The value of the 4-H youth development program is often confined to the leadership, citizenship, and life skills that members receive as they participate in the program. Many 4-H members contribute to the well-being of their communities through individual efforts and as a member of a local club, but those with animal-related projects also contribute to the economic health of their communities.
Young people involved in animal-related 4-H projects are required to keep financial records of total amount spent on the animal-related project, and those records reveal some startling statistics.
A recent review of the records from 172 Logan County 4-H members revealed that a total of $556,860.70 was spent on more than 370 animals in 2016. A large percentage of these expenditures took place in Logan County for animals, feed, bedding, and other supplies.
“According to a recent report from the University of Nebraska, every dollar spent in a rural community to support animal agriculture turns over 2.40 times before it leaves the community,” said Brent Young, Extension Agricultural Business Management specialist. “If we apply this multiplier to the amount of money Logan County 4-Hers spent on their animals in 2016, we find that the actual economic impact was a whopping $1,336,465.68.”
Few other youth development programs can make the direct economic contribution to their local communities that 4-H members make each and every year. The next time you see that green 4-H clover, in addition to thinking of the good things the organization does for kids, remember the economic benefit the program provides communities across Colorado.
If you have questions about this topic or any other agricultural business management issue, contact Brent Young at (970) 522-7207 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Details and impact
Colorado State Extension has prepared research reports detailing the economic contributions of the 4-H program to the state economy. Read them here and here.