools and local libraries. She helps plan her county’s recognition banquet and encourages youth to apply for both county and state awards for their 4-H accomplishments. Warren also believes strongly in youth voice.
“My greatest reward is watching our youth members serve our community and take leadership within their clubs and communities,” Warren said.
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. These awards have been given since 2008. To learn more about the award and the award winners, visit https://mi4hfdtn.org/4-h-emerald-awards/michigan-farm-bureau-4-h-excellence-in-agriculture-award/.
“We understand the value 4-H provides to Michigan youth,” said Carl Bednarski, Michigan Farm Bureau president. “The program not only gives youth life-long skills and experiences, but allows youth to develop into responsible Michigan citizens. We are excited to continue our support of Michigan’s 4-H program.”
Volunteer recognition is an integral component of the 4-H program. Adult volunteers help youth develop new skills and explore their interests through safe, fun, engaging learning experiences. It is critical to honor the caring adults who give their time to help young people learn and achieve through 4-H.
MFB has shown its commitment to volunteer recognition with the creation of the MFB 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Award – the product of a campaign led by MFB to establish an endowment to honor and recognize outstanding achievements of 4-H volunteers exhibiting excellence in 4-H youth education and leadership development in 4-H agriculture areas. Honorees each designate a $1,000 grant toward a 4-H agricultural program of their choice for volunteer training, supplies or curricula to enhance 4-H locally or statewide.
Eighteen honorees have received the award since its inception in 2007. The 2016 MFB 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Award recipients were Penny Sween, of Leslie, and Hollis and Jill Rockwell, Shelby.
Hollis and Jill Rockwell, Oceana County
Hollis and Jill Rockwell have been involved with 4-H since their youth. Today they are deeply involved with the 4-star Beef 4-H Club, and both hold positions on the Oceana County Farm Bureau, Hollis on the Board of Directors and Jill on the Promotion and Education Committee. Hollis advocates for Michigan’s agricultural needs at the Ag Legislative Breakfast hosted by MSU Extension bi-monthly. Additionally, he currently holds the position of vice president for the Oceana County 4-H Market Livestock Committee. Hollis is the current beef barn superintendent at the Oceana County Fair, and Jill is involved in various projects with Oceana 4-H. She helps organize and run the Oceana County Folk Festival, the Oceana County Farm Bureau Spring Break Day Camp, and the 4-H Community-wide Yard Sale and Bake Sale. Jill is involved in educating 4-H youth in meat quality and selection and also on Michigan’s potato industry. Jill has held the position of treasurer for the 4-H Small Market Animal Association Committee and is currently a member of the Oceana County 4-H Youth Council, helping make decisions for the overall educational goals and growth of Oceana County 4-H.
Penny Sween, Ingham County
Penny Sween has contributed her efforts to 4-H since she was an Ingham County youth 4-H’er. She helped create the Town N County 4-H Club. In addition to being the club administrative leader, she was the Ingham County rabbit superintendent, 4-H council president and member of the Ingham County 4-H Livestock Committee. Sween is an active member of the Michigan State Rabbit Breeders Association and the American Rabbit Breeders Association, and serves on several other state and national breed associations and local rabbit organizations. She is a nationally known and respected rabbit judge and, along with her daughter, raises and shows several types of rabbits. Sween encourages youth to explore their passions and interests and to get involved and engages club members in community service.
To learn more about the MFB 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Award or to nominate a 4-H volunteer, visit https://mi4hfdtn.org/4-h-emerald-awards/michigan-farm-bureau-4-h-excellence-in-agriculture-award. Nominations are due June 1, 2017.
In addition, MFB has continued as a partner of 4-H Capitol Experience for the past three years. 4-H Capitol Experience is a four-day teen conference with a focus on state government and policy.
Michigan Farm Bureau honors outstanding 4-H volunteers
Three outstanding 4-H volunteer leaders received Michigan Farm Bureau 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Awards Dec. 1, 2015 at Michigan Farm Bureau’s (MFB) 96th Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids.
Katelyn Horning of Washtenaw County, Tara Miller of Eaton County and the Kounty Klover Kids 4-H Club of Livingston County each received the award and a $1,000 grant in which they designate to a 4-H agricultural program of their choice for 4-H volunteer training, supplies or curricula to enhance 4-H programming locally and/or statewide.
The MFB 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Awards, funded by the MFB 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Endowment Fund, recognizes outstanding achievements of Michigan 4-H volunteers or groups that have exhibited excellence in 4-H youth education and leadership development in the areas of 4-H beef cattle; dairy cattle; goats; horses; horticulture, crops and soils; poultry; rabbits; sheep; swine; and veterinary science.
