First let me say, I loved our time in 4H. And we miss the great fellowship we had with other families when we were in it. Our children learned a great deal when we were involved. Except this year….we won’t be joining.
If you have done 4H then you certainly know the pledge. We still do and I love the words.
I pledge my head to clearer thinking,
my heart to greater loyalty,
my hands to larger service and
my health to better living, for my club, my community,
my country, and my world.
One of the early reasons for signing my children up for 4h is because we loved that pledge. It is heart warming! And something you would not expect from Big Bad Ag Biz Monsanto…..right? Wrong. Monsanto has become one the biggest supporters to 4H. With over $1.5 million this last year alone. That should alarm folks. And I know what you 4H leaders and supporters are going to say, you raise your own money and do not get funds from the National 4H Committee or Monsanto. I respectfully say to you, hogwash. The only reason your County Extension Office and USDA can “let” you have a 4H club is because funding has been granted to that office. Where do you think the funding comes from? You may have to support your own club, but the Monsanto paycheck is there. Make no doubt about it. Whether your seeing the money or not, Monsanto is screaming from the rooftop that they support the 4 H. People will now associate 4 H and Monsanto, regardless of how we feel about it. Goodness, 4 H is eager to support Monsanto too. Just check out their promotional tool kits they offer!
If your thinking I am making a mountain out of a mole hill. And that 4 H still stands for non-industrialized farming. Think again. In a sure sign the group is being fully entrenched in ‘bioagribusiness’ this year’s Iowa State 4 H Big Steer Winner was a cloned animal. Surely, we would all think that this incorrect or this was a violation of the 4 H rules. Right? Not only is it legal with 4 H officials, they seem to embrace it.
With that, our family had heard enough. While I am sure many families will continue to support the 4 H, we just in good conscience could not. I am not suggesting everyone quit 4 H. Nor am I calling for a boycott. I think the core idea is an excellent one. I do however encourage all parents to be vocal in who is partnering with your children. I encourage all parents to thoroughly think of the message we are sending our youth when we partner with these companies. These children are our future, not ‘bioagriscience’.