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A SUPPLEMENT TO OGLE COUNTY N E W S PA P E R S Oregon Republican Reporter Mt. Morris Times Tri-County Press Forreston Journal

Farm Focus

Ogle County Newspapers, Thursday, March 13, 2014, Page C2

Grass-fed herd thrives despite nature’s challenges By Vinde Wells Editor

“It’s not just to be different. I think it’s important to work with the natural ecology of things.� — Despite two very dry Dan Dietrich summers and a long, frigid winter Dan and Erin Dietrich’s herd of grass-fed beef cattle are thriving. Dan Dietrich, 35, Mt. Morris, said his herd of Devon-Angus cross cattle has grown even through the drought-like conditions in 2012 and 2013 and the current snow and cold. “We’ve definitely had some challenges,� Dietrich said with a grin. While the drought had little effect on his herd of cows and calves, this winter’s ice was a different story. “2012 was the drought, and last summer was very dry near the end, but we weren’t too affected by that. We never ran out of grass. I stock-piled forage throughout the drought,� he said. “But the ice storm Dec. 20 ended grazing. I’ve had to buy hay.� For the last few years Dietrich has been raising and feeding his beef herd on grass in pastures, rather than the more common practice of feeding corn in feed lots. His cattle graze on pastures on the land he farms with his father, Steve, and grandfather, Bob, in Rockvale and Mt.

Morris Townships. Dietrich said his method produces healthier cattle, which in turn produce meat that is more nutritious and safer for the people who consume it. The method also works in harmony with nature and is better for the environment. “It’s not just to be different,� Dietrich said. “I think it’s important to work with the natural ecology of things.� After growing up on the farm Dietrich became interested raising grass-fed beef when he attended the University of WisconsinMadison where he completed the two-year farm and industry short course. “About 20 years ago farming changed from small family diversified farms to monocultures with corn and soybeans,� Dietrich said. “We’re starting to see negative effects. Nature likes polycultures, not monocultures.� In the last decade, he said, farmers have seen more insect invasions, and more

pollution in the water supply from fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. “What I’m trying to do is keep the family farm, not only for my family, but also for the environment,� Dietrich said. “I want to do something that builds rather than depletes.� With the somewhat reluctant blessing of his father and grandfather, Dietrich converted 106 acres from conventional cropland to pasture where he planted a variety of grasses including orchard grass, Kentucky blue grass, brome, timothy, alfalfa, red and white clovers, tall fescue, and festolium. Feeding strictly grass enhances the natural microbes in the cow’s digestive tract, which boosts their immunity and reduces stress. For his herd, Dietrich chose Devon-Angus cross cattle, a breed noted for its ability to digest and utilize grass. The Devon breed, which originated in England, has not been genetically altered like some breeds to digest corn more easily, he said. Embryo transplants in

Dan Dietrich and his daughter Coralynn keep an eye on their herd grazing on chemicalfree pastureland.

the last decade or so have brought “grass genetics� to the U.S., he said. The Devon-Angus cattle are smaller and have a somewhat different body configuration than other beef breeds. The cows are smallerframed and typically weigh 1,000 pounds compared to 1,200 pounds for more wellknown breeds. “You look for a big barreled body,� Dietrich said.

“You want them to maximize forage intake. You want them to have a big gut so they can eat more.� Dietrich recently purchased a purebred Devon bull as his herd sire. Finishing cattle on grass for market takes approximately two years, he said. Besides his 22 cows, he has 16 cattle he is finishing and 24 calves born last year. Part of managing the herds and pasture is to keep the herd in a relatively small area and move them frequently using an easily moved electric fence system. “Cattle naturally will graze in a tight group to protect themselves from predators,�

Dietrich said. “The electric fence acts as the ‘predator.’ We ‘mob’ them up and move them often because we want them to eat just the top of the grass. The energy is in the top third of the grass.� The method is also good for the soil, he said. The cattle’s hooves help “plant� the grass as it goes to seed, replenishing the pasture. Their droppings fertilize the soil, feeding the naturallyoccurring microbes in the soil, eliminating the need for chemical fertilizers. Flocks of bird follow the cattle, eating parasites, which might otherwise bring disease Turn to C3

Dietrichs direct market beef to customers

Dan Dietrich, Mt. Morris, moves his beef cows and calves across a country road to a new pasture last summer.

