South Dakota 4-H members attend National Youth Summits in Maryland

BROOKINGS, S.D. – Six South Dakota 4-H members attended National 4-H Youth Summits focused on Agri-Science and Healthy Living held at the National 4-H Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Md.

“The National Agri-Science Summit was a positive experience because of all the amazing speakers and workshops. It opened my eyes up to all the different areas and careers in agriculture. In Washington, D.C. I was also surrounded by people, like me, who have a passion for agriculture,” said Jessica Kott, Brule County 4-H Member and State 4-H Agriculture Ambassador.

In addition to Kott, the other 4-H youth who attended the National Agri-Science Youth Summit include: Bailey Feistner, Sanborn County and Cassie Richarz, Hamlin County; youth who attended the National Healthy Living Youth Summit are Laura Bogue, Lincoln County; Tessa Erdmann, Brown County and Sydney Hoffman, McCook County.

Travel costs and expenses for the National Agri-Science Summit were covered through a generous sponsorship from the CHS Foundation. Travel costs and expenses for the National 4-H Healthy Living Summit were funded by a sub-grant through the Walmart 4-H Healthy Habits program.

“I learned that living healthy isn’t just about eating right, it’s also having mental wellness, and that sometimes it gets forgotten. My generation tends to lack positive eating, physical fitness and wellness habits,” said Tessa Erdmann, Brown County 4-H member and State 4-H Leadership Ambassador. “Since I am a Leadership Ambassador, I am planning a healthy living program for my school.”

As a State 4-H Ambassador, Erdmann and Kott are among 19 South Dakota youth from counties across the state selected to serve. Developed to expand leadership opportunities for teens, the State 4-H Ambassador program offers opportunities to South Dakota teens because it is designed to engage youth in leadership development through all four 4-H program priority areas including:

1. Agriculture

2. Health & Wellness

3. Leadership

4. Science

Summit details

During the National Youth Summits, 4-H youth participated in programming designed to provide youth with real world exposure in the fields of Agri-Science and Healthy Living. Attendees developed action plans to address a need in their state or communities.

Feistner, Kott, and Richarz developed an action plan that will assist in educating youth and the public about agriculture biosecurity practices. Lessons from this action plan will soon be implemented in South Dakota.

Youth attending the Healthy Living Summit developed a program they will implement during the 2019 South Dakota State Fair called “Green Habits on the Go!” This program is designed to provide livestock exhibitors and families education for healthy on-the-go snack options. They also plan to educate youth about the importance of proper hand sanitation.

To learn more about these and other youth summits offered by National 4-H, visit

To learn more about South Dakota 4-H and how you can get involved, visit or contact your local SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Program Advisor. A complete listing can also be found at

–SDSU Extension