4-H Files Barton County Fair

(Conrad) Good morning and welcome to AG am in Kansas. My name is Conrad Kabus and on this edition of 4H Files, I interview several people at the Barton County Fair. And we talk a little bit about the 4H members, the 4H Staff and some of the family programs that keep the 4H program running. Stay tuned. Charles Atkinson is a Fair Board member of Barton County. He also was a former Kansas Soybean President of 2012. (Charles) Well we’re looking of course, we have a lot of livestock shows with our 4Hers and they work really hard at everything they do. And like most county fairs, we’ve got all of our livestock shows, our cooking, our sewing and all that. But we’re also an open fair, so we have open class exhibits from people in the surrounding counties in the state as well. So, we’ve got quite a bit going on the next several days and we’re just having an awesome fair. (Conrad) That’s good. Have you seen any interesting stories happen with 4Hers at this county fair so far? (Charles) I haven’t seen a whole lot of ’em, but the kids have really been chipping in and helping us out a lot. So, I guess that’s the big story is how everyone helps each other and gets involved with each other and the camaraderie we have this one week out of the year is just really a growing and learning opportunity for the kids and the adults as well. (Conrad) The Barton County Fair has many helpers and volunteers. Making up the helper group include the fair board members and
fair friends and many more. (Charles) What we have at our county fair is comprised of about 27 board members from all walks of life. I have farmers, I have bankers, I have insurance agents. All of us involved in this but we all have one goal, let’s put a county fair on. Some of the board members are past 4Hers. Some of the board members just kind of got involved in the fair. So the dynamics we have on that is really kind of cool. We try to be as organized as we can. We also have a group of ladies, called Fair Friends that help us do all of our organizing and our designing and setting up theme classes and take care of a lot of things on there. Plus the 100
volunteers that we have that put this on as well. (Conrad) Mr. Atkinson himself is also 4H alumni. And talks about his experience with 4H. (Charles) I am a 4H alumni myself. Except my wife and I grew up in Cherokee County, Kansas. But we transplanted here to Barton and tried to get involved in here. I’ve got three children that went through the 4H program. And they’re grown now and the really cool thing about that for me, is they all come back to the county fair to help me out. (Conrad) Like Charles, Mickey Hughes has a great experience with 4H. (Mikey) I do cooking, poultry, swine and beef. (Conrad) Very neat. Now, you’re also an ambassador for 4H. Can you explain what an ambassador is and how the program works (Mickey) To become an ambassador you have to take a loan application process and do an interview and they decide how much you really care about 4H and what you want to do with it. And you have to be really committed to 4H and want to expand Barton County 4H. (Conrad) Mikey has many projects and different ways to prepare them. (Mikey) OK, well the first project I did was cooking. It got judged first. And then poultry, that happened last night. They judged my chicken separately, then I went in for showmanship. I actually won showmanship in the senior division. So, that was pretty good. And swine, we just had the swine show a couple of hours ago. I got a red in showmanship which was OK and a blue for my hog. So, I was pretty happy with that. I’m not going to complain. Finally beef show, the beef show is gonna be Friday at 5, I believe. And that took a lot of effort. We got our steer probably in September, we raised it all through the year and finally it’s… the time has come for it to show. We’ve trained it to lead and we’ve washed it a bunch. And now it’s time to bring it to the fair. (Conrad) Very cool. It’s very nice talking with you. (Mickey) Nice talking with you. (Conrad) After the break we cover more of the Barton County Fair in Great Bend, Kansas. And we talk to more 4H members and professionals. Stay tuned.
BREAK
(Conrad) Good morning and welcome to AG am in Kansas. My name is Conrad
Kabus and we’re here at Barton County Fair celebrating 4H members and the projects that they brought to the fair this year. Berny Unruh is an Extension Agent for Barton County who enjoys her experience with 4H and working with kids. What’s your favorite part about the county fair and what do you like about all the people coming out? (Berny) Well, I definitely like the people. I’m kind of a people person, but I enjoy watching the kids grow up over the years. I’ve been in extension a long time. And when you start ’em when they’re five and six years old and then you see ’em progress and be awesome kids, that’s definitely my favorite part. (Conrad) 4H has many projects for children to tackle and many have changed over the years. (Berny) OK, well obviously I being a home ec person did foods, clothing, arts and crafts. But I also was really interested in notebooks, posters, displays because you can share all of the knowledge that you’ve learned in the 4H project in something like that. We also have in here crops, wood working, electric and probably our highest enrollment project is photography. And it’s so much easier doing photography now than back in my olden days where you had a roll of film. (Conrad) Right, it’s all digital now. (Berny) Different. (Conrad) Can you explain a little bit about the livestock projects. How much enrollment do you get there and what kind of different things do you see? (Berny) We have good enrollment here in Barton County, but I will say there’s fewer kids living on the farm and then to find a place to put an animal is a little more difficult. But the kids that are in livestock often times they will take several species. So, there might be a 4H member that would have beef, sheep, swine and even goats, all four. We also have dairy goats and rabbits and poultry out in the Expo three building. (Conrad) Very cool. Let’s talk about those statistics. Are you seeing a lot of urban people here in Barton County from Great Bend or are you seeing a more rural? What’s the different sides of that equation?
(Berny) Oh, I would say we’re probably 50/50. We have a lot of kids in 4Hand FFA and so they kind of cross over on some of their projects and it’s obviously easier to have an animal project if you live on a farm and have a place to keep it. But we have lots of kids that are in the rabbit project and even poultry who live in town. (Conrad) What are things besides the county fair that you guys do throughout the year? (Berny) Well something that I think is really important is I want younger people to learn to stand up and give a talk about their 4H project. So, in February we have 4H Days and that’s demonstrations, talks, model meetings. They can also do music and talent. But I think you can see young people that may be in high school or even in college, they kind of stand out because they know how to stand up and share what they’ve learned and they learn how to speak for themselves. (Conrad) Betty also has a strong 4H background. (Berny) I grew up in a family of ten kids. My Dad actually started a 4H club in Republic County and my Mom on the other side of the county started a 4H club, or her parents did. And so we were pretty strong in 4H. All of us, all the way through the years, and we did livestock and then all the home ec projects and the miscellaneous projects. So, all four of my kids have been in 4H and have been in the entire time. I think it’s important that people know
though you don’t have to have parents that have been in 4H. You don’t have to have grandparents that have been in 4H, you can start 4H right now and you can learn and teach your children some really good life skills that they’ll use for the rest of their life.

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