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Daryl Buchholz inducted into National 4-H Hall of Fame

Courtesy of K-State Research and Extension Daryl Buchholz, former K-State Research and Extension associate director
4-H HALL OF FAME: Daryl Buchholz, former K-State Research and Extension associate director, is shown signing the official K-State proclamation on May 8, 2014, with former K-State Provost April Mason, recognizing the Cooperative Extension Service’s 100-year anniversary. Buchholz was named one of 20 inductees to the National 4-H Hall of Fame for the class of 2021. His work to make Kansas 4-H financially sustainable continues today.
The former K-State Research and Extension associate director joins the 2021 4-H Hall of Fame class.

Daryl Buchholz of Manhattan, Kan., will be inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame on Oct. 12 for his lifetime achievements and contributions to 4-H.

Honored by Kansas State University and the Kansas 4-H Youth Development Program, Buchholz is one of 20 people to be inducted during a ceremony held at the Kellogg Conference Hotel at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.

“We are proud to recognize the 2021 National 4-H Hall of Fame honorees for the passion, dedication, vision and leadership they have shown toward young people during their many years of service to 4-H,” says Jeannette Rea Keywood, National 4-H Hall of Fame committee chair.

Grounded in 4-H

Growing up on the plains of South Dakota, Buchholz says his family was grounded in faith for guidance and direction and Cooperative Extension for education and learning. His parents encouraged membership with the Belmont Baby Beef 4-H Club to enhance his learning experience.

Buchholz graduated from South Dakota State University, the family’s first college graduate, earning a degree in agronomy. Encouraged by Extension faculty, he completed his master’s degree at Oklahoma State University, followed by a doctorate at Kansas State University in soil fertility.

Professional life

Buchholz began his Extension career in 1980 at the University of Missouri. In 1992, he joined Kansas State University as the assistant director for agriculture and natural resources and community development. While directing the agriculture section, Buchholz served 18 months as the interim 4-H Youth Development Program leader, before being named to the top leadership position as K-State Research and Extension associate director in 2004. In this position, Buchholz provided leadership for the day-to-day operations of the Kansas Cooperative Extension Service. He says watching young people develop into leaders and learn citizenship, life skills and service was the best part of the job.

“There are more than 6 million young people in the U.S. who are a part of 4-H,” Buchholz says. “That is the largest youth development organization in the nation, and it’s doing absolutely outstanding work in positive youth development. Every child ought to be given the opportunity to join 4-H. Every child. Not just rural kids or kids in certain sectors, but all young people.”

Visionary leader

A visionary leader in financial sustainability for the Kansas 4-H Department, Buchholz directed the state and area 4-H specialists to create a new stream of nontaxpayer funding to increase operating funds for continuity and continuance of educational programming. Departmental operating funds had been flat since the early 1990s. Under his guidance, the specialists created a system to generate new operating funds for more than 30 annual Kansas 4-H events, activities and programs. 

Since 2004, this fund has raised more than $700,000 new dollars to sustain the Department of Kansas 4-H Youth Development in its goal to deliver innovative, experiential, educational programming for the more than 75,000 Kansas youth participating in state events, activities, hands-on trainings and educational programs.

Always known for asking the “why” question, Buchholz remained strategic in his vision as a leader, guiding Extension agents and specialists in their planning process by encouraging programming to be relevant, sustainable and educational.

Buchholz says, “Extension isn’t about agriculture, natural resources, family and consumer sciences, 4-H youth development or community development — it’s about changing people, communities and society in ways to lift them up to a better place, and to do it in ways that it becomes their own solutions.”

He retired in 2017, and says 4-H develops skills youth need to grow with the contemporary world.

“I think of 4-H as being flexible and innovative, with an opportunity to maintain its relevance wherever new technology and new scientific discoveries lead us,” he says.

National 4-H Hall of Fame

The National 4-H Hall of Fame honorees are nominated by their home states; National 4-H Council; the National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals; or the Division of Youth and 4-H, USDA/National Institute of Food and Agriculture, based upon their exceptional leadership at the local, state, national and international levels. The National 4-H Hall of Fame was established in 2002 as part of the Centennial Project of National Association of Extension 4-H Agents in partnership with National 4-H Council and National 4-H Headquarters at USDA.

The National 4-H Hall of Fame contributed to this article.

TAGS: Extension
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