Friday Forecast 4/14/2023

Dakota County 4-H Weekly Newsletter

Extension 4-H

Welcome to the Dakota County 4-H Friday Forecast

This weekly newsletter will provide you with the most up-to-date information and happenings in the 4-H program.

WHEP is back on April 14

The next WHEP event will be Friday, April 14 from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Dakota County Extension and Conservation Center, 4100 220th St. West in Farmington. This session will focus on animal scat. Registration not required.

The Wildlife Habitat Education Program (WHEP) is a hands-on environmental education program dedicated to teaching wildlife and fisheries habitat management to youth. Although it is not directly part of the Shooting Sports & Wildlife project (SSW), participating in WHEP events will count for Wildlife hours. For those who are interested in the SSW State Shoot in September, eight wildlife hours and a group project are required. WHEP is a great way to get Wildlife hours during the non-shooting practice time of the year. All youth in grades K-13 are welcome, although material is geared to grades 3+.

WHEP Contact: Jill Heldebrant: or Kris Vatter: .

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Federation Officer Election to be held May 8

The annual election of officers will be held at the May Federation meeting on Monday, May 8th, 7 p.m. at the Dakota County Extension and Conservation Center, 4100 220th St W, Farmington. Elections are conducted by a simple majority vote of all active volunteers and enrolled members 6th grade and older.

Just like local clubs, the Dakota County 4-H Federation has officers to take care of the county business. The Federation youth officers are President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary, and four At-Large positions.

All youth officers must be 7th grade or older, and have completed 2 years of 4-H membership.

Adult officers are also a part of this group. Two Adult Leader At-Large officer positions open this election, for a two-year appointment. All adult advisors and adult leaders-at-large must be 4-H screened volunteers.

The Federation sets a yearly meeting schedule, at 7 p.m. on the second Monday of the month, with approximately 10 meetings per year.

Any questions about how to get involved, contact Kris Vatter,, 651-480-7758.

MN State Fair Encampment Dates

Livestock Encampment - August 23-27

Static Exhibits (general) and Public Presentations - Encampment - August 27-29

Lucky U Stables hosting Horseless Horse Meeting - April 18

This program, led by youth leaders involved with the Horseless Horse and Horse projects, will allow youth to work with horses in a variety of ways while on the ground. Each session will include an education piece and hands on activities with horses.

What: Horseless Horse Project Meetings

Who: Youth 3rd grade and up; must be enrolled in 4-H Online

Where: Lucky U Stables, 11050 Manning Ave S, Hastings

When: April 18, May 2, 16, June 6 and 20, July 18

Time: 7-8 p.m.

Registration: Register in SignUp Genius to attend each session. Participants should be enrolled in 4-H Online signed up for the Horseless Horse project in 4-H Online. Refer to the 4-H Online enrollment for families guide for assistance.

Waiver: Participants complete waiver prior to attending.

Cost: $25 per participant; payable to Dakota County 4-H. Please mail or drop off to: Dakota County 4-H, 4100 220th Street West, Suite 101, Farmington, MN 55024 with 'HLH' noted in the memo line of your check.

Youth will be required to wear horse riding helmets when in proximity to the horses for in-person events (4-H does supply the helmets for youth to use during the practices). Dress appropriately for the weather, the barn can be chilly.

Contact Kirsten at if you have questions or for more information.

Beef and Swine Workshop- April 24; register by April 21

Join Minnesota 4-H alum in learning more about the beef and swine project areas on Monday, April 24 from 6-7 p.m. at the Extension Office, 4100 220th St. West in Farmington.

Any youth, 3rd grade above who is interested in learning more about beef/swine showmanship, daily care, feeding, training, presentation and animal selection should attend. Hands-on activities and giveaways will keep the attendees engaged and learning more about these project areas. The workshop is designed to accommodate two different learning tracks, beef and swine. Participants will indicate their interest in the registration process.

Participants register for the Beef/Swine workshop in 4-H Online. Registration is due Friday, April 21. The 4-H online event registration guide will walk you through how to register. Contact Jess at or Rachel at if you have questions.

Family day at the MN Zoo-April 30; register by April 15

Dakota County 4-H families are invited to join us for a day at the Minnesota Zoo!

* A family activity, not intended for youth to be dropped off without supervision. After we meet at the entrance, families can spend the day as they choose. *

Sunday, April 30

11 a.m. entry; Zoo closes at 4 p.m.

Minnesota Zoo, 13000 Zoo Blvd, Apple Valley, MN 55124

We need a minimum of 20 youth registered to hold this event.

Youth must be currently enrolled in 4HOnline in order to participate.

Youth enrolled in the Shooting Sports and Wildlife (SSW) project will have a special mission to complete in order for this to count towards required wildlife hours.

Regular priced Zoo admission is $13.95 - 19.95 (under 2 is free).

