We're wearing green and clovers this week-not to avoid a pinch-but to celebrate National 4-H Week and Monsanto's partnership with the National 4-H Council.
According to 4-H's Positive Youth Development research, youth involved in 4-H make more healthy choices, excel in school and the sciences and are committed to improving their communities.
As an agriculture company, we also believe that 4-H is especially instrumental to farming communities and improves agricultural-based opportunities for youth. In fact, we have many 4-H alumni employees that credit 4-H to teaching various skills that help them on the job today.
Dave Snedden, Monsanto U.S. row crops manufacturing lead, said his personal 4-H experiences as a 4-Her in Iowa helped teach him responsibility and shape his core values.
"I remember when I first joined 4-H, and my mom and dad opened a checking account in my name, depositing $100," said Snedden. "They bought me one steer and two pigs for my project and provided all the animal feed I would need for an entire year. "
The catch was that Snedden had to keep up with all of his regular chores on the farm, while taking care of his livestock.
"In future years, I was able to buy and raise my livestock projects on my own," said Snedden. "This taught me the true value of respect, work ethic, the value of a dollar and in committing to a goal and results that I leverage every day."
Brent Gholston, Monsanto district sales manager, grew up as 4-H member in Mississippi, judging livestock.
"4-H provided me an early opportunity to be part of a team," said Gholston. "Because of my experience with my livestock judging team, I gained the courage to speak in front of groups of people, and I learned how to collaborate on team efforts."
Gholston also knows firsthand what values 4-H has to offer, because he was a past 4-H volunteer while attending college.
"It is important to offer time to help develop our youth and help them cultivate the skills they need for the future."
While growing up, Nick Wilhelm, Monsanto district sales manager, was also an active 4-H member in Nebraska. For Wilhelm, 4-H is a family tradition.
"I still relate to what values and skills are taught a 4-H group, because my children are in 4-H as well," Wilhelm said. "I have seen them gain leadership and learn about responsibility, just as I did when I was a member. I am thankful to my 4-H volunteers that influenced me as they did, and I am happy that my own children have the same opportunity."
In 2007, Monsanto expanded its 4-H volunteerism support by funding state and regional development. More than 52,600 volunteers have attended Monsanto-supported forums and training events in 50 states, three U.S. territories and four Extension regional forums.
Follow our social media channels throughout the week for more 4-H coverage.
To learn more about 4-H, and how you can join the 4-H Alumni Community, visit 4-h.org/alumni.