Anyone interested in buying beef that is nutritious, flavorful, and safe to eat can purchase directly from Dan and Erin Dietrich at Dietrich Farms south of Mt. Morris. “What we’re selling is extremely high quality and economically priced,� Dan Dietrich said. The Dietrichs are raising strictly grass-fed beef on land not treated with chemical pesticides or herbicides. Their cattle are not injected with antibiotics, hormones, or even vaccinations. Those who want to see how the operation works can see for themselves. “We offer farm tours just so people can get a sense of what we’re doing,� Dietrich said. The couple direct markets to customers, offering quarters, halves and whole beefs as well as smaller packages. To find out more call 815-973-6879.


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Farm Focus

Ogle County Newspapers, Thursday, March 13, 2014, Page C3

Dietrich’s methods make for healthier cattle and land From A1 to the herd. Moving the cattle from pasture to pasture often allows birds to nest and raise their broods undisturbed. His work is paying off both in his cattle and the land. The beef from grass-fed cattle is better for people because the cattle are healthier, he said, and require few or no medications and feed supplements. His cattle are no longer need to be vaccinated because their immune systems are strong from their natural diet. “We already were not giving the cattle antibiotics or hormones, and by eliminating the vaccines we are not injecting them with anything,� he said. “This makes the beef even more natural, as well as healthier as the cattle develop their own resistance to viruses and disease.� The effect on the land has also been positive. “We’re definitely seeing huge improvement in the land every year,� Dietrich said.

He has stopped spraying for leaf hoppers because the spiders, which are top-of-thefood-chain predators, have returned and are keeping them in check. Earthworms have also become more prevalent on the acres in pasture. Dietrich’s method minimizes run-off and erosion as well. The cattle are reshaping the creek banks and vegetation has returned which will slow and eventually halt flood effects. “The cattle are excavating the banks,� he said. “They’re a V-shape now rather than straight up and down. That has allowed vegetation to grow there again.� Grass is also starting to spread into the are under the trees in wooded areas adjoining pastures, he said, since the cattle have been knocking down the brushy undergrowth. “Every year I learn something new, every week I learn something new,� he said. “We’re moving forward.� This summer he has plans

With his herd in the background, Dan Dietrich poses with his farm sign on Leaf River Road during once of this winter’s numerous snow storms.

to divert some of the flow to provide his cattle and a few area. graze with less stress in the from the creek into the woods hogs with water in the shaded That will allow them to heat of the summer, he said.


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Farm Focus

Ogle County Newspapers, Thursday, March 13, 2014, Page C4

Kings farmer preserves farming heritage By Vinde Wells Editor A Kings farmer has devoted much of his life to collecting and preserving the history of farming in Ogle County. From corn grinders to wrenches to wooden stock trailers, Wayne Hayenga, 73, has those and more stored away for future generations. “It’s a shame to have this stuff thrown away,� he said. Hayenga started collecting old farm implements and tools decades ago to show his children their farming heritage. He has found much of his collection at auctions around the area. “I got started going to sales to show my kids farming of yesteryear,� he said. “It was hard for them to understand when I explained it, so I decided to show them. I like the old tools they used in yesteryear.� Hayenga’s roots are deep in farming. His grandfather emigrated from Germany in 1880s at the age of 9 and farmed all his life. His father was also a farmer, and Hayenga has also passed that tradition along. He and his son Bryan farmed several hundred acres where they raise corn

“I’ll go quite a ways to go to a sale if there’s something I’m looking for. It’s very interesting when you go to sales because you get to meet a lot of different people.�— Wayne Hayenga and soybeans, as well as Angus cattle. “Having my son farming with me gives me time to go to sales,� Hayenga said with grin. “I’ll go quite a ways to go to a sale if there’s something I’m looking for. It’s very interesting when you go to sales because you get to meet a lot of different people,� he said. Hayenga attended White Rock country school and then Rochelle High School, where he was in FFA. After that, he served in the U.S. Army for six years. He bought the farm where he currently lives in the spring of 1965 after he was married and has lived there every since. “Farming has been good to me,� he said. “It’s the only thing I know. Antiques — especially those associated with farming — are his other passion.

Wayne Hayenga talks about a Patterson rake that was used on a farm to turn the hay after it was cut. Photo by Chris Johnson

“I like to fix up antiques,� he said. “I’m going to farm until I’m 80 years old and then I’m going to semiretire and go into antiques.� He is a member of the Franklin Grove Antique Thrashing Club.