Our group prices range from $6 - 12. Parking is $7 per car.

Complete this form by Saturday, April 15 at 11:59 p.m.

The most critical part of this adventure is payment. We must purchase the tickets 2 weeks in advance. If you register, you are 100% committed to going to the Zoo, as the tickets will be secured.

Pay exact cash or with a check made out to Dakota County 4-H, including a $7 parking fee at the Extension Office in-person or via the drop box, 4100 220th St W, Farmington, MN or

bring to the Zoo at 11 a.m. on April 30.

Contact Kris Vatter,, 651-480-7758 with questions.

Order your MN 4-H ear tags; 2023 4-H Animal Identification Details

If your family is planning on exhibiting an animal at the 2023 fair, now is the time to start preparing. You will need to identify all 4-H animal projects; breeding heifers, cow/calf pairs, prospect calves (steers and heifers), dairy, dairy goats, meat goats, dog, horse, llama-alpaca, poultry (doves and pigeons), rabbits, sheep, and swine. Animals MUST be identified in 4-H Online by May 15, 2023. All market beef should have been identified by February 15, 2023.

Do you need a MN 4-H ear tag? Double check the MN 4-H Animal Science identification requirements table for information on ID requirements for each species. If you need MN 4-H ear tags, please fill out the Tag Request Form to order your ear tags no later than April 21 to allow staff time to coordinate your tag and tagger pick up. Taggers are available for you to check out and use.

If you have questions, please contact Rachel Rezac (for swine, dairy, goat & poultry) at 651-480-7754 or or Jessica Beissel (for beef, sheep, rabbit) at 651-210-0762 or or Cherie Frandrup at 651-480-7702 or

MN 4-H Animal Science Projects

4-H Dog Project Kick-off - April 24

The Dakota County 4-H Dog Project will kickoff with a Zoom meeting on Monday, April 24 at 7 p.m..

Dog training classes will begin on Monday, May 8 at 5:30 p.m. and continue through August (except for holidays and Fair). Watch Friday Forecast for more details on registration and training classes. Join Zoom meeting.

Dakota County 4-H Horse project members invited to Washington County Horse Camp

Washington County 4-H has planned an exciting 3-day overnight Horse Camp June 11-14 at the Washington County Fairgrounds! Horse Camp includes 3 full days of fun, learning, team building, and lifelong friendships.

Registration is due May 1 and must be mailed to the Washington County offices. Learn more and register.

Camp Fees: $175 per participant plus assigned adult volunteer/work shift.

***Dakota County 4-H is offering to award half of the camp registration fee in return for 2 additional shifts at the Dakota County 4-H fair malt or dining hall. That award may be waived if you are not interested.

Please don’t let cost be a barrier to participation. Connect with Kirsten at for information on assistance.

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Native Wildflower Transplanting Event - April 29; register by April 24

Transplant seedlings and learn about native planting in Dakota County.

Saturday, April 29

10 a.m. - Noon

Grade 6 and up


Lebanon Hills Regional Park, 1075 120th St W in Rosemount

Maximum of 15 youth; minimum of 5

Both a learning and service project, 4-H'ers will be working under the supervision of Sam Talbot, Extension Educator for Natural Resources, transplanting native plant seedlings. Sam works closely with the Dakota County parks department, growing native grasses and wildflowers for habitat restoration projects. He will share his knowledge of plant propagation, prairie seed collecting and cleaning, and his work with the new Bison Prairie. Participants should plan to get their hands dirty! This workshop may be of interest to youth enrolled in environment and earth sciences, outdoor adventures, forestry, conservation, or sustainability.

Sign up in 4HOnline, under Events by April 24. For assistance, refer to the event registration guide. Specific directions to the work site at the park will be shared with registrants.

Engineering Design Challenge Kick Off in Central Region - April 30; register by April 25

Join us for hands-on activities to introduce the 2023 Engineering Design Challenge: Take your best shot and celebrate!

When: Sunday, April 30th, 1:30-4:30 pm

Where: Delano Senior Center: 234 2nd St N, Delano, MN 55328

Who: Gr. 3+

Register: Register in 4-H Online by April 25.

This workshop is also a chance to learn more about the 2023 Engineering Design Challenge and how to form or join a team. Adults can also attend to learn more about becoming an Engineering Design Challenge coach or helper. Dakota County has had at least one team for the past nine years - contact Kris Vatter,, if interested in a local team. Learn more.

Table Runner Sewing Workshop-May 6; register by May 2

Sew a “Ten Minute Table Runner” just in time for Mother’s Day. A great project for beginners, intermediate, and advanced sewers alike.

When: Saturday, May 6; 9 a.m. - Noon

Where: Dakota County Extension and Conservation Center, 4100 220th St. W., Farmington

Who: 3rd grade and up

Cost: $5 includes fabric kit and accent buttons

Sewing machines are available if you don't have one. There will be a tutorial on how to work the machines if needed. Choose your fabric during registration or upon arrival.

