Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




The Smith-Lever Act of 1914 established the Federal Cooperative Extension Service. The United States Department of Agriculture, the state university and the people in the community cooperatively support the extension activity known as 4-H club work. County extension agents administer the youth program within 1 each county. The 4-H member participates in informal, self-help projects within a group or club atmosphere. Club work supplements school and home activities. Volunteer community adults, aided by members' parents as well as county and state extension staffs, serve as leaders of the 4-H clubs. The early history of 4-H club work in the United States has been traced to many communities in many parts of the country. Such specialized groups as corn, pig, home garden or nature study clubs were organized at the beginning of the 20th Century. The official name, 4-H club work, was adopted in 1930 uniting those youth groups whose purposes were the development of youth and the improvement of farm, home and community. The current program also includes urban areas of interest.3 Isolated cases of club work were reported in South Dakota as early as 1910. W. ·M. Mair, the first State 4-H Club Leader, began service in 1914. The 1915 enrollment listed 2,568 members. By 1916 nine different types of clubs, namely, corn, potatoes, home garden, pig, poultry, handicraft, canning, clothing and bread, were in operation. Eight county agents supervised the club work of a total of 150 clubs. Today the Cooperative Extension Service in South Dakota spends between $12,000 and $15,000 annually to publish and reprint information to aid 19,830 young people enrolled in 4-H projects and activities. Each member has 31 agricultural and home economics projects as well as six special program areas from which to build his educational program. Members are assisted by 4,391 leaders, 2,058 project leaders and 3,240 junior leaders in addition to their own families. The amount of funds devoted to 4-H publications and the number of young people and adults participating in the program warrant a study of the use of published materials by 4-H members and leaders. The current trend in 4-H publications is toward the use of short leaflets containing guidelines for members to follow in completing their 4-H projects.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

4-H clubs -- South Dakota

Agricultural extension work -- South Dakota

Youth -- South Dakota -- societies and clubs

South Dakota State University Theses



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University