We were notified late Tuesday of the following: “Extension Administrative Cabinet has extended the prohibition of in-person programming from April 20 to May 15. This includes all 4-H programs, activities, and events. This is a necessary and prudent precautionary action that will allow us to continue to monitor the situation while offering an estimated date after which we can begin to reschedule 4-H and other OSU Extension programs, activities and events. I apologize that this information appeared in the Ohio 4-H Highlights before you were able to share it in your counties. As you know, the situation is dynamic and changes daily, so please be aware that this timeline may be extended beyond May 15. We will continue to monitor conditions and will reevaluate this date as needed and inform you as soon as it is feasible.”
I spent much of yesterday clarifying what this means for our members moving forward. At this time it does NOT mean we won’t have a fair, project judging or camp.
Livestock: I am working with our Sr Fair Board to finalize a method to register livestock for the fair. The Ohio 4-H Office is working with the Ohio Department of Agriculture to provide additional guidance on how that “tag in” process might look for this year. Ohio 4-H is also working to provide us other ways to provide Quality Assurance. I have held off on sending further instructions for the online QA until I see what our options are. There is still plenty of time to complete Quality Assurance as the requirement to complete 45 days before the fair has been waived for 2020. Exhibitors must complete before the fair begins. Ohio 4-H offers the following advice to livestock members:
- 4-H members and their families should consider a number of factors as they make their decisions to purchase 4-H market livestock projects. As with any agricultural enterprise, possible risks and rewards must be taken into account. For example, we encourage families to consider their overall available budget, space to care for livestock, availability of alternative markets, availability of local processing and family freezer space.
Project Judging: With regard to hosting other large group activities this summer, such as project judging, we plan to have a decision by May 1. At this time members should continue working through their projects. Project judging may look different or be at a later date but we are committee to completing our 4-H year.
Camp: Ohio 4-H has asked us not to accept registrations or payments for camp until after April 15. By that time we should be better able to make decisions regarding summer scheduling. We will continue to work to train our counselors and be prepared for 4-H Camp this summer.
Meetings: The move to virtual meetings seems to be working for many of our families, but we recognize it doesn’t work for everyone due to accessibility issues in parts of the county. We are continuing to explore options and will share more in the next few weeks. In the meantime, there are tip sheets for club leaders with options and ideas for holding virtual club meetings at go.osu.edu/4hadvisorinfo; we will continue adding information to this site. If you are interested in holding a virtual meeting and need assistance, please feel free to reach out to me. Ohio 4-H has extended the timeline to meet the 6 meeting requirement to 12/31/20. This gives our clubs opportunity to meet after fair to complete their programming year. I do encourage clubs to continue communication with members and families through some format. If virtual meetings don’t work well for your group, check in via phone, text, etc. Members can upload photos or videos of their projects to your club Facebook group or send directly to the advisor.
I know there are many uncertainties during this time and that is frustrating for many. I share those frustrations. I appreciate your patience and understanding as we all try to work through this situation together.
Please continue to watch your email for updates and share with other members in your club. Reach out to me if you have questions or I can help in any way.