As he talked about the various items in his collection, Hayenga described how some had to be repaired when he bought them. “I had to put a new floor in that,� he said, gesturing

toward a steel-wheeled wagon. A large shed houses a large number of items and Hayenga knows each and every one of them like an old friend. He knows details of where and when

Wayne Hayenga enjoys rescuing historic items from ending up in a landfill. Above, he talks about how in 1943 Illinois license plates went from being metal to being soy-based for the World War II effort. At upper left, is a wooden-ended street slusher wagon made by E.D. Etnyre Company, Oregon. At lower left is a Sears Roebuck & Company corn sheller. Photos by Chris Johnson

each was made and how it works. Each item is tagged and inventoried with those details. “Otherwise, my kids would never know what some of these things are,� he explained. Things like a plow designed for a one-armed man after the Civil War, a thistle deheader, and a hay better. Hayenga stopped to explain how a black powder wood-splitting wedge worked. He pointed out where to put the black powder and the fuse and how to position the wedge in the log. “Then you light the fuse and run like heck,� he finished with a hearty laugh. His license plate collection dates back to 1909, and his collection of wrenches of includes all shapes, sizes, and purposes. “You can’t believe how many kinds of wrenches there are,� he said as he described just a few of them. He has milk cans, chicken


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Farm Focus

Ogle County Newspapers, Thursday, March 13, 2014, Page C5

Wayne Hayenga and his son Bryan raise Angus cattle on their farm north of Kings. Photo by Chris Johnson

Hayenga preserves farming heritage

From C4 coops, and straw spreaders, all items in common use decades ago. Inside the lid of a broadcast seeder are handwritten dates

of when planting began from the 1920s to the 50s. His collection also includes implements made by the E.D Three goats take a nap last week on their bale of hay south of Oregon. Like their human counterparts, the goats and Etnyre Company, Oregon, other livestock enjoyed the warmer temperatures. Photo by Earleen Hinton for cleaning streets.

Taking a Break

Birkey’s is raising funds for area food pantries A bright red 1954 Farmall Super MTA greeted customers and community members at an open house in Polo March 4. Birkey’s Farm Store held a customer appreciation day with the chance for visitors to participate in a 60-Day Hunger Drive fundraiser, which aims to raise $100,000 for seven local food banks. The Farmall was the centerpiece of the open house, and continues to be the focus of Birkey’s campaign. Individuals who give $10 or more to their local food bank before April 4 are entered into a drawing to win it. “Instead of asking for food donations, we wanted to take a different approach and leverage the food banks,� said Mike Hedge, President and CEO of Birkey’s. “Using their networks, $1 donated can be stretched into six meals for hungry families.� Donations to the Birkey’s

store in Polo benefits agencies in Carroll, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside, and Winnebago. Customers who lived outside these regions could choose to designate funds to a different county. A preliminary count of customers for the day at Polo was around 1,400. They raised more than $7,500 for the hunger drive. Customers, residents and store employees can still donate at any of the company’s 13 locations with cash or check, or by adding a donation to their total purchase. Donations can also be made through Birkey’s website at More than 550 agencies including food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters, will benefit from the drive. “Our farm customers are growing crops that help to feed our world. This drive is one way for us to partner

with them and carry out this mission on a local level,� said Hedge. In the 47 counties served by Birkey’s Farm Stores, Inc., more than 286,000 people are not able to access a nutritious meal when they want it, and one in five children are food insecure. Food banks selected to benefit from the drive are all part of the Feeding Illinois or Feeding Indiana’s Hungry (FIsH) network. Champaign-based Birkey’s has locations throughout central and northern Illinois, and in western Indiana. The event is part of the company’s 60th anniversary celebration. Feeding Illinois is a coalition of eight Feeding America food banks providing food to 2,000 agencies, including food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters that feed 1.9 million residents across the state. The organization is committed to educating people about the role of food

For all the local news turn to Ogle County Newspapers, publishers of the Oregon Republican Reporter, Mt. Morris Times, Tri-County Press, and Forreston Journal.

Prophetstown, Lyndon, Tampico FFA member Maggie Kelly sits near a restored Farmall tractor being raffled off by Birkley’s. The tractor company, that has stores in Prophetstown, Galesburg, Polo and other cities, are celebrating their 60th anniversary. Photo by Alex Paschal

