Davison County, SD, readies for modified 4-H Achievement Days

Area 4-H members show cattle at the Davison County Winter Beef Show in January. (Erik Kaufman / Republic)

MITCHELL, S.D. — Although it will look a bit different, this year's Davison County 4-H Achievement Days is a go.

During Tuesday’s Davison County Commission meeting, Caroline Hansen, 4-H youth program adviser for Davison County, gave commissioners a rundown on what the annual event will look like this year in the midst of COVID-19. The youth event that features a handful of animal shows and agricultural themed activities is slated to take place Aug. 6-8 at the Davison County Fairgrounds.

“Although some counties have opted not to hold it in person, we felt that we can still provide a safe environment for the kids to hold it in person,” said Hansen, who has been serving as Davison County’s 4-H program adviser for roughly a year.

Traditionally, the event is open to the public, and includes a barbecue and classes. However, all of those facets will be eliminated at this year’s 4-H Achievement Days.

Despite the modifications, Hansen said all of the livestock shows within the event will take place and be judged. In addition, the dairy show portion of the event will be moved to Friday (Aug. 7). However, judging will also look a bit different, Hansen said.


“Kids are still able to bring displays of it, and we are going to have our judges come in. But it won’t be that interview style judging that the kids are used to, but they will still get judged and receive comments back on their cards,” Hansen said, noting the livestock shows will conclude with a ribbon placing.

Commission Chairwoman Brenda Bode applauded the decision to host the achievement days, highlighting the positive impact 4-H has on many youth.

"There is a lot of space at the (Davison County) Fairgrounds, and I was just concerned that 4-H would go by the wayside for the kids' sake, because it is a great program with a lot of positive outcomes," Bode said. “4-H is a family thing, and since families are out home and together, 4-H is a golden opportunity right now to learn some new things and try some things. I hope more families will look at 4-H more strongly as an opportunity through this situation.”

With the challenges and modifications brought on by the coronavirus, Hansen said certain portions of the event have lost a few participants, but numbers for the Davison County program overall have held steady throughout the pandemic.

While Hansen has been forced to heavily rely on Zoom teleconference technology with the youth 4-H participants who she has been leading for the past several months, Bode said she was proud of the leadership within Davison County’s 4-H program.

“We’ve been working hard to keep a lot of our first year members, and we are trying to keep everyone involved throughout this process and do other events,” Hansen said.

Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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