Katelyn Horning, Washtenaw County 4-H volunteer
Horning has been a 4-H leader in Washtenaw County for the past two years, but also has been instrumental in reorganizing the county 4-H dairy quiz bowl and judging program since being a teen leader. Her enthusiasm and recruitment of members—many with no dairy experience—has reinvigorated the quiz bowl program, which continues to grow. She assisted the state 4-H dairy judging program and accompanied the 2014 team to the national contest in Wisconsin, where it claimed first-place honors. “I have learned so much through the 4-H dairy program,” Horning said. “I have gained practical knowledge about the dairy industry, plus I learned how to manage my time, and it gave me the opportunity to make lifelong friendships. I learned the importance of teamwork and learned leadership skills when I was selected team captain. Most importantly, it has given me confidence to communicate effectively and do public speaking and interviews—skills I use every day in everything I do as I pursue a degree in agriculture.”
Tara Miller, Eaton County 4-H volunteer
Miller has been a dedicated servant to agriculture and the youth of Eaton County for 22 years. She is the beef and swine leader for the Forever in Reach club and remains active with the Eaton County 4-H Council. Tara and her husband, Matt, live on a farm near Charlotte. Together, they raise shorthorn beef cattle and meat goats. She works for the Michigan State University Department of Housing and Residential Services, while he is the manager of Farmers Livestock Marketing in Battle Creek. They have three children, including a daughter, Sydney, who’s an MSU student majoring in agriculture food and natural resources education. A year ago, when the Olivet FFA barn burned down, Tara and her husband offered the use of their barn while the chapter rebuilt. In September 2014, Tara and her husband supported the family of a 4-H club member killed in car accident by organizing club and volunteer support to aide with funeral planning. “The day after the accident, Tara showed up at the farm offering to help plan the funeral dinner,” Eaton County Farm Bureau member Jill Cords said. “She mobilized the club and any volunteer that offered to assist in bringing food. In addition to all of the work organizing the meal, Tara and Matt spoke at the funeral service.” Tara also organizes many 4-H club outings and helps members show and judge livestock.
Kounty Klover Kids 4-H Club, Livingston County
Livingston County Farm Bureau nominated Kounty Klover Kids 4-H Club, led by Teena Munsell, for its outstanding effort in spreading the message of agriculture while developing leadership and communications skills of young members. It has recognized the group several times as the top volunteers in the county at its annual meetings. Kounty Klover Kids won the state award for community service for its Triple F Farms Project (Family, Farming and Food) and finished runner-up in the state award for community service area for Project RAT (Replace the Ash Trees). Triple F Farms featured members dividing into committees based on their interests and developing displays of corn, soybeans, wheat, oats, hay, beef, swine, poultry, dairy and sheep. The displays included live crops and animals, related agricultural facts and a hands-on activity for kids. Project RAT offered trees to the community to replace ash trees destroyed by the Emerald Ash Borer. “We hope you will see how the Kounty Klover Kids are invaluable to our organization and to our community as a whole in advancing the positive message of agriculture and in building our future agricultural leaders,” said Debra Holmes of the Livingston County Farm Bureau. Teena Munsell accepted the award on the club’s behalf. Other adult leaders of the group include Gordon Munsell, Stephanie Fletcher and Martha Munsell.
View the award video shown at the December MFB awards ceremony
Learn more information on the MFB 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Awards and how to nominate a 4-H volunteer or call (517) 353-6692. Nominations are due June 1 each year.
The 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Award recognizes the outstanding youth education and leadership development achievements of Michigan 4-H volunteers in the beef cattle; dairy cattle; goats; horses; horticulture, crops and soils; poultry; rabbits; sheep; swine; and veterinary science project areas. Honorees receive $1,000 grants they can use for 4-H volunteer training, to buy supplies or curriculum, or to enhance local or statewide 4-H programming.
Mary Hutka is the longtime volunteer leader and innovator of the Tollgate 4-H Club in Oakland County. She has guided young people in taking on leadership roles while raising vegetables and livestock for market. Hutka is passionate about growing true leaders and empowers young people by allowing them to take ownership of club activities and educating them about agriculture. Many members in the Tollgate 4-H Club have gone on to receive 4-H state awards and county medals, and to pursue agriculture-related college degrees.
Diane Keinath is a major proponent of the Saginaw County 4-H livestock program. In her role as a club volunteer leader, she shares her experiences and teaches young people through hands-on workshops. Keinath works diligently to help 4-H members expand their knowledge of agriculture and produce the best possible project animals while also learning life and personal skills. With her guidance and encouragement, eight members of her 4-H club have gone on to pursue degrees in agriculture. Six are currently employed in the agriculture industry. Growing up, Keinath was an avid 4-H’er herself, showing livestock and building her leadership skills. Today, she and her husband own and operate a 400-acre farm where they produce corn, soybeans, wheat and beef, and run a cattle transportation company. The Keinaths employ many 4-H’ers in their businesses to help fuel the young people’s passion for agriculture.
As volunteer leaders of the Washtenaw County 4-H Junior Livestock Committee, Kathy Grau and Mary Hammer have provided many experiential learning opportunities for area young people. From providing suggestions and input for the 4-H youth livestock show to selecting judges and organizing a Cloverbud mentorship program for 5- to 8-year-old 4-H’ers, Grau and Hammer have used their leadership roles to fulfill the 4-H motto, “to make the best better.”