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Farm Focus

Ogle County Newspapers, Thursday, March 13, 2014, Page C6

Technology and information helps farmers By Matt Mencarini Sauk Valley Media There’s a silo on Brent and Bruce Scholl’s farm that was built in 1919 by their grandfather. It’s not in use anymore, but it serves as a relic and landmark to a different era of farming as it stands near half of their cattle and nearly 3,300 pigs. The Scholl farm is about 6 miles south of Polo. Like many cattlemen and farmers in 2014, Brent Scholl, 54, and Bruce Scholl, 52, have more information about the market and their livestock than ever before. The pigs that the Scholls were expecting to arrive in late January will come with a tattoo, so they can be tracked and information recorded about how lean the pigs are or how much they weigh – a history, of sorts, about the Scholls’ livestock. “We’re inundated with technology and information,� Brent Scholl said. “And sometimes it can be too much. ... You have to pick out what works for you.� Technology, as in other areas of life and farming, is giving cattlemen newer tools to raise, track, market and sell their animals. From climatecontrolled hog buildings to computerized sale barns to online auctions, cattlemen have new ways to do things that have been done for generations. The growing popularity of online auctions, for example, means that livestock can be bought and sold nearly every day, from anywhere, said Marshall Ruble, who specializes in livestock as an agriculture research station manager at Iowa State University. Online auctions, including online exclusive auctions or bidding in a live auction on the Internet, has led to a more competitive market and put more eyes on cattle, he said.

“Even 5 years ago, I go out and look at a lot of cattle, you could find a diamond in the rough,� Ruble said. “But they’re not hidden anymore. They’re all out there.� Even sale barns can take advantage of an online auction, Ruble said, when inclement weather may keep buyers away. If they can access an auction 5, 20 or even 100 miles away, there are more eyes and bids possible. About 3 years ago, Ruble and his students started posting pictures and videos of livestock on Facebook and YouTube. They’d get calls from California and south Texas, he said, adding that the 19- and 20-year-old students are used to buying and selling online, while it took him some time to get comfortable with it. But each morning when he’d look, the number of YouTube views constantly increased, Ruble said. A year ago, he sold some cattle to someone on the East Coast, he said, and met the buyer face-to-face only when he came to pick up the cattle. Dan Shike, an associate professor of animal science at the University of Illinois, said during the history of livestock sales, numerous developments have taken the industry from private sales to live auctions to online auctions. At each step, he said, the market opened wider to where it is now. “You basically have a national market rather than a local market,� Shike said. That’s great for sellers, and that’s great for buyers, too.� Some online auctions are set up similar to eBay, with the cattle being purchased online only. Some auctions end at a specific time, Ruble said, but others add time – up to a point – with each new bid. Selling online brings with it new risks, such as Internet

Cattle are held in a feedlot at the Scholl farm in Polo. Photo by Alex Paschal

connection and infrastructure issues, and unfamiliarity between buyer and seller. Those are some reasons that Scott Cuvelier, 58, who runs live barn sales in Walnut, Ill., and Cascade, Iowa, has been hesitant to fully embrace online auctions. Like most things on the Internet, there are positives and negatives to online auctions, he said, adding that those auctions are another tool, “a two-edged sword, so to speak.� But Cuvelier isn’t opposed to using technology in his business. It’s a tool, he said, and like any tool, it’s useful only if there’s a need. “As far as sale barns go, we’re one of the more technologically advanced – fully computerized from the auction block to the office,� he said. The Walnut sale barn went computerized in 1991, Cuvelier said, streamlining the process, eliminating some errors, and speeding up the

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time it takes to print checks. “We went from these huge Texas Instruments DOS machines, with little tiny monitors with shades of green, to where we are now, to the windows-based LCD flat screen monitors,� Cuvelier said. “They still do the same thing. To tell you the truth, the old DOS machines we’re more reliable. They were a little more bullet-proof.� The newer computers can do more, he said, but have a tendency to crash or require a reboot more often. Not every advancement is perfect. But while Cuvelier might be a strong supporter of computerized auctions, he said there still are risks – like power outages or computerized scales failing. Still, the benefits of the technology seem to outweigh the occasional risks, he said, emphasizing that the mishaps were only occasional. Cuvelier bought the Cascade sale barn about 5 years ago, he said, when it

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had a few computers in the office and a sign that said, “Please wait 20 minutes for your check,� A week later, the sale barn was fully computerized without missing an auction, he said. Now, most checks are printed and ready to be picked up by the time a cattleman walks from the stands to the office window. Both Walnut and Cascade allow bids to be placed by phone, but not online. “I can hear the people’s voice on the phone, and I know who they are,� Cuvelier said.

