From seed to sugar, Chatham-Kent 4-H celebrates the Sugarbeet!

By Stephanie Campbell

Chatham-Kent’s Sugarbeet Production Club sure knows a thing or two about a “Sweet” 4-H Club! From seed to sugar, this club learns about the process of growing sugarbeets, diseases their crop might encounter, preparing a sugarbeet sample, cooking with sugar, and more! Rob and Maureen McKerrall took it upon themselves to reintroduce the Sugarbeet Club to Chatham-Kent following its initial start in 1930 as the “Better Sugar Beet Club” where boys learned how to grow better sugar beets.

A trip to the Michigan Sugar Company processing plant in Croswell, Michigan to see the process of how beets are transformed into sugar, has been a highlight of this club! Members will wrap up their year by participating in the Highgate Fair by submitting a sugarbeet sample, consisting of three (3) hand picked “prized” beets! To compete, members dig the beets out of the ground, they are washed, clipped and mounted on a coat hanger for presentation at the fair.

The local sugarbeet seed sales representatives: the Dover sugarbeet piling station, agronomists and Michigan Sugar Company have assisted in the development of this club in the Chatham-Kent area. The Chatham-Kent Sugarbeet Club is the only Canadian Club to participate in Michigan Sugar Company’s Youth Project.

Whether these members are returning to their farms to push the sugar content of their beets, increase poundage or cook new recipes with sugar, this club has brought them together to celebrate a locally grown product that we all enjoy!

For the Browns, PLC is more than just a camp but the beginning of a lifetime of happiness

By Laura Squires

Provincial 4-H Leadership Camp (PLC) is a family tradition in many households and holds fond memories for all. For Brianne and Chris Brown, it is a moment that is held dearly in their hearts and marks the beginning of a lifetime of love.   

Brianne grew up in Dufferin County and was a very active 4-H member. “There’s not much that 4-H offers that I haven’t done” says Brianne. In her first year of 4-H she won the most outstanding first year member award after completing eight projects. Needless to say, she was hooked. Brianne participated in various clubs from Dairy, Sheep, Fitness and many others until the time she was 21. Chris lived in Bruce County and was also heavily involved in 4-H. He took part in several clubs including Dairy, Beef and various home making clubs with his sisters, up until the time he was also 21.

In the winter of 1998, Brianne was in her final year of high school and had planned to go to Florida with one of her friends for March Break. She had never travelled outside of the country before and she was really looking forward to spending a week relaxing on the beach. However fate had other ideas; her Mom had received a phone call from a 4-H Volunteer asking if Brianne would be interested in attending PLC that March Break and without consulting Brianne her Mom immediately signed her up.

On the first day of PLC, Brianne and Chris met and on that same day, both received acceptance letters to the University of Guelph for the same program and found out they would be spending the next four years of their lives together. Over the course of the camp, Brianne and Chris had the opportunity to spend some time together but it wasn’t until the final evening that they really had the chance to connect and the rest is history.

Since then, Brianne and Chris have shared many small and big moments alongside one another. They began dating shortly after PLC, went to Prom with one another, began their post-secondary careers together and five years later were engaged. They wed one month after their university graduation and soon started a family. Brianne and Chris have five children: Carter, 14, Payten, 13, Cohen, 11, Griffin, 9 and Chase, 7.

Today, Brianne and Chris own a dairy farm in Yarker, ON and are a part of the Frontenac 4-H Association where they are volunteers and almost all their children are members. They are actively involved in the Dairy club and have seven 4-H calves on their farm this year.

On July 19, 2019, Brianne and Chris are celebrating their 16th wedding anniversary. Please join us in congratulating this wonderful couple and celebrating their love of each other and connection to 4-H!

 

Haldimand 4-H Association members put their skills to the test at annual judging competition

By: Kendra Saxton 

Each year, the Ontario Mutuals Insurance Association gives each 4-H Association the opportunity to apply for a $250 grant to support a local project or program. The Ontario Mutuals Grant Application Program is opened to 4-H Associations in the hopes that the financial support will assist in new project innovations or strengthen and develop an existing program.

One association particularly looking forward to this opportunity is the Haldimand 4-H Association. The association holds an annual judging competition for all of its members, and this year’s event was exceptionally successful. On Monday, June 10, 2019, the Haldimand 4-H Association welcomed its members to the competition, held at the Walpole Antique Farm Machinery Association in Jarvis, Ontario.

This year, over 150 members and 30 screened volunteers, along with additional volunteers and parents practiced their judging techniques and had a blast doing so. The evening began with a pizza dinner accompanied by fresh veggies and chocolate milk, allowing everyone to mingle before the competition started. After dinner, the members judged multiple different categories of objects including classes of lawnmowers, school lunches, sunscreen and bacon, and were asked to give thoughtful reasoning behind their decisions. To ensure that the members could make decisions amongst their peers, they were divided into four groups: novice, junior, intermediate and senior. Everyone had a fun-filled evening despite the weather being a little dreary.

At the conclusion of the judging competition, the members were given well-deserved ice cream treats as they awaited the official placing results. The results were then sent to all the screened volunteers in order to share their success with the rest of their members. The winners of each of the four groups have another event to look forward to in January 2020 in Fisherville, Ontario, as they will be presented with their awards at the Annual Banquet and yearend wrap up. The members of the Haldimand 4-H Association came together for a group photo with the OMIA logo, and received a nod of recognition as the photo was featured in their local newspaper, The Haldimand Press.

The Haldimand 4-H Association sees immense value in this event because it helps their members develop their public speaking and decision-making skills, and provides them with the ability and confidence to explain their reasoning. Hopefully the dedication and passion that the Haldimand 4-H Association shows towards their event will inspire other Associations to consider submitting a project of their own!