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National 4-H Week Oct. 4-10

By Staff | Oct 2, 2015

-Farm News photo by Kriss Nelson ABBY GALM, a longtime member of the Meadow Motivators 4-H Club, walks her purebred Duroc, Ruby during the Clay County Fair.

SPENCER – For Abby Galm, of Spencer, 4-H is more than monthly meetings and taking a few projects to the fair – it’s become the chance to have fun, meet people and learn skills that will go along with her into adulthood.

Galm, the daughter of Paul and Brenda Galm, had a heavy work load this year leading up to and during the Clay County Fair.

In Spencer, she was busy showing pigs, winning first in the open show as well as showing the derby heavyweight and overall derby animal.

She also showed a prospect calf and goats, winning showmanship and winning a heavyweight wether class, along with overall county wether and reserve overall county district wether.

Her poultry project had to be left at home due to the ban on poultry shows at all fairs in Iowa as a result of the avian flu, but thankfully, being layer hens, she has still been able to profit from them.

At the Iowa State Fair, Galm received several blue ribbons for her static exhibits which included two tables she restored, a blanket, and a bundt cake.

Galm said she has been involved in 4-H since she was 10 and recommends joining 4-H to others.

“You learn a lot through 4-H,” she said. “You learn lifelong skills like public speaking and communications.”

She said the people she’s met throughout her 4-H experience are a large part of her love for the organization.

“You meet a great group of people through 4-H,” she said. “They are a great group to hang out with. They’re like family.

“4-H is a lot of fun and is a good opportunity to take advantage of.”

Galm has been active in 4-H in many ways, including serving on the 4-H goat committee and on the 4-H Youth Council, where is the is the vice president.

As a member of the Youth Council, Galm said she gets opportunities to promote 4-H through Clover Quarter, which is held following early school dismissals.

She’s helped at a vet science clinic, recording radio ads at the Porterhouse Pentathalon during the Clay County Fair.

“I am all for supporting 4-H and trying to get young kids to join,” said Galm.

The Youth Council, Galm said is “A way to give back to 4-H. I teach kids what I have learned while in 4-H.”

Not just farming

“You don’t have to show livestock to be in 4-H,” Galm said. “There are so many other project areas to enter and other ways to be involved.”

Her father, Paul Galm, said his daughter works hard at whatever project she starts.

“She is unique it that she does all of her own breeding of the show goats and pigs,” he said. “We farrowed our own show pigs for the first time this year.

“We are blessed that Abby enjoys the work, enjoys the animals. There’s not much she won’t do.

“She wanted to show pigs since she was probably 4 or 5 years old.”

He said both of his daughters, Cassie and Abby, have been extensively involved in both 4-H and FFA.

“4-H is hands-on learning,” Paul Galm said, “whether it’s with record keeping to animal husbandry to economics to projects like refurnishing furniture.

“There’s literally something for everyone.”

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National 4-H Week Oct. 4-10

By Staff | Oct 2, 2015

-Farm News photo by Jolene Stevens ALLAN AND POLLY PITHAN, 2015 Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame recipients, say they value their experiences in working with 4-H and the Anthon community.



ANTHON – The 4-H story is one recognized not only for its impact on young people, but often for its generational inspiration within families.

So it is for an Anthon couple, Allan and Polly Pithan, who were named in August to the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame.

The start of the couple’s journey into club work began in 1960 when Allan Pithan, as a youthful club member of the Liston Lads and Lassies Club, joined his younger brother in showing beef cattle at the Woodbury County Fair.

At the same time, Polly Pithan was exhibiting her 4-H entries in food, textiles and home improvement areas as a member of the Active Anthonettes Club and also held several club officer positions.

In both instances their parents – Allan’s mother as a helper with the Danbury club and Polly’s mother as a leader of the Anthon club – made 4-H a family affair early on.

The couple met in the county fair beef barn, starting a friendship that eventually resulted in their marriage in 1970.

Continuing with their dedication to 4-H within their own family – daughter, Angela, and sons, Michael and David – the Pithans were kept busy with 4-H as their parents took on local and county club activities.

Allan and Polly Pithan described the gratification that comes with the Hall of Fame award.

“We feel it’s been a great honor for us,” Polly Pithan said. “It’s meant not only helping our own young ones to grow, but others as well as we’ve had the opportunity to work with them.

“And as Allan says it’s been wonderful to watch their achievements along the way.”

Concerning the Pithan children, Polly Pithan said that Angela has used her 4-H experiences with Security National Bank offices in Moville, Climbing Hill, Lawton and Mapleton.

Michael has used his club work in establishing Big Creek Trucking Co., while David has found it rewarding to follow in his father’s footsteps taking on the feedlot operation.

“Being a part of 4-H has meant the opportunity to give back to others some of what was given to us throughout our own years in 4-H,” Allan Pithan said. “In school, not everyone is a scholar or an athlete.

“4-H, however, can give members a way to find their niche in life. That’s what happened for us.”

He said it’s been rewarding to work as an assistant club leader, as the fair’s beef superintendent and at a number of club events, watching 4-H’ers carry what they’ve learned into their adult lives.

“The continuing evolution of new programs and new challenges has allowed still more people to be a part of all of this,” Pithan said. “The learning opportunities of 4-H are not only those in production agriculture.”

He said other skills include being a good communicator.

“Take for instance how club members learn and develop communications skills through their demonstration activity,” Pithan said. “These skills are extremely beneficial as they enter today’s work world in working with various groups of all sizes.”

In addition, “we in agriculture have a big job ahead of us to get our message out.

“We need to let people know that we as farmers live out here. We’re not going to jeopardize our families, the products we use or our livestock.”

Polly Pithan recalled an experience of her own in assisting the mother of a 4-H member whose daughter, faced with a busy school and sports schedule, was considering dropping out of her 4-H program.

“My advice to her,” Polly said, “was to say that’s fine, but there are so many (project) areas open for girls in 4-H. I hope she’ll continue to be a part of it all.

“I didn’t know at the time if I’d given the right answer, but the member stayed with 4-H and is today involved in raising livestock and assisting with a breeding stock operation and doing well.

“Perhaps it did help to put her on the right path for a successful life.”

Polly Pithan’s 4-H portfolio includes serving as a long time county fair judge, a Woodbury County Extension board member, various fair superintendent roles – open class fair superintendent, fair queen superintendent, and assisting with the 4-H Clover Kids program.

Today, with their family grown, the Pithans have continued to find ways to serve within their Anthon community.

Allan Pithan is the city’s mayor. It’s a post he agreed to fill when the former mayor stepped down due to a health problem.

Polly Pithan served as the first and only woman president of the Woodbury County Cattlemen’s Association from 2000 to 2005. She continues to coordinate the association’s various and ongoing beef grilling projects for other local and regional groups.

She can be found working alongside her husband at the county cattlemen’s Woodbury County Fair grilling site.

Proceeds from the grilling go into the Cattlemen’s Foundation Scholarship Fund. She and her husband also work with the fair’s bucket calf competition and assist with providing calves for the young contestants.

Polly Pithan also works with the Anthon Community Center, St. Joseph Catholic Church Altar Society, the golf course and auxiliary of the McNiff American Legion Post 389.

Allan Pithan is also a member of the American Legion, as well as being active in the Knights of Columbus and Sioux City Eagles.

With 4-H week being this month, the Pithans said the fourth generation of their family will move into the world of 4-H – Henry Pithan, one of the couple’s seven grandchildren.

“He’s excited about the opportunity,” Polly Pithan said. “What’s more he’s even told his grandpa that he wants not just any calf, but a good one for his first project.”

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