It’s not just how livestock is sold Technology hasn’t affected just the way livestock is marketed or sold. The ability to track and analyze information, to put more precise economic values on livestock, also has developed, Shike said. “Now, if you were to go to a pure feed stock sale,

there would be so much information that you would be given, besides just looking at the bull,� he said. “How the bull looks will make an impact, but there are tremendous amounts of info now available.� What started with tracking weights at different ages and comparing to the rest of the herd, Shike said, has evolved to looking back at an animal’s ancestors to get a sense of how the animal should produce. “It’s pretty amazing how technology [is playing a role],� Shike said. “And certainly, we’re in a time period of rapid increase in that area. And I think there will be time when we will be able to take a blood sample of an animal and really be able to understand the genetic potential of that animal.� The hog buildings on Brent Scholl’s farm are climate controlled. So even as the

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Farm Focus

Ogle County Newspapers, Thursday, March 13, 2014, Page C7

4-H has evolved to be more than agriculture By Chris Johnson Reporter While the 4-H organization does have an extensive history with agriculture and farming, 4-H has evolved over the years to include a wide variety of activities. “4-H is more than agriculture,� said Ogle County 4-H Program Coordinator Jodi Baumgartner. “For example we are working with Pam Steele at Oregon Elementary School to do a robotics study.� Members of 4-H can now study anything they are interested in. “The 4-Hers pick projects they want to do and exhibit them at the Ogle County 4-H Fair in August. We do have a variety of farm related projects, but the exhibit building is filled with a variety of projects.,� said Baumgartner. “They have the opportunity to talk about what they have learned while completing the project with the judges at the fair.� These judges critique the projects, but they also give the 4-Hers ideas and tips on how to improve and they offer suggestions on other projects they may enjoy. The goal of the judging is to encourage growth for the members and to not discourage the 4-Hers. “We have a “do-yourown� project category that a 4-Her can use if there is not an official category for what they are interested in,� said Baumgartner. Some of the projects that have been displayed at the fair include woodworking, sewing, photography, and art projects. One 4-Her even had a project showing how rope is made. “I love working with the youth and seeing how excited they are at the fair when they receive their first ribbon,� said Baumgartner. Through the years the kids

Jodi Baumgartner

get the opportunity to try many different projects. “We have many 4-Hers that get excited and want to do it all, and sometimes they need to decide how much they can actually handle,� said Baumgartner. Running Ogle County 4-H fair can be challenging, but Baumgartner said their are a lot of people that come together to make it happen. “The fair can be a challenge but it is fun and rewarding when you see it come together,� she said. “After the fair we discuss what could be improved for the next fair.� In Ogle County there are over 400 4-H members that participate in the 16 clubs in the county. Every community has a 4-H club and some have two clubs. The youngest members of 4-H are called Cloverbuds. This is for the 5-7 year olds and introduces them to 4-H. They have small projects they work on. When a child reaches age 8 they can become a full member until they are 18 years old. Anyone interested in joining 4-H can contact the extension office to learn more and get contact information for local clubs. Many clubs submit regular new stories to the local newspapers and include their

Anna Ring, Oregon, a member of Carefree 4-H Club, talks to Ogle County 4-H Fair Judge Ross Martin, about a visual arts project during the 2013 fair. File Photo

contact information in them. Interested kids can also learn about the clubs by talking with their peers. Outside of the annual Ogle County 4-H Fair, the clubs participate in a variety of activities, both locally and among the other clubs. Some of the yearly events in 4-H include the bowling tournament which just completed. In the summer they hold softball tournaments. The Day of Dabbling is a popular event which is a project workshop day. 4-Hers can pick short classes on a variety of topics in a one day event. In August the Ogle County 4-H fair is held where projects are displayed. “Our annual awards are presented during

our 4-H Achievement Day in November,� said Baumgartner. While some events may be restricted to 4-H members, a variety of the events are open to the public as a way to introduce kids to 4-H. Events that are open to the public are publicized in local newspapers. Other events are held at the schools through the University of Illinois Extension office. “All of our clubs organize a variety of trips for their members,� said Baumgartner. “They also have guest speakers at their meetings.� One prestigious 4-H activity to become a part of is the drill team. “Being on the drill Turn to C8 Brooke Ewald, Carefree 4-H, prepares to show a sheep during the 2013 Ogle County Fair. File Photo

