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Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research – Public Hearing

April 14, 2015

1300 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C.
Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research – Public Hearing
RE:  A Presentation by National 4-H Conference Participants Concerning the Future of Agriculture in the United States

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Hearing Transcript


Tyler Bassett, St. Charles, ID, Age:16

Tyler Bassett is from St. Charles, Idaho.  He is 16 and is a sophomore in high school.  Tyler is very involved in school activities such as Student Council, track, cross country, FFA and honors classes.

Tyler loves 4-H. He just completed his third year in the Know Your Government program as a reporter and has applied for a fourth year. Tyler has also attended TALK retreats and 4-H camps. 

Tyler earned his Eagle Scout award when he was 14 and has stayed active in his local Boy Scouts chapter.

In his spare time, Tyler loves to play video games, hang with friends, play basketball, shoot guns and ride snowmobiles. He is very excited to attend the conference in DC this year and looks forward to meeting everyone!


Danielle Brazeau, Storrs, CT, Age:15

An animal lover since infancy, Danielle is a sophomore animal science student in the Agriculture Education Department at E. O. Smith High School neighboring the University of Connecticut campus in Storrs.  Next year Danielle will be earning college credits in physics from the land-grant university. She saw different types of agriculture while camping from coast to coast during the summer of 2013.

Danielle gives credit to both 4-H and Future Farmers Association (FFA) for diminishing her shyness so she could take advantage of this road to leadership development and public speaking.  Each year she has applied herself in more opportunities such as rabbits, hens, horse showing, art exhibits, public service, dances, and field trips.  In last month’s competition she earned the title of Grand Champion Showman at the Southern New England 4-H Poultry Show.  After winning the FFA Creed Speaking competition at school last year she gained courage to run for the office of president in 4-H.

During the club’s monthly business meetings she enjoys encouraging younger members to speak up during parliamentary procedures so that they can feel the power of participation and learn that it affects the club’s activity calendar. This spring, Danielle and some high school classmates spoke to Senator Flexor in Hartford about the inequality of agricultural education funding in Connecticut. Experienced in 4-H and FFA governing bodies, as well as having witnessed state government during three visits to the Capitol, Danielle is preparing for work at the national level as a delegate in the 4-H Conference.

Other than horseback activities or hanging out with friends Danielle likes to canoe, cycle, swim, and spend time with pets.  Her favorite place to be is at fairs with friends.

Kailey Foster, South Kingston, RI, Age:15

Kailey Foster is a dedicated 4-H representative from Rhode Island who has been a part of the program for six years. Over the course of these six years, Kailey has mainly worked with rabbits and dairy, with tremendous success in both projects. Her dedication and success in the 4H program has not only allowed her to become a member of the Rhode Island dairy quiz-bowl and judging team, but also the vice president of the Southern Rhode Island 4-H club. One of Kailey's main goals for her club is to be able to share the 4-H experience with younger members through fundraising, trips and other events. As of right now, Kailey's 4-H club is involved in Relay for Life, where they work together as a team to raise money for cancer treatment. Apart from 4-H, Kailey has many other interests and hobbies. After school, she competes in softball, cross country, and track and field for the Prout School. She also enjoys spending time working at the farm. 

Gabriella Germann, Ceres, CA, Age:16

Gabriella is a member of the Westport 4-H club in Ceres, California. During her 4-H career of 10 years, Gabriella has served on the Stanislaus County All-Star Leadership Team, attended the California State 4-H Leadership Conference, earned gold medal achievements for her public speaking presentations at state level, and has served on the committee to create a new statewide public speaking competition – 4-H Discussion Meet. Gabriella strongly believes in the 4-H program and the opportunity and empowerment it provides to young adults. 4-H is a pivotal factor in Gabriella’s life and has helped shape her into who she is. She is passionate about sharing the message of 4-H with other youth. In her spare time, Gabriella enjoys playing in the Modesto Symphony Youth Orchestra, where she plays French horn. She also enjoys reading, participating in her local FFA chapter, and spending time with her family.

Jennifer Golbuff, Fort Collins, CO, Age:17

Jenni Golbuff is an active member of the Bug-A-Bug-A 4-H club as well as the Larimer County Junior Leader Club in Fort Collins, Colorado.  Prior to moving to Colorado, she was a nine-year member of Hayward 4-H in Minnesota.

