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National 4-H Conference Delegates Present to House Agriculture Committee

Washington, D.C. - Today, the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research gathered to hear a presentation by the National 4-H Conference participants concerning the future of agriculture in the United States.

The National 4-H Organization is the nation’s largest youth development organization that serves to help its six million student members better understand the agriculture industry. Last year, members of the Agriculture Committee heard from 17 distinguished 4-H delegates to the National 4-H Conference whose presentation highlighted the importance of bridging the gap between rural and urban areas. Today, that discussion continued with 16 delegates from this year’s conference recognizing the challenges associated with food and fiber production, how to enhance global food security, and how those challenges affect the future of agriculture.

“For the second year in a row, it has been a pleasure to hear from such distinguished young leaders in the agriculture industry on what they believe to be the biggest challenges and opportunities facing agriculture in the United States. The National 4-H Organization is a great platform for young students of both agriculture and non-agriculture related backgrounds to develop leadership skills and learn about this great industry. As we work toward developing the next farm bill, it is essential we hear from a wide variety of stakeholders on where we can make meaningful improvements to agriculture policy. Today’s discussion provided a great opportunity to hear from some of these young stakeholders on what they hope to see for the future of agriculture,” said Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Davis (R-IL). 

“It’s great to see so many young people involved and committed to agriculture. We’re often reminded that the average age of a farmer is in the 50s, but we don’t always hear about the great number of youth involved. It’s critical that we continue to make transitioning a farm from one family member to another as easy as possible, as well as support policies that help pave the way for the next generation of farmers. Organizations like 4-H, which I participated in many years ago, are an important part of achieving those goals,” said Subcommittee Ranking Member Suzan DelBene (D-WA). 

“Once again, we are reminded of the bright future of our agriculture industry when we engage with young leaders like the 4-H participants we heard from today. I commend Chairman Davis for his constant work and enthusiasm for highlighting our youth and the contributions they bring forth. The Agriculture Committee will continue to focus on addressing the challenges and opportunities of U.S. agriculture as we move forward on many legislative initiatives. Thank you to all of these young leaders for their involvement and dedication to this great industry,” said Chairman K. Michael Conaway (R-TX).

“Like many of the members and staff attending today’s presentations, I’m a 4-H kid. 4-H played an important role in my life when I was growing up and I continue to utilize the skills the program taught me today. I think all of us who represent rural America very much appreciate what 4-H does for the youth of the country as well as what the youth of the country do for us," said Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN). 

Each year more than two hundred 4-H students from across the country participate in the National 4-H Conference where they interact with executive agencies and Congress on issues of national importance. Together, the Cooperative Extension of 1862 and 1890 land-grant universities provide the leadership to engage young people in 4-H in all 3,007 counties of the United States reaching ever corner of the nation, from urban neighborhoods to rural farming communities.  With a network of more than six million youth, 611,800 volunteers, 3,500 professionals, and more than 25 million alumni, 4-H helps shape young leaders to be the driving change of a better tomorrow.