Midwest Briefs: Demographic changes impact 4-H clubs

Wisconsin State Farmer
Midwest briefs


4-H Club responds to state's changing demographics

Minnesota 4-H Club has expanded from its farming roots as the state's agricultural community shrinks, the Minnesota Daily reported. USDA officials say the number of Minnesota farms fell by more than half between 1940 and 2010.

An animal leasing program aims to make agriculture accessible to all kids in response to the declining number of farms, said University Extension officials. The leasing program allows children without an animal to care for and train a mentor's farm animal, as well as show it at fairs and contests.

The program is responsible for ongoing participation in some 4-H agricultural programs, such as the dairy program. There are 40 percent fewer dairy producers in the state than there were in the mid-2000s, but enrollment in 4-H dairy programs is down just 10 percent, he said.


K-State teams up with PepsiCo on affordable nutrition

Kansas State University has entered into an agreement with PepsiCo, Inc. to focus on making nutritious food and beverage products more affordable and accessible.

 The partnership will leverage the university’s research strengths across multiple food and life sciences to help the company attain its stated goal of increasing the availability of convenient, affordable and enjoyable nutrition for consumers around the world.

PepsiCo officials said the goal is part of the company’s 2025 sustainability agenda, which includes aspirations to transform its product portfolio by significantly reducing sugar, salt and saturated fat levels in its products and continuing to expand its focus on delivering positive nutrition.


Indiana inmates farm gardens, donate vegetables to charity 

Inmates at a central Indiana prison have grown 270 pounds of vegetables and herbs that have been donated to a local rescue mission. 

The Kokomo Tribune reports that the Miami Correctional Facility in Bunker Hill has two gardens. Fifteen inmates enrolled in a U.S. Department of Labor program have spent hours planting, tilling and weeding the gardens. 

Prison officials say the gardens have produced cabbage, zucchini, bell peppers, cucumbers, green beans and kale. 

Kokomo Rescue Mission administrator Kraig Kailey says the food from the prison was one of the group's larger donations this year. He says the mission will use the produce in meals they serve. Kailey called the donation a "circle of giving." 

Prison warden Kathy Griffin says she's proud of the inmates and staff who manage the garden. 


Decatur prepares to host Farm Progress Show 

 A central Illinois city is preparing to host a large annual outdoor agriculture event. 

The Farm Progress Show in Decatur will combine elements of an international trade show, technology conference and demonstrations, the Herald and Review  reported. The event begins Tuesday and lasts for three days. It has taken place near Richland Community College since 2005. 

At the event vendors will show livestock products, including weed control and $400,000 combines, that often include 3-D displays. 

It spans over 90 acres (36.4 hectares) for exhibits, 150 acres (60.7 hectares) for parking and 350 acres (141.6 hectares) for field demonstrations. 

More than 600 exhibitors and as many as 150,000 visitors are expected to attend, including U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. The previous event had visitors from 50 countries. 

Greg Florian, vice president of finance and administration at the college, which oversees the event site, said it generates an estimated $10 million for the local economy. 

The event alternates between Decatur and Boone, Iowa. It began in Armstrong, Illinois, in 1953 for farmers to see the progress being made in equipment, seed varieties and agricultural chemicals. 


Authorities ID northeast Iowa man killed in farm accident 

Authorities have identified a man killed in a northeastern Iowa farm accident. 

The Allamakee County Sheriff's Office says 55-year-old Richard Weber was killed when he was caught in a piece of farm equipment. Another person, identified as 52-year-old Christopher Weber, was seriously injured when he, too, became caught in the forage wagon. 

The accident occurred around 2 p.m. Thursday about 5 miles (8 kilometers) west-northwest of Lansing. 

The sheriff's office says Richard Weber died at the scene. Christopher Weber was flown to a La Crosse, Wisconsin, hospital for treatment. 

It was not clear how the two men are related.