Jenni Golbuff has been deeply involved in the 4-H program since she was a Cloverbud. Jenni was a frequent attendee of the Minnesota Building Leadership and Understanding Conference. In Minnesota, she was elected to be a Freeborn County 4-H Ambassador. Ambassador duties included working and cooperating with adult advisors in the program; planning and carrying out new programs to enhance the 4-H program; presenting and promoting 4-H to the community; conducting training sessions for 4-H members and youth leaders; and planning county youth leader events such as, February Follies, Cloverbud Helper, Winter Youth Leader Retreat, M.C. County Share-the-Fun, Fashion Revue Helpers/ Escorts, and assisting at county fair livestock shows and working the front desk in the exhibit building.

In Colorado, Jenni has attended numerous leadership events and conferences including the 2013 4-H State Conference held at the CSU Campus in Fort Collins, Colorado. She has also been accepted as a Colorado Delegate for the 2015 National 4-H Conference in Washington, D.C.

When Jenni is not studying, working or volunteering, she enjoys spending time with friends, reading, and playing sports. She attributes her success to faith, family and, of course, 4-H.

Hannah Hasbargen, Wheaton, MN, Age:18

Hannah Hasbargen is from Minnesota. She lives in the Red River Valley on a family-operated farm where they produce corn, soybeans, sugar beets, wheat, and alfalfa. Her family has a commercial feedlot where they finish steers and heifers for market and also raise a small flock of Ile de France sheep for breeding stock. She will be graduating from Wheaton Area High School in May and plans on attending the University of North Dakota in the fall of 2015 for a double major in Accounting and International Agriculture Marketing.

Throughout her childhood, she remembers going to "work" for the day with her dad and either helping with chores or just riding in the tractor with him. Her interest and love for livestock started at a very young age and is something she is still passionate about today. She began to show livestock competitively in 4-H Cloverbuds when she was six years old. She has been an active member of 4-H for 13 years. Throughout the years, she has shown market beef, heifers, ewe lambs, market lambs, market hogs, dairy steers, and horses. Her love for 4-H continued to grow and she expanded her horizons by holding various leadership positions within her county 4-H club and participating in numerous projects. For the past three years, she has attended the Minnesota State Fair with livestock demonstrations and earned Overall Grand Champion on all of them. She also judges general livestock and dairy at various competitions in the Midwest. 

Besides 4-H, Hannah participates in sports, youth government, theater, youth-led organizations including FCCLA and FFA, and is very active in her church and school. All of these activities have shaped her to be an innovative, driven, confident and passionate leader in her community and agriculture. 


Wade Hofmeister, Brush, CO, Age:16

Wade Hofmeister is a sophomore at Brush High School in Brush, Colorado.  During Wade’s eight-year membership in Morgan County 4-H, he has served as District One vice president, County 4-H Council president, County 4-H Council senator, and junior and senior pacesetter, in addition to serving as a club officer for seven years.  He served as the only youth workshop presenter at the Western Regional Leaders Forum in 2013 and represented Colorado as a member of the Colorado dairy judging team at Louisville, Kentucky this year.  He completes approximately 12 different 4-H projects and activities every year and has won numerous top honors at the county and state levels for his projects.   This is his second year to apply and receive a Sodexo Global Youth Grant in which he works with members of his 4-H Club, the Snyder Pioneers, to educate area youth about healthy eating habits; serve healthy snacks at the Morgan County Fair; and write and record public service announcements over local radio stations about healthy eating habits.  Wade lives on his family farm with his parents, market steer “Magnum,” four registered Brown Swiss dairy cows, Texas Longhorns, market and dairy goats, dogs, and cats.  He is very involved in his local FFA chapter.  Wade is passionate about 4-H and the leadership opportunities it has provided him over the last eight years and wants to share that passion with others.  

Shelby Nierman, Brownstown, IN, Age:17

Shelby Nierman was born on a dairy farm in southern Indiana. Shelby holds the office of president at her local 4-H Club and citizenship leader of 4-H Jr. Leaders. A 10-year 4-H member, Shelby has had the opportunity to show her registered Brown Swiss dairy cows at local, state, and national shows. As a member of the 1st Indiana 4-H Dairy Youth Academy, Shelby has also had the opportunity to visit dairy farms in Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, New York, and Canada. It is through 4-H that Shelby has found her passion in advocating the agriculture industry. Through education, Shelby believes that agriculture can be viewed in a positive light, in which all people celebrate the hard work and dedication of those a part of agriculture. Accepted to Purdue University, Shelby plans to major in family and developmental science implementing the skills gained through 4-H to work as a child’s life specialist.


