Michigan Farm Bureau 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Award recipients announced

Three recipients received the 2022 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Award. This award recognizes the outstanding achievements of Michigan 4-H volunteers exhibit excellence in 4-H youth education and leadership development.

Headshots of the three MFB winners; David Cox, Vicki Rau and Karen Scovill.

Three outstanding 4-H leaders were honored with 2022 Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Awards: David Cox, of Jackson County, Vicki Rau, of Ogemaw County, and Karen Scovill, of Shiawassee County. The 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Awards recognize the outstanding achievements of Michigan 4-H volunteers or groups that have exhibited excellence in 4-H youth education and leadership development in the areas of 4-H beef cattle; dairy cattle; goats; horses; horticulture, crops and soils; poultry; rabbits; sheep; swine and veterinary science.

MFB-DavidCox.jpgDavid Cox, Jackson County

David Cox has been a 4-H volunteer for 27 years, focusing on 4-H horse programs. He is the “go-to guy” for 4-H youth and adults in Jackson County.

“Dave actively participates in all areas of 4-H despite his own children being grown and too old to participate as a youth in the program,” said the Jackson County Horse Council in nominating Cox for the award. “He is irreplaceable in the service and leadership he provides, and we are lucky to have him.”

Cox donates his time through many facets in Jackson County 4-H, such as the horse council, Youth 4-H Foundation and Michigan 4-H Horse Council. Through his guidance, the Youth 4-H Foundation has become more driven by youth than adults and embodies what 4-H is really about—empowering youth. Cox is also one of the people found staying late after a show to make sure the grounds are in order, showing up early to condition an arena or mentoring youth on how to set up gymkhana events. More importantly, Cox makes every moment of working with youth and volunteers a teachable moment.

“My greatest reward comes from seeing the youth growing, maturing and becoming better people over their years. From when I first saw them start in 4-H to becoming a leader, not only as a 4-H leader, but also in the community.” Cox said.

Vicki rau 2x3.jpgVicki Rau, Ogemaw County

Vicki Rau has been a 4-H volunteer in Ogemaw County since 1999. Through Rau’s guidance, her club members demonstrate leadership and responsibility and develop life skills that will support them in succeeding in any field they choose to enter.

“My greatest reward is watching where my past 4-H members end up in life and having them come back and tell me I had an impact on them,” Rau said.

Many young people in her 4-H club pursue agriculture-focused or animal science-related fields upon graduation, whether that is through further education or careers within the agriculture industry. Rau is known by her peers as a dynamic leader who demonstrates dedication, passion, heart and patience. She supports positive relationships between adults and youth, while providing an environment where they feel safe and welcome. Rau advocates for the importance of community service and giving back to others. She fosters a sense of place in her club members, which encourages them to remain active citizens within their community as they grow older. Through Rau’s leadership, youth are given a place and the support they need to grow and contribute as active citizens through service and leadership.

“Vicki embodies the very definition of many of the 4-H guiding principles for youth development. Namely, and possibly the most important ones, are that she supports positive relationships between adults and youth, and youth and their peers, while providing an environment where they feel safe and welcome,” said Enya deFeijter, Ogemaw County MSU Extension 4-H program coordinator who nominated Rau for the award.

Karen Scovill, Shiawassee County Karen Scovill.jpg

Karen Scovill has been a 4-H volunteer of Shiawassee County’s Busy Farmers 4-H Sheep Club since 1991. Over the decades, she has been a devoted mentor, teaching and helping 4-H’ers learn about the sheep project.

“Karen has been a devoted 4-H leader for 30 years teaching and helping the youth of Shiawassee County learn about the sheep project . . . helping kids is her passion. It doesn't matter if a child is part of her club or not, she welcomes all kids to be a part of whatever she is teaching,” her nominator wrote.

Scovill has presented at many state and county fitting and showing clinics and workshops, sharing her knowledge of care, management and showring techniques to many young people over the years. Additionally, Scovill has served as a member of the State 4-H Livestock Programming Committee since she was 14 and chaired the committee for 10 years. The committee plans statewide 4-H livestock workshops and sessions for 4-H Exploration Days as well as recruits interviewers for the State 4-H Awards Program. Through her guidance, many club members have received State 4-H Awards and scholarships, and achieved excellence in the showring at county, state and national events. Scovill truly enjoys working with youth, ensuring they are actively engaged in their own development and that they gain the leadership skills they need to help them succeed.

“My greatest reward is watching kids grow through their project. They learn that if they can handle a 150-pound lamb, they can do anything through hard work, perseverance and time. I love to see the joy on their face when they do well and realize they are the one that made the lamb work for them,” Scovill said.

Honorees are recognized by both Michigan 4-H and MFB. Each receives $1,000 grants, funded by the MFB 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Endowment. They can use the grants to help support a 4-H agricultural program of their choosing, or for volunteer training, supplies or curricula to enhance 4-H programming locally and statewide. Honorees will also receive a personalized recognition memento.

The Michigan Farm Bureau established the MFB 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Endowment with the Michigan 4-H Foundation in 2006. County Farm Bureaus and individuals were asked to build the endowment and MFB matched gifts received from county Farm Bureaus up to $50,000, resulting in a $100,000 endowment. The awards have been given since 2008. To learn more about the award and past winners, visit https://mi4hfdtn.org/mfb.

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