1902: Youth Clubs are Formed
In 1902, B. Graham started a youth program in Clark County, Ohio which is considered the birth of 4-H in the United States. The first club was called “The Tomato Club” or the “Corn Growing Club”. T.A. Erickson of Douglas County, Minnesota, started local agricultural after-school clubs and fairs that same year.
1910: The 4-H Clover was Created
Jessie Field Shambaugh developed the clover pin with an H on each leaf in 1910, and by 1912 they were called 4-H clubs.
1914: Cooperative Extension System was created
The passage of the Smith-Lever Act in 1914 created the Cooperative Extension System at USDA and nationalized 4-H. By 1924, 4-H clubs were formed and the clover emblem was adopted.
The Cooperative Extension System is a partnership of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the 109 land-grant universities and more than 3,000 county offices across the nation. Cooperative Extension combines the expertise and resources of federal, state, and local governments and is designed to meet the need for research, knowledge, and educational programs.
Lewis County Cornell Cooperative Extension: 1918-2018
Today, 4-H serves youth in rural, urban, and suburban communities in every state across the nation. 4-H’ers are tackling the nation’s top issues, from global food security, climate change and sustainable energy to childhood obesity and food safety. 4-H out-of-school programming, in school enrichment programs, clubs and camps also offer a wide variety of STEM opportunities - from agricultural and animal sciences to rocketry, robotics, environmental protection and computer science – to improve the nation’s ability to compete in key scientific fields and take on the leading challenges of the 21st century.