The National 4-H organization is celebrating its 107th year this month with observances in local chapters across the southeast.
Brent Elrod of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture says the program was a product of the Smith-Lever Act of 1914.
Elrod: “That created our national Cooperative Extension Service and as part of that the 4-H Program within USDA. “
Since the beginning of the program more than 100 years ago, 4-H has continued to expand its educational outreach to students across different disciplines and locations. Now most chapters include not just food and agriculture opportunities but also STEM-based and leadership programming.
In Alabama, 4-H is open to all students from 9–18. It exists in all 67 Alabama counties and is also the largest youth development program in the state with more than 125,700 young people reached each year.
Georgia’s 4-H enrollment last year was more than 114,550 students. Programming in the Peach State includes Livestock and animal sciences projects, engineering, technology, and ag sciences.
During the 2019-20 program year, Florida’s 4-H programs reached over 151,000 students from 5-18. Florida 4-H clubs offer school enrichment, camping, school-age child care programs with the help of more than 7,000 adult and youth volunteers trained by Extension 4-H Faculty statewide.