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UW’s war on 4-H

Empower Wisconsin | June 24, 2020

MADISON — Here’s how petty the lockdown crowd is: They’re now targeting 4-H.

You know, the positive youth development program impacting about 100,000 kids in Wisconsin? Think county fairs and prize dairy cows, but so much more. 

The University Wisconsin Extension, which governs the century-plus-old organization, has issued guidance prohibiting 4-H programming from taking place during “large gatherings or activities.” 

“Activities held during a county fair typically will not meet the Extension requirements…” states the Extension’s edict, sent to local county fair officials. 

The “decisions” are in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the government agency. 

“For July, UW-Madison and Extension has developed a safety protocol that allows for “small group” 4-H programming. This will apply to groups of 10 or fewer initially, and will increase if health guidance permits. Please note that guidance will depend on organizational readiness AND public health guidelines.

In short, UW-Madison is doing the Evers administration’s bidding, sticking it to counties that dare hold county fairs instead of canceling life. The liberal administration has been fuming since the Wisconsin Supreme Court took away its ability to unilaterally issue draconian public health orders. Gov. Tony Evers and far left Attorney General Josh Kaul have been counting on local governments to curtail civil liberties in the name of protecting the public from COVID-19. Many aren’t playing along, and that’s making Team Tony mad. 

More than anything, these petty bureaucrats are taking their control issues out on thousands of kids who work hard and look forward all year to showing their projects at county fairs. 

State Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville) said he is “completely baffled and incredibly frustrated at how little sense it makes for UW-Madison Extension to undermine its terrific flagship program.” 

In counties across the state, including Ozaukee County, fair boards are putting on county fairs in full compliance and cooperation with local health department officials,” Stroebel said in a statement. 

“Kids in Wisconsin who want to learn about and participate in agriculture are discouraged from going to safe outdoor fairs. Then, if they dare to participate in an event while following local health guidelines, they are stripped of the 4-H name and their accomplishments will not be acknowledged because UW-Extension has decided to pretend that this summer doesn’t exist,” Stroebel said. 

The senator asserts the Extension is sending the wrong message. 

“What lessons about hard work, overcoming adversity and community service are we teaching these kids when the order from UW-Extension is to hide indoors rather than proudly compete in compliance with local health guidance?” he said. “Perhaps the better question is why should their parents pay taxes to support an organization that actively discourages its stated mission and goals?”

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