Jill Parrent, Normal, IL, Age:17

Jill Parrent is from Normal, Illinois and is a junior in high school.  She is a ten-year member of 4-H and is also involved in her local FFA Chapter.  On the state 4-H level, Jill is currently serving a two-year term on the Illinois Youth Leadership Team, a team of state delegates focused on state marketing, state-wide leadership, and teaching and encouraging youth in their 4-H career.  She also speaks for the Illinois 4-H team. Jill has spoken on the importance of 4-H to legislators and public figures.  This year she competed in the state FFA Job Interview CDE contest, placing fourth.  This April, she will attend the National 4-H Conference in Washington D.C.  She is also one of 10 state 4-H delegates chosen for the 4-H Premier Leadership-Citizenship-Professionalism (LCP) award.  This award celebrates 4-H members who make a commitment to “live” the 4-H pledge and exhibit outstanding leadership, citizenship, cooperation, and professionalism. 

Throughout her 4-H career, Jill has focused on food, nutrition and health; home and family; and woodworking refinishing.  She developed a love for yeast bread baking, which she learned from her grandmother.  At the club and local levels, Jill has served as an officer each year and on numerous county committees.  She has participated in many community service projects with her club and taught foods and visual arts workshops.  Encouraging members to continue their 4-H career and latch onto the many opportunities offered by 4-H has been Jill’s ambition.

Besides studying throughout the week, Jill plays violin, is on the class board, and has participated in athletics.  She is a member of National Honor Society and the National English Honor Society.  She enjoys sports, playing board games, working with goats, and teaching her preschool Sunday school class.  She looks forward to visiting universities where she will major in agricultural communications and marketing.

Jill is passionate about 4-H because it has made a difference in her life.  She attributes much of her learning to her family.  She loves sharing the many positive aspects of the 4-H program.  As the window cling in her car states, “Eat, Sleep, 4-H, Repeat.”  That is truly Jill’s motto and life at this time.


Harley Rogers, Hamilton, TX, Age:16

Harley Rogers is a junior at Hamilton High School and a nine year 4-H member. Her main projects have been science and technology, beef, vet science, public speaking, and photography.  She has competed in the local, district, and state level in several different competitive contests. Harley has been awarded the Bronze Star, Silver Star, I Dare You, and the highest-ranking Gold Star Award. She has also been honored with awards such as Outstanding 4-H’er, Top Leader, and Top Record Book Story.

Harley is well-rounded and participates in many other organizations. Harley is currently the junior president of the Texas Polled Hereford Association.  She is an active member in her local FFA chapter and is a Cross Timbers district officer.  Harley is a member of the National Honors Society and participates in various community service activities.

In addition she is a cattle rancher and personally owns 50 head of cattle.  She markets these cattle through her website Harley and her siblings recently built their own business called Cowhouse Creek Meat Company, LLC. The business markets grass-fed beef to natural food vendors. Harley serves as vice president of marketing.

In Harley’s free time she enjoys showing steers and heifers and judging livestock. In the future, Harley plans to attend Oklahoma State University to study agricultural business.  After getting her degree she would like to start her own new business. 

Darby Schmidt, Charles County, MO, Age:18

Darby Schmidt is 18 years old and a member of the Daniel Boone 4-H club in St. Charles County, Missouri. She has been a 4-H member for 10 years and her favorite projects include meat goats, swine, livestock judging, and photography. She is currently serving as her county’s Junior Leaders Club President and as an Urban Regional Representative on the Missouri State 4-H Council.

Darby is a graduate of the Missouri Agribusiness Academy, has attended National 4-H Congress, and the Missouri 4-H Legislative Academy. She has been named the Champion 4-H Individual at the Missouri Livestock Judging and Grading Contest and has received the National I Dare You Leadership Award.

She is currently a senior at Francis Howell High School and is involved in FBLA, DECA, and Student Council. Next year, she will be attending Kansas State University. She is planning on studying agribusiness with a minor in marketing. With this degree, she plans to work in marketing research or public relations. Darby is passionate about advocating for the agriculture industry through the marketing field.

Shaynen Schofield, Knox, ME, Age:15

Shaynen Schofield has been chosen as a Maine 4-H delegate to attend National 4-H Conference this year.  Shaynen attended CWF in 2014 and has attended Eastern States Exposition the past three years showing his dairy cattle and has done well.  Shaynen also attended Eastern States Expo on the cheese sandwich competition in 2014. 

Shaynen is a sophomore at Mt. View High School in Thorndike, Maine and is an honor roll student.  He is very active with soccer (both indoor and outdoor) and the track team.

When Shaynen is not busy with school he is very active with sports and 4-H.  Shaynen enjoys showing dairy cattle at fairs and is also raising a beef steer this year.