Register in 4Honline by May 2. For assistance, refer to the event registration guide.

Contact Kris at if you have questions.

Hold the Dates for Arts-In

Arts-In is a summertime performing arts program for youth grades 3 and above. All participants who audition are cast in the show and will learn a 30 minute original musical during encampment. Arts-In shows are filled with singing, acting, choreography and a whole lot of creative energy and fun! The shows are performed at the Dakota County Fair and, potentially, one day at the Minnesota State Fair.

Auditions: July 11; 6-8:30 p.m.

Arts-In Encampment: July 17, 19, 20; 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.; July 21; 8 a.m. - Noon

(depending on the part in the show, times and dates may vary)

Cost: $50

If you have any questions please contact Kris Vatter, or call 651-480-7758.

4-H Camp News

Public Safety Day Camp for Grades K-5 - June 21; register by May 24

Dakota County 4-H Day Camp will feature a public safety theme with special guests from the Farmington Fire Department and Swat Team, K-9 Unit, Dakota County Sheriff and Dakota Electric Association. Camp will also include outdoor games (weather permitting), hands-on activities, and FUN! Reserve your spot now!

Cost is $25 and includes camp t-shirt and snacks. Registration is due May 24.

Who: Youth that have completed grades K-5, June, 2023.

When: June 21, 2023

Time: Check-in: 8-8:30 a.m. Check-out: 4-4:30 p.m.

Where: Dakota County Fairgrounds, 4008 220th St. West in Farmington

Registration: Register in 4-H Online by May 24, under Events. For assistance, refer to the 4-H Online event registration guide.

Cost: $25/camper. Send payment to Dakota County 4-H, Attn: Day Camp, 4100 220th St. West, #101, Farmington, MN 55024. Checks payable to Dakota County 4-H.

Contact Kirsten at if you have questions.

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Youth leaders wanted for an overnight 4-H camp!

Earn volunteer hours, and build leadership skills while creating core memories for yourself and others. Staff are looking for positive youth leaders who enjoy working with youth, are okay with nature and want to add sunshine to their summer. Camp counselors must be in grades 9+. 4-H camp is scheduled for June 12-14, and is an overnight camp for youth in grades 3-8. Applications are due March 30. Click here for the camp counselor application.

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4-H camp registration is open!

Any youth who have completed 3-8th grade (as of June 2023) is welcome to join the fun in a camp immersion experience with Dakota and Washington Counties! Participants will be engaged in campfires, wilderness challenges, outdoor adventures, crafts, making new friends, and much more!

When: Monday, June 12 through Wednesday, June 14

Where: Baker Outdoor Learning Center, 4001 County Rd 24, Maple Plain, MN

Who: Youth who have completed grades 3-8

Cost: $150/camper; includes bus transportation from Dakota County Northern Service Center in West St. Paul

Camp registration is through 4-H Online Event registration system and is due May 12 or when camp is full. For registration assistance, refer to the event registration guide or contact

Resident camp refund policy: If canceled before May 15, $25 cancellation fee. No refunds after May 15.

Middle and high school students encouraged to join the local ambassadors

The Dakota County 4-H ambassador program is open to youth in grades 6-13, who enjoy volunteering and working with younger members. A 4-H ambassador is an enthusiastic leader who promotes the organization using the skills, knowledge, and leadership abilities acquired in 4-H. Some past activities include: participating in community service projects, planning and leading Cloverbud and Sprouts activities, and promoting 4-H at various events throughout Dakota County.

Meetings are right before Federation meetings, at 6 p.m. Additional activities will be held on the off months. Here is a tentative schedule.

Sign-up here to participate in the 2022-23 Ambassador program.

Contact Rachel at for more information.


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The Great Mystery Seed, 4-H Project Kit; sign-up by May 1

Youth in grades 3rd and up are invited to come join us virtually to discover and uncover the unknown world of seeds. We will be uncovering clues to identify a variety of seed from the different growing zones across Minnesota. Youth will use detective skills and tools to solve the Great Seed Mystery. Must be enrolled in MN 4-H and register for your kit by May 1st. There is a $5.00 fee for the kit. Learn more and register.

Choose Your 4-H Outdoor Adventure Speaker series - May 8

Join the online event each month to hear from inspiring speakers, such as professionals in the outdoor industry, authors and youth in the 4-H Program!

Coming in May - We will watch a special viewing of the Emily Ford film, “A Voice for the Wild.” Emily trekked 200 miles across the Boundary Waters in the winter, raising funds for BIPOC students to explore the BWCA through No Boundaries to the Boundary Waters. We will end with a small group breakout discussion. Registration required.

