4-H Providing Leadership in Agriculture

By Brian McNeill, Extension Educator, Center for Youth Development and 4-H

February 2021

The University of Minnesota Extension, Center for Youth Development has developed a NEW leadership opportunity for youth in 4-H. The Minnesota 4-H Agriculture Ambassador program allows youth in 4-H to refine their leadership, become a spokesperson for 4-H and agriculture, and provide new opportunities with agriculture.

A 4-H Agriculture Ambassador is an authorized representative of the University of Minnesota Extension 4-H Youth Development Program. They are a self-motivated, enthusiastic leader who promotes 4-H using the skills, knowledge, and leadership abilities acquired in 4-H with fellow members, area residents, community leaders, elected officials, and other young people. Ambassadors serve to strengthen the 4-H program through public relations. 

The 4-H Agriculture Ambassador program is an in-depth learning experience for the youth who are selected to represent the agricultural industry in the state. The program uses a criterion-based method to select youth. The criteria are 4-H youth in 10th grade and older who have exhibited a superior level of ambition regarding their livestock, agronomy, and horticulture project participation, youth with a profound interest in agriculture, and youth who exhibit advanced leadership qualities and willingness to help others.

The 4-H Agriculture Ambassador program was created to equip youth with the knowledge and skills to become and serve as ambassadors for agriculture through Extension and the Minnesota 4-H Youth Development program. The program is designed for motivated youth desiring to enhance their knowledge of agriculture, as well as share their gained knowledge with others. Similarly, 4-H Agriculture Ambassadors are gaining knowledge of career development, higher education, and leadership development that may translate into shared knowledge with other youth participants and their parents.

In its second year, the program has grown to include twenty-six 4-H Agriculture Ambassadors across the state of Minnesota. These representatives will have reach in their community, region, and state. The team members will be available to share their stories at agriculture opportunities and other events that connect people to agriculture. 

By taking part in 4-H, young people can acquire the leadership life skills they need to take responsibility for their actions and to work with others in achieving individual and group goals. In a 4-H leadership experience, youth gain understanding themselves, communicating, getting along with others, learning to learn, making decisions, managing, and working with groups.

If you would like to learn more about the 4-H Agriculture Ambassador program or would like to invite them to an agriculture event, you can contact Brian McNeill, Extension Educator at mcnei006@umn.edu who is the contact for this group of leaders.

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