Colton Searcy, Porterville, CA, Age:18

Colton Searcy is currently a 2014-2015 California 4-H State Ambassador and a 2015 National 4-H Conference Delegate.  Throughout his 10 years as a youth member in California 4-H, Colton has filled every club officer position, as well as serving as a Tulare County All-Star.  Colton loves to participate in shooting sports projects, where he perfected his skills in the rifle and archery disciplines.  However, his passion lies in talking to youth across the state about what 4-H is and how to get the most out of the Youth Development Program. When Colton isn't traveling across the state representing the 4-H program, he is studying for his future career as a real estate agent.

Alexandra Swan, Newark, DE, Age:17

Alexandra Swan is a 9th year member of 4-H. Alex is president of her club and she is also in Jr. Council. Alexandra has performed demonstrations in Delaware for 7 years and has won county and state honors for her demonstrations. Alexandra is passionate about keeping agriculture a part of youth and schools and believes that 4-H is an excellent way to do so.

Alexandra is a junior in high school. She attends Conrad School of Science and takes athletic training as her pathway. She is very involved in the athletic training program at her school and plans to continue in the healthcare field

When Alexandra isn't busy with school and studying she enjoys playing soccer, volleyball, and swimming. Alexandra also enjoys.

Garrett Tomera, Spring Creek, NV, Age:17

Garrett Tomera is a current 4- H member for the state of Nevada. This is currently his tenth year in 4-H. He has served as a 2014- 2015 Elko County officer. He has also had the honor of attending National 4-H Skillathon in Louisville, Kentucky. He has also competed in state livestock judging numerous times. Throughout his career, Garrett has focused on helping and educating youth throughout his community about agriculture and their livestock projects.

After high school, Garrett plans to attend the University of Idaho and major in agricultural education. He wants to educate the next generations about how agriculture affects everyday lives.

Garrett is also an active member in his FFA chapter. He recently got the opportunity to attend National FFA convention this fall in Kentucky where he competed in livestock judging. In Garrett’s free time he enjoys doing photography and watching over his purebred Angus herd. 

Brook Weibel, Burns, WY, Age:17

Brook Weibel is a senior in high school in Burns, Wyoming, where she will graduate with her 40 classmates in May.  She has been a 4-H member for 10 years and has served in various officer positions in her local 4-H chapter, including president for four years.  This year, she is mentoring a new president to lead the chapter.

She has worked extensively with younger 4-H members to teach them proper parliamentary procedure and how to properly run a meeting.  Recognizing the importance of being able to communicate effectively, Brook initiated a chapter presentation contest to give the members in her area more experience in public speaking and generate more interest in the county presentation competition.  As a result, Brook competed at the county presentation contest and qualified to compete at the state presentation contest. 

Brook and her family live on a small 40-acre farm.  She has taken market swine as a project since she joined 4-H, and has received many ribbons and accolades in the market swine competition, including some for showmanship.  In addition, she has participated in 4-H photography that qualified for state.  She has also participated in 4-H knitting, visual arts, leather craft, citizenship, and leadership projects.

As an avid hunter, Brook has been active in 4-H shooting sports for many years, including participating in rifle, pistol and shotgun disciplines.  She has assisted the Laramie County Trap Club with their shotgun events.

Brook has been active in in extracurricular school activities including volleyball, basketball, track, and cross country. She has been an FFA member for five years and participated on many judging teams, including parliamentary procedure, ag sales, and poultry. She received her FFA State Farmer degree this year and has been on the state parliamentary procedure team three times and had the opportunity to compete at the National FFA contest twice.  She has also been involved in band, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Academic Decathlon.

Brook believes that youth education is extremely important and her positive experience with the 4-H program has encouraged her to seek a career in childhood education. She will be attending college this fall and plans on majoring in early childhood education.

Merah Winters, Belton, TX, Age:17

Merah Winters is a member of Bell County 4-H in Texas. She was a delegate for Texas at the 2013-2014 National Congress and a lobbyist at the 2014-2015 Texas 4-H Congress.

Within Texas, she has participated in many livestock programs including Texas Junior Livestock Association, Junior American Boer Goat Association, American Rabbit Breeding Association, and Bell County Ambassadors.

Her passion for livestock has led her to become a junior director of the goat division in the Texas Junior Livestock Association; showmanship mentor with Texas A&M’s Lamb and Goat Camp, District 8 goat showmanship coach; an applied livestock ambassador; and an active speaker for livestock in her county, district, and state.  Her educational presentation entitled “Color in the Ring” received 1st place at the state level. Merah aspires to be an agricultural communications major and a veterinarian for marine exotics.