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North Dakota 4-H'er earns top county award

With plans to attend North Dakota State University in Fargo this fall, Daniel Kraemer is stepping toward a future in agriculture, but not without looking back on his past in 4-H.

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Daniel Kraemer, a former Grand Forks County 4-H member, spends his summers working on his relatives’ farm in Harvey, N.D. He also assists his uncle with a corn and soybean seed business. (Submitted photo)

With plans to attend North Dakota State University in Fargo this fall, Daniel Kraemer is stepping toward a future in agriculture, but not without looking back on his past in 4-H.

4-H was a 10-year chapter in Kraemer’s life that ended recently with Grand Forks County 4-H’s highest honor.
In November, Kraemer, 18, was presented with the Senior Representative Award.
The aspiring crops and weed science major, a high school senior, will graduate from his home schooling program in May.
The award was presented in recognition of Kraemer’s achievements in 4-H participation, leadership development, personal development and community and club involvement. Often, only one chapter member receives the award per year.
Eligibility for the award involves a comprehensive review of the candidates’ end-of-year 4-H record book, which chronicles each year’s activities and achievements.
“Daniel has truly been an outstanding 4-H member in Grand Forks County for the past 10 years,” says Carrie Knutson, extension agent and 4-H youth development coordinator. “(He) exemplifies the qualities the 4-H program strives to develop in our youth.”
Kraemer says revisiting his 4-H project book brought back many memories, and it’s helped him recognize his personal growth through the years.
“When I look back at some of the projects I took when I was first in 4-H - simple baking projects, making dog treats - those types of things, and looking to where I’ve come - the more advanced projects - it’s really amazing to see that I’ve grown,” Kraemer says.
4-H focuses on youth development through projects that build leadership and life skills. Many activities are ag-centered. Kraemer says a decade in 4-H taught him a lot, but he most values the public speaking, leadership opportunities to mentor younger members, and the knowledge gained through participating in one of his favorite events: crops judging.
“The biggest experience that I had as a 4-H member was when my crops judging team won first place team in the state,” he says. “Crops judging was something that I participated in every year, and a goal I always had was to help my team win first place at state. I’ve had many lessons and experiences, but this one is probably the biggest and best one.”
Kraemer and his senior division teammates were tasked with evaluating and ranking crops for seed value. His team identified market factors for wheat, barley and soybeans, determined the crop grade of a sample and identified weed and crop seeds.
“He has a passion for agriculture and plant science, and was able to use his talents on the team,” Knutson says.
That knowledge might come in handy this fall, too. when Kraemer heads to NDSU with plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in crop and weed science and a minor in soil science.
Kraemer, the third youngest of six siblings, is the son of Phillip and Laurie Kraemer of Grand Forks. 4-H runs in the Kraemer family. His grandfather and mother were 4-H club advisers, and all his siblings were involved in clubs.
“He was a very active 4-H member and was a continuous participant in county events like Project Expo, Communication Arts and the (Grand Forks County) fair,” Knutson says. “Daniel was able to achieve numerous leadership roles at the club level and at the county level, serving on the 4-H Board of Directors. He has also served on the Extension County Advisory Council, providing valuable input on programs to enhance the lives of youth in the community.”
His 4-H projects have included raising chickens, pigs and, currently, a beef steer on his family’s hobby farm.
In the field
Some of Kraemer’s earliest farm memories were his childhood visits to his grandfather’s dairy and beef cattle operation.
His interest in agriculture continued to grow as he got older.
At about age 11 or 12, he began helping a neighbor with farm chores, including making hay and driving tractor. As he got older, he worked for farmers in Grand Forks County and Lawton, N.D., learning more about cattle and small grains.
“Over the last six or seven years, my passion for farming has grown,” Kraemer says.
“I definitely enjoy doing both (crops and livestock),” Kraemer says, adding he’s taken a special interest in crops and weeds.
His 4-H crops judging experience comes in handy in his farm work.
“That really helped, because when I’d go out into a field, I could recognize weeds - the actual weed plants or the weed seeds,” he says. “I had a greater knowledge of the way different weeds spread and how they affected different crops.”
On the flip side, his on-farm experience provided an advantage in his 4-H projects, skills demonstrations and judging events.
“I would bring my farming experience into that, and I would actually try and explain different aspects of agriculture to 4-H, so I would bring that back to the county,” he says.
Kraemer spends his summers in Harvey, N.D., working for his uncle, a farmer and dealer of Legend corn and soybean seed.
The public speaking skills he honed in 4-H are a valuable attribute in his dealings with farmers.
“I work with a lot of customers,” Kraemer says. “It’s very important that I can have a conversation with them, that I can be comfortable talking to them.
“The different leadership opportunities, along with the public speaking opportunities in 4-H have given me that ability.”
With his focus now on high school graduation and starting college, Kraemer’s 4-H involvement is on hold, but he says he eventually wants to become involved again, perhaps as a club leader someday.
“I’m definitely open to still being a part of the 4-H program,” he says.

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