Climate controlled buildings keep the animals safe From C6

temperature dipped into single digits and below zero in January, the pigs were kept in ideal conditions. Most of the corn grown on the farm goes to feed pigs and cattle, Scholl said, and the manure is collected in a 500,000-gallon tank to be used to fertilize the field. It’s just more technology – more tools – at work. “There’s is still labor involved in farming,� Brent Scholl said just days before he and his brother powerwashed a facility to prepare it for pigs they were expecting. About 5 months after the Scholls get the pigs, the animals will be ready to be sold. They’ll weigh about 280 pounds, with about fourtenths of an inch of back fat, Scholl said, opposed to 220 pounds and more than an inch of fat as was common years

ago. The leaner pigs meet a new market demand, he said, and are made possible by various technological advancements. Those advancements are becoming more essential in the livestock business, Shike said. “The only way we’ll be able to increase our food production to keep up with demand is technology,� he said. Even for researchers and early-adopting cattlemen, predicting where technology in the industry is heading can be difficult, Ruble said from his office at Iowa State. But knowing the direction it’s going can put a farmer “in the driver’s seat.� “I know where the hockey puck is at this exact second,� he said. “But I’d like to know where it’s going to be in 5 Brent Scholl walks through a climate controlled hog building on the family farm in Polo. Even when temperatures minutes.� dipped below zero in January, the pigs were kept in ideal conditions. Photo by Alex Paschal

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Farm Focus

Ogle County Newspapers, Thursday, March 13, 2014, Page C8

Penny Carnival event is enjoyed by 4-H clubs By Chris Johnson Reporter An event that brings all the Ogle County 4-H Clubs together is the annual Penny Carnival. This year the clubs were challenged with creating games with a winter Olympics theme. At the Oregon Coliseum March 8, the clubs unveiled the games they created to allow other 4-H members and the general public to try their hand at the games.

Julie Davis

The event works through the hard work of all the 4-H clubs. Mahalia Freier is a member of the Ogle County Clovers and enjoyed working on their clubs skiing game. “I like doing events and making stuff and having fun,� Freier said. Today we made Gate for the Gold. The goal is to get the ball through the gates and into the Olympic rings.� A time board was set up to allow players to try and get the best time of the night.

4-H Ambassador Megan Ackland

She has been involved in 4-H for the past six years. During this time she has participated in a variety of 4-H activities. “I always have fun with this club,� said Freier. “We all work as a group and all work together to get these projects done. Everyone in the club is creative.� One of her favorite club projects was created for the Ogle County Fair. “At the fair we made a play and performed it,� said Freier. Another 4-H member at the Penny Carnival was Julie Davis of Carefree 4-H. “I like doing the Penny Carnival because it is fun,� she said. Davis, who has been involved in 4-H for nine years, also enjoys the county fair. “Every year I show my horse at the fair,� she said. “The hardest thing is managing all the patterns needed for the competition.� Davis said knowing how to ride is only a small part of the judging requirements for the horse show.

Mahalia Freier, Ogle County Clovers, tests out their clubs game before the Penny Carnival March 8. Photo by Chris Johnson

The Penny Carnival also allowed the 4-H Ambassadors the opportunity to see how the event was running. Megan Ackland is one of the 4-H Ambassadors after being selected to the post in September of last year.

“Being an ambassador is helping to increase my leadership skills,� Ackland said. “It has been a lot of fun going to the schools and spreading the word about 4-H.� She said as the year has

gone on she has learned what is needed to be a good leader. Throughout her time in 4-H Ackland has seen the Ogle County Clovers Club she is a member of triple in size. “4-H has been fun,� she

4-H offers opportunities throughout age groups From C7 team requires an audition,� said Baumgartner. “They perform classic drills while providing education on good horsemanship.� Their tryouts are held

every March and interested riders in 4-H clubs can ask their club leader or contact the extension office for information about the tryout. When a 4-H member becomes older they

can apply to be a 4-H Ambassador. These 4-Hers help develop the activities for the county with the 4-H federation. “We have had some 4-H ambassadors decide on future careers based on what

they have learned while in 4-H,� said Baumgartner. “And some have decided what careers are not for them.� The annual 4-H year is Sept. 1 through Aug. 31 but anyone can join year round.

Youth need to be a member by April 15 to be eligible to display projects at the fair. Parents are encouraged to participate in 4-H. “Parents can join the fair committee to help organize the county fair,�

said Baumgartner. “We also have club helpers and club leaders. There are always ways to get involved.� She said all the leaders and helpers are screened to ensure a safe experience for the 4-H members.

Tommy Allen of the Mighty Clovers 4-H club holds his Samantha Osborne, Byron, a member of the Ogle Jolly 4-H Club, talks with fair judge Jody Diehl, about her animal champion Lionhead rabbit “Rocket Rabbit� Aug. 2 at the science project on dogs during the 2013 Ogle County 4-H Fair. File Photo Ogle County Fair. Photo by Chris Johnson

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