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4-H Poultry Prince and Princess earn scholarship and provide poultry education statewide

Congratulations to Nathan Vonderharr of Isanti County 4-H & Katie Benson of Wadena County 4-H, this year's Minnesota 4-H Poultry Prince and Princess!

1. Tell us about your poultry involvement through 4-H.

Nathan: I have been in 4-H poultry for 10 years now showing and participating in the poultry knowledge bowl. I am the captain of our local 4-H poultry knowledge bowl team and our team has taken first in state for the last three years. I have also competed in the barbeque contest and the judging contest at the State Fair. Last year in the poultry judging contest I placed second and was able to compete nationally down in Louisville, Kentucky.

Katie: I have been raising and showing poultry through 4-H for the past eight years. I have been very active in my county's program by showing, giving demonstrations, putting on workshops, and participating in project bowl. I attend state and regional shows, workshops, and other contests. I have been invited to give presentations on showmanship and judging in other counties. I have a passion for teaching others about the poultry project and industry and the opportunities that are available to them.

2. What leadership roles have you played in the poultry project within 4-H?

Nathan: In the poultry project I have done many different leadership type things. One of those is planning and teaching at the state wide poultry workshop that Isanti County’s poultry committee puts on. I have taught a class on picking out your birds and showmanship and I have also taught a class on poultry judging. I have also been the captain of our poultry knowledge bowl team for the past 4 years. I am a member of the poultry committee for my county and have also mentored cloverbuds in showmanship.
Katie: I am a poultry project leader in my club and county, and help mentor younger members when they first start out as I have a passion for educating others about poultry.  I have given presentations and judged at fairs and poultry workshops across the state to share this passion with others. I give demonstrations at the state level and build connections with others across Minnesota. I am also a captain of my poultry bowl team, and have represented Minnesota in poultry bowl at the national contest.

3. What leadership activities are you involved in outside of 4-H?

Nathan: Outside of 4-H I am very active in FFA. Through FFA I have been able to do many things from presenting science fair projects and my schools national chapter award at the national FFA convention. I am also a FFA officer for my high school. I have been a FFA officer for three years, I have been the sentinel, CDE coordinator and also the officer at large. I have also coached and participated on the poultry CDE team for the last 4 years.

Katie: I am a member of the Staples Motley FFA Chapter, and also serve as the Chapter Vice President. I also have the honor to represent 20 different FFA Chapters as I serve as the Regional Reporter. I am the caption of my FFA Poultry Evaluation contest team, and I participate in the Extemporaneous Speaking Leadership contest. I am a leader on my school's trap shooting and tennis teams. I am also active within my church, and serve at Mass and other church services.

4. What would you like to accomplish during your reign as Poultry Prince/Princess?

Nathan: I would like to be able to educate the public about poultry and the poultry industry. I would be able to talk about the poultry industry with the public and how consumers are affected by changes in the industry. I feel that the knowledge that I have gained through the years would really help me be a good advocate to educate the public.

Katie: One of the things I would like to accomplish is helping portray a positive image of the poultry industry. The best way to do this is to help educate the public about what the poultry industry does and why.  Secondly, I would like to continue spreading my passion for the poultry project with other youth, and help them to see all of the opportunities that they have within the project. Becoming the Poultry Princess would give me more opportunities to spread these messages to others around the state.

5. What are your future education and career goals and plans?

Nathan: After I graduate this year I will be going to college to get my masters in animal science and have a focus in poultry genetics or nutrition. I have a lot of interests in poultry in the fields of genetics and nutrition and I have completed science projects on how protein in feed rations effects chickens on their egg production, egg quality, and fertility and hatchability of their eggs. After doing these experiments it has really sparked my interests in continuing research but on a larger scale.

Katie: I have several career fields that I am interested in, including animal science, veterinary medicine, and agricultural education. I plan to continue my education in one or two of these areas, however I am still undecided on which path I will take. I plan to continue my education at a four year college in Minnesota or a surrounding state.

The Minnesota 4-H Poultry Prince and Princess program is an annual competition during the Minnesota State Fair, which is open to any and all youth enrolled in the Minnesota 4-H Poultry Project in grades 7-12. Winners receive a $1000 scholarship and serve as 4-H poultry ambassadors for the following year.

The program is generously sponsored by Gold'n Plump. We are grateful for their support.

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