Plan to attend YELLO; June 13-16

June 13 - 16 at Bemidji State University

Grades 7+

Register in 4-H Online by Friday, May 12

Cost: $275. There will also be an option for a $50 bus ticket; Farmington is a bus stop. (The Dakota County 4-H Federation will award 50% of the registration fee if the youth agrees to work an additional malt/food stand shift, above the required shift, during the Fair.)

Youth Exploring Leadership and Learning Opportunities (YELLO) is a 4-H leadership conference that prepares youth to learn and lead in their communities. YELLO is planned and facilitated by the Minnesota 4-H State Ambassadors.

Youth will:

  • Build and learn skills to reach goals and plan for the future.

  • Explore careers, college and other topics of interest through interactive workshops.

  • Develop positive connections to other youth and adults through small and large groups, workshops and other interactive sessions.

  • Take health breaks to recharge and process learning.

Learn more.

4-H choose your outdoor adventure self guided series

Learn more about 4-H outdoor adventures by exploring project areas on your own time. Each of the topics will guide you through fun activities you can do outside. Open to all, but geared towards youth in grades 5 - 9. Access the series to start your adventures in hiking, birding, and ATV safety. More modules in camping, forestry, and nature connection will be available soon!


Gopher Dairy Camp 2023 - June 15-17

Gopher Dairy Camp is a fun 3-day workshop for youth who want to improve their dairy cattle skills. Camp is open to all youth who have completed grades 6-9 but have not yet started 10th grade. Activities include dairy fitting and showmanship workshops, dairy showmanship contest, dairy foods workshop, and fun around the Twin Cities. Gopher Dairy Camp is hosted by the Gopher Dairy Club in cooperation with the Minnesota 4-H Dairy Project Committee and the Minnesota Livestock Breeders' Association. Cost is $75/camper.

Registration due May 5. Register and learn more.

Livestock Quality Assurance & Ethics Training - June 23

Who: Youth 6th grade and above that would take a state fair livestock trip

When: Friday, June 23 from 8:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Where: Krueger Farm, 9819 Neal Ave. So., Hastings

Cost: $5 per 4-H'er; money collected at the event

Register: Deadline to register is Tuesday, June 20.

Livestock Quality Assurance & Ethics (LQA&E) training is required of any youth 6th grade and above that would take a state fair livestock trip. It is required for youth exhibiting dairy, beef, sheep, swine, goats, llama, rabbit and poultry. Livestock Quality Assurance training helps youth provide excellent care for their food animals and ensure a high level of food safety to consumers. It is designed to enhance the educational experience of 4-H animals science projects. Training must be completed before your county fair.

Questions should be directed to Rachel Rezac, or Ann Church

See the MN 4-H LQAE training page for additional training dates.

Farm Service Agency loans available for youth

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) offers loans for individual young people to start and operate income-producing projects of modest size in connection to their participation in 4-H clubs, FFA, a Tribal youth group, or similar agricultural youth organization. Projects financed with an FSA youth loan need to provide an opportunity for the young person to acquire experience and education in agriculture-related skills. For more information on loan purposes and project requirements, visit the FSA website or contact your local FSA office.

First year in the 4-H program? Check out this resource to learn more!

If you are brand new to the 4-H program this resource that will help walk you through some of the questions you may have about the program. 4-H New Member Resource Guide

Questions? Email Kirsten at


Youth Aspirations: Imagining and Navigating Futures in Higher Education

While many higher education preparatory programs focus on grades, test scores and financing, recent research in the field of youth development suggests that cultivating and fostering higher education aspirations may be a missing piece. Join Dr. Joanna Tzenis on Tuesday, May 2 from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. to learn how you can sustain the college and university aspirations of young people while helping them identify and strategize around emergent challenges. This 75-minute training is open to Minnesota 4-H volunteers, potential volunteers and youth leaders. Learn more and register.

New year brings new project workshops! Seeking instructors and ideas

Do you have a special interest or skill to share? Have an idea for a workshop or a connection for a workshop that you feel the 4-H’ers would enjoy? Let us know!!! 4-H staff are looking for volunteers to help lead new workshops this upcoming 4-H year. If you are interested in leading a workshop or have a suggestion for a great new idea please contact Kris.

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Leading a 4-H club web page has launched

Resources for club leaders and volunteers leading a 4-H club have been reorganized. Explore these categories: Beginning the 4-H year, leading a 4-H club meeting (organized around a sample agenda), managing 4-H club operations, and ways to support club members. Suggest improvements to the site by using the gray “feedback” button on the right side of the screen.

Explore the new site.

Volunteer & Club Leader Helpful Resources

Apply to be a 4-H screened volunteer

We are on Instagram, give us a follow!

We have a new Instagram account! Please follow us at Dakota.County4H or connect via Facebook at DakotaCounty4H.


Dakota County 4-H Contacts