Regina, Saskatchewan, December 17, 2014 – For more than 100 years, 4-H clubs across Canada have worked to strengthen the bond between the agriculture industry and young people growing up in rural areas. And, for the last quarter century, Farm Credit Canada (FCC) – Canada’s leading agriculture lender – has been a proud supporter.
“If it wasn’t for 4-H, I probably wouldn’t be as involved in the farm as I am today,” said Kendra Elliott, who has been involved with the Pipestone 4-H Beef Club in southwest Manitoba for 14 years. “It has not only kept me and other young people in the industry, but it’s also why I’m pursuing my career goal in veterinary medicine.”
Pipestone is among nearly 2,000 clubs belonging to 4-H Canada. 4-H Manitoba – the oldest provincial association – celebrated its 100th anniversary last year.
4-H Canada is a not-for-profit organization that provides young Canadians with the tools and guidance to build leadership skills in a safe, fun and inclusive environment. It has more than 25,000 members and 7,700 volunteer leaders.
FCC supports 4-H through a variety of programs, including the recently announced FCC 4-H Club Fund. The fund provides financial support to 4-H clubs and regions in undertaking specific events and initiatives, such as a public speaking event put on by the St. Paul 4-H Light Horse Club (Alberta) or dairy operation tours put on by the Lombardy 4-H Dairy Calf Club (Ontario).
“We are very proud of our long-standing partnership,” said Lyndon Carlson, FCC senior vice-president of Marketing. “The future of agriculture and rural Canada is bright. By working together, we will ensure young people continue to benefit from 4-H programs and values.”
Elliott is Manitoba’s representative on the national 4-H youth advisory committee and is in her final year toward completing a Bachelor of Science degree at Brandon University. She said her involvement in 4-H enriched her life growing up on the farm and inspired her to pursue a career in agriculture.
“It’s not just about showing cattle and learning farm skills,” said Elliott, who plans to continue as a livestock producer after university. “It’s about developing a broader sense of community, a deeper appreciation of where our food comes from and inspiring future leaders who are passionate about what they do.”
She said 4-H also encourages members to pursue travel, education or training beyond the farm, so they can bring that knowledge back into the business, as well as promote a greater understanding of the agriculture industry among consumers.
“The success of 4-H Canada – as one of the nation’s leading positive youth development organizations –is possible due to the support of generous partners like FCC,” said Shannon Benner, 4-H Canada CEO. “Together, we are helping today’s young leaders gain confidence and skills to affect positive change in communities across the country and around the world.”
4-H Canada also prides itself on its dedicated and long-time volunteers, many of whom continue their involvement with the organization long after their children have moved on.
“If you stay involved long enough, you begin to see young members and our young leaders reap the benefits and grow – then you’re hooked for a very long time,” said Ken Essex, whose involvement in 4-H Manitoba (local and provincial levels) spans more than 25 years.
He said 4-H is relevant and beneficial to all youth – whether they happen to come from a farm or a rural community – since the program offers many non-agriculture activities and events.
“You begin to realize the projects and events are just vehicles we use to deliver the rest of the program, which aims to develop leadership and communication skills, confidence and a greater appreciation for community values,” Essex said. “We learn it and we all benefit from it, even as volunteers.”
To learn more about 4-H, visit www.4-H-Canada.ca.
FCC is Canada’s leading agriculture lender, with a healthy portfolio of $27.3 billion and 21 consecutive years of portfolio growth. FCC is strong and stable – committed to serving the industry through all cycles, and to being socially and environmentally responsible. FCC provides financing, insurance, software, learning programs and other business services to producers, agribusinesses and agri-food operations. Employees understand agriculture and are committed to the success of customers and the industry. With FCC in the market, producers benefit, agriculture benefits, rural Canada benefits and so do all Canadians. For more information, visit www.fcc.ca. Follow Farm Credit Canada on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @FCCagriculture.
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