The following story is from the National Compendium of 4-H Promotion and Visibility on the National 4-H History website at
As reported in the Wessel book, 4-H: An American Idea, in the fall of 1946 Ed Aiton (a member of the National 4-H Staff at USDA) had been assigned to look into the possibility of international farm youth exchange programs. At nearly the same time, O. T. Norris of the Young Farmer’s Clubs of Great Britain was visiting in Washington. Prior to the war, the United States and Great Britain had exchanged dairy judging teams and Norris was interested in seeing the exchange renewed. Very quickly the two ideas coalesced into a general exchange of farm youth.
Here are the British visitors. From left, 21-year-old Hywel Evans; Stanley A. B. Gray, 20; William Edge, 21; group leader John L. Cornah, 23; Kenneth J. Osborne, 21 and Alexander Campbell, 20.
Until more plans could be made, the two agreed that a visit of several young English farmers to the National 4-H Congress in Chicago would be a good interim idea. The young men traveled to Chicago and were very much impressed with the Congress and discussed the idea of a general international exchange. At the Stevens Hotel (later Conrad Hilton), Aiton invited the gathered state 4-H winners to donate funds in order to send seven American farmers to Great Britain the next year. The delegates were enthusiastic with the suggestion and started taking up a collection right there during the assembly; from the balcony surrounding the auditorium 4-H’ers from across the country were dropping dollar bills, showering down on the delegates below, supporting the effort. The generosity of the 4-H delegates provided the initial contribution for sending the Americans to Great Britain in 1948, starting the International Farm Youth Exchange (IFYE) which officially began in July of that year.
1950 returning IFYE delegates meet with the Grocery Manufacturers of America.
For more information about the history of 4-H International Programs please visit http://4-HHistoryPreservation.com/History/International_Programs/
Norman Rockwell painted the “The County Agent” for the cover of Saturday Evening Post. The people pictured were an actual county agent, 4-H family and their hired man.
Unusual summer rains didn’t dampen the 4th of July crowd’s spirit on DC’s National Mall!
Declaration of Independence… July 4 or August 2?
As we all know, the US Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. However, even though independence had been declared, delegates to the Continental Congress had not yet signed the document. It wasn’t until August 2, 1776, that the Declaration of Independence became official.
National 4-H Supply Service
How old is the National 4-H Supply Service? Who was its very first customer and which 4-H products were the first items to be sold? You can find out inside.
The County Agent
The iconic Normal Rockwell painting, “The County Agent”, illustrating 4-H projects of an Indiana farm family, was first published as a Saturday Evening Post cover. Can you guess the publication date?
Hands-on . . .
“Hands-on History” this month features photography, a great way to visualize the important and fun parts of your 4-H history.
IFYE (International Farm Youth Exchange)
Though 4–H entered the international arena as early as 1935, it wasn’t until years later that the first exchange of farm youth took place. IFYE (International Farm Youth Exchange) was born in 1948.
Map Your 4-H History
“2015 FilmFest 4-H” and “Map your 4-H History” highlight two examples of “Contemporary 4-H History,” current nation-wide programs that are now making 4-H History.
The July 4th fireworks are over in this marvelously independent country and the 4-H summer season is underway. Amid the hard work and deserved fun, enjoy this issue!