Along with being directly involved with the 4-H Junior Livestock Committee, the duo have nominated club members for county awards and recognition, and encouraged them to participate in the 4-H State Awards program. They take honoring and celebrating successes seriously and never pass up an opportunity to recognize their 4-H charges’ accomplishments. Whether the recognition comes in the form of a project medal or an outing to a corn maze or a sports event, the two leaders make sure to acknowledge each member’s participation and hard work.
The 4-H Emerald Awards Ceremony is sponsored by the Michigan 4-H Foundation. The event was hosted and emceed by State Sen. Judy Emmons, a Montcalm County 4-H alumna and 2014 4-H Emerald Clover Society inductee.
The 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Award is supported by an endowment with the Michigan 4-H Foundation that was established by Michigan Farm Bureau. To learn more about the award and the award winners, visit https://mi4hfdtn.org/4-h-emerald-awards/michigan-farm-bureau-4-h-excellence-in-agriculture-award/.
Three outstanding 4-H leaders were honored with 2017 Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Awards Jan. 19 at MFB’s Voice of Agriculture conference in Grand Rapids.
Melanie Barnes, of Iosco County; Tiffany Spedowski, of Mecosta County; and Michelle Barnes, of Calhoun County; were recipients of $1,000 grants, funded by the MFB 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Endowment, to designate to a 4-H agricultural program of their choice, for volunteer training, supplies or curricula to enhance 4-H programming locally and statewide.
Since the beginning of her involvement with the 4-H program in Iosco County in 2006, Melanie Barnes has worked diligently to help local 4-H members gain skills in their project areas and for themselves. She worked with the 4-H Horse Program to establish a local 4-H educational camp to allow members to expand their horsemanship and showmanship skills, as well as leadership and teamwork skills. In addition to her guidance with the horse project area, she is also a 4-H Livestock Club volunteer.
She has been instrumental in establishing youth leadership positions for members, such as a 4-H market steer club that allows members to thrive in both their project areas and personal development. She connects 4-H with her community as well, arranging for youth to speak on the radio, and organizing community service events at the local fairgrounds as well as a youth-led community breakfast to share about the 4-H program.
“Melanie has done an outstanding job encouraging youth to participate in the 4-H Awards program both in Iosco County and at the state level,” wrote Kelli Rau in her nomination for Melanie. “In addition to supporting youth in various award programs, Melanie also encourages youth to step outside their comfort zone and participate in regional and state leadership experiences. She has a way with making youth feel empowered, and she encourages them to seek new opportunities and live the 4-H motto of making the best better.”
Tiffany Spedowski, Mecosta County
Tiffany Spedowski has been a 4-H volunteer for 20 years, leading the largest 4-H community club in Mecosta County with over 70 youth members, known as the Stanwood Pioneers 4-H Club.
Aside from being a club leader, she is involved in the Junior Livestock Association, Horse Leaders Association and Mecosta County 4-H Council. Through those groups, she holds officer roles and is actively involved in the county program, which influences and benefits the lives of all Mecosta County 4-H members.
Community service is a big focus of the Stanwood Pioneers 4-H Club. The club participates in many service projects that contribute to the quality of life in the community. Through these projects, the club stays active and involved during all seasons and helps youth to learn the importance of giving back and advancing their citizenship.
“Tiffany is showing her youth how to recognize, understand and appreciate multiculturalism,” stated Jenn Marifo in her nomination for Tiffany. “She also does this by showing through example helping out those individuals that wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to participate in 4-H. The members of her club are always growing and contributing through their service and leadership and help in any area they are needed.”
Michelle Barnes, Calhoun County
Michelle Barnes got her start with 4-H in 1998, and today she volunteers with five clubs: 4-H Dairy Starter Calf Club, 4-H Shooting Sports, Calhoun County 4-H Council, Lucky Starts 4-H Club and the Mini-winnies 4-H Club.
Along with living the life of a small farmer, she works in the veterinary field. She is a shining example of someone who works hard and shows passion for the world of agriculture. She uses the resources available to her through the veterinary clinic and her own knowledge to help teach many concepts in animal husbandry, nutrition and much more.
She leads many community service projects for 4-H Council. She represents 4-H at many local events, teaching youth to be involved leaders in their community by example. This past year Calhoun County 4-H offered a tractor and machine operator course for youth. She was instrumental in helping surface instructors and assembling other resources to make the program a success.
“Michelle is always encouraging youth to pursue their dreams,” said Andrea Boughton in her nomination. “She even pushes them to look outside their comfort zone and create goals that might require some hard work to achieve. Once youth have set these goals, she is there to support them every step of the way. Whether it is learning how to vaccinate, tag or build a new enclosure, Michelle will support them and usually find others to help as well.”
Supported annually through the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture and funded by the MFB 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Endowment Fund, the 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Awards recognize outstanding achievements of Michigan 4-H volunteers or groups that have exhibited excellence in 4-H youth education and leadership development in the areas of 4-H beef cattle; dairy cattle; goats; horses; horticulture, crops and soils; poultry; rabbits; sheep; swine and veterinary science.