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Ann Marie Ward, Beltrami County 4-H coordinator, receives the 2010 Beltrami County Farm Bureau Friend of Agriculture Award from new Beltrami County Farm Bureau President Tim Neft during the group's annual meeting on Thursday night. Pioneer Photo/Brad Swenson

Ward keeps agriculture alive in youth

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Each generation needs to be reminded of the nation's agricultural roots through such programs as 4-H, says Ann Marie Ward, Beltrami County 4-H coordinator.

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Annual meetings, such as Thursday's Beltrami County Farm Bureau annual meeting, "were really an important part of my children," she said. "It's incredibly important that we remind each generation."

The Beltrami County 4-H program has been in existence for 100 years, Ward said. "The sustainability and longevity of that program here supports our youth and in building a stronger community."

Ward was given the Beltrami County Farm Bureau's 2010 Friend of Agriculture Award, its fourth annual award, at the Thursday annual meeting.

"It has received the benefit that comes from Farm Bureau, because it provides us with support that continually helps us stay sustainable," said Ward, adding she grew up in central Michigan on a farm and is a 4-H alumni. "Farm Bureau or 4-H couldn't exist without a live partnership in sharing our messages and our missions."

Ward has coordinated Beltrami County's Extension Service 4-H for 2½ years. She was presented the award by newly elected Beltrami County Farm Bureau President Tim Neft.

"The award is given to one outstanding individual who has made a community impact within the county," Neft said, "with the Farm Bureau mission of being an advocate for agriculture."

The award places emphasis in four areas, he said: civic and community duty, agriculture promotion and education, agricultural communications and governmental and legislative action.

People need to know where their food comes from, says Ward. "People forget where that comes from or where it starts. ... And there's someone out there in the timber industry who makes sure your house gets built strong and sound, and that your house is warm if you're burning wood."

Communities can be made strong with afterschool programs such as 4-H, which is open to both rural and city kids, she said.

The recent recall of 500 million eggs is an example of people not knowing the food supply chain. "If you can't buy eggs in the store, where do they come from?" people ask, said Ward. "It's amazing how many people have called in the last couple weeks to ask, do you have eggs?"

And even more ae discovering what food dishes they can't make without eggs, she said. "How do you make cakes if you can't buy eggs in the store?"

She echoed a previous speaker, Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation President Kevin Paap that "you're connected to agriculture if you eat. It's important that we continue to share those messages."

The Beltrami County 4-H Program is growing, Ward said, with more than 400 youth participating. Most activities come to a head during the annual county fair.

"It's like hosting 14 weddings in five days," she said. "There's so much to be done, and everybody wants it to be perfect."

The Beltrami County Farm Bureau's roast beef dinner and annual meeting were held in the 4-H Building on the county fairgrounds.

Ward and her husband have two daughters.

Previous winners of the Beltrami County Friend of Agriculture Award are Brad Swenson of the Bemidji Pioneer, state Sen. Rod Skoe, DFL-Clearbrook, and Blackduck agricultural businessman Terry Frenzel.

Y bswenson@bemidjipioneer.com

Each generation needs to be reminded of the nation's agricultural roots through such programs as 4-H, says Ann Marie Ward, Beltrami County 4-H coordinator.

Annual meetings, such as Thursday's Beltrami County Farm Bureau annual meeting, "were really an important part of my children," she said. "It's incredibly important that we remind each generation."

The Beltrami County 4-H program has been in existence for 100 years, Ward said. "The sustainability and longevity of that program here supports our youth and in building a stronger community."

Ward was given the Beltrami County Farm Bureau's 2010 Friend of Agriculture Award, its fourth annual award, at the Thursday annual meeting.

"It has received the benefit that comes from Farm Bureau, because it provides us with support that continually helps us stay sustainable," said Ward, adding she grew up in central Michigan on a farm and is a 4-H alumni. "Farm Bureau or 4-H couldn't exist without a live partnership in sharing our messages and our missions."

Ward has coordinated Beltrami County's Extension Service 4-H for 2½ years. She was presented the award by newly elected Beltrami County Farm Bureau President Tim Neft.

"The award is given to one outstanding individual who has made a community impact within the county," Neft said, "with the Farm Bureau mission of being an advocate for agriculture."

The award places emphasis in four areas, he said: civic and community duty, agriculture promotion and education, agricultural communications and governmental and legislative action.

People need to know where their food comes from, says Ward. "People forget where that comes from or where it starts. ... And there's someone out there in the timber industry who makes sure your house gets built strong and sound, and that your house is warm if you're burning wood."

Communities can be made strong with afterschool programs such as 4-H, which is open to both rural and city kids, she said.

The recent recall of 500 million eggs is an example of people not knowing the food supply chain. "If you can't buy eggs in the store, where do they come from?" people ask, said Ward. "It's amazing how many people have called in the last couple weeks to ask, do you have eggs?"

And even more ae discovering what food dishes they can't make without eggs, she said. "How do you make cakes if you can't buy eggs in the store?"

She echoed a previous speaker, Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation President Kevin Paap that "you're connected to agriculture if you eat. It's important that we continue to share those messages."

The Beltrami County 4-H Program is growing, Ward said, with more than 400 youth participating. Most activities come to a head during the annual county fair.

"It's like hosting 14 weddings in five days," she said. "There's so much to be done, and everybody wants it to be perfect."

The Beltrami County Farm Bureau's roast beef dinner and annual meeting were held in the 4-H Building on the county fairgrounds.

Ward and her husband have two daughters.

Previous winners of the Beltrami County Friend of Agriculture Award are Brad Swenson of the Bemidji Pioneer, state Sen. Rod Skoe, DFL-Clearbrook, and Blackduck agricultural businessman Terry Frenzel.

bswenson@bemidjipioneer.com

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