Extension in Nicollet County
Welcome to Nicollet County
Nicollet County partners with Extension to deliver practical education and research you can use at home, at work and in your community.
4-H is the University of Minnesota’s out-of-school, a hands-on learning program for youth from Kindergarten through one year past high school graduation. It is a public program for all youth delivered in each county through UMN Extension. Through hands-on learning, youth in 4-H build not only confidence, creativity, and curiosity but also life skills such as leadership and resiliency to help them thrive today and tomorrow. There are so many ways to participate in Minnesota 4-H!
- What is Minnesota 4-H? (you tube)
- Frequently Asked Questions about Nicollet County 4-H MembershipMembers is grades K-2: Cloverbuds
All 4-H members in grades K-2 are called Cloverbuds and this is a special time in 4-H. Cloverbuds focus on non-competitive discovery and learning!
- Learn more: What is a Minnesota 4-H Cloverbud? (you tube)
4-H clubs meet on a regular basis to learn together with friends. They work on 4-H projects, serve their community, develop leadership skills and learn to work together. Many people choose the club closest to them. Others choose to be with friends they already know.
- Learn more about Current Nicollet County 4-H Clubs, when and where they meet and how to connect with the club leader.
- Learn more: What is a Minnesota 4-H club? (you tube)
4-H, youth choose projects that are interesting to them to explore with peers and caring adults. 4-H offers learning experiences in science, photography, agriculture, healthy living, civic engagement and much more. Projects are important in 4-H because we believe in experiential learning, which is why our motto is “Learn by Doing!”
- Learn more: What is a Minnesota 4-H project? (you tube).
- What is a 4-H project vs. a fair exhibit?
- Step-by-Step Project Workbook
What is University of Minnesota Extension?
Welcome to Nicollet County 4-H!
4-H youth members
The Minnesota 4-H year begins October 1 and runs through September 30, and youth can join at any time. Members join 4-H using our online enrollment system, called 4HOnline, which keeps all the information we need to serve you best. You’ll want to keep your email and password handy throughout the year for registering for events, identifying 4-H animals, and re-enrolling next year!.
Welcome back. Re-enroll in 4HOnline in October each year! If it’s been awhile since you’ve been in 4-H or if you are coming from another county, please contact the 4-H staff to assist with your 4HOnline account.
Ready to enroll for the first time in Nicollet County 4-H
Step 1: Create your family 4HOnline account. These step-by-step guides can help.
Step 2: Pick a 4-H club
You will be asked to select a club. Learn more about Current Nicollet County 4-H Clubs: when and where they meet and how to connect with the club leader. If you’re unsure, you can choose “Undecided” and 4-H staff can make a recommendation for you.
Step 3: Pick 4-H Project Areas
You will be asked to select at least one project area. You can scroll through the list and choose the projects areas you want to learn more about. We use your choices to let you know about opportunities in these areas and communicate important information. Each year in 4-H, you can choose new project/interest areas. If you are unsure, you can choose “Not sure yet” and staff will contact you to talk it over.
Step 4: Get in touch with us
After you enroll, you will begin to receive monthly email updates from staff and club information from your club leader. 4-H staff and club leaders will reach out to you. Nothing takes the place of getting connected to other people in 4-H so please reach out: call or email the 4-H Extension Educator, come to an event or club meeting, or reach out to a 4-H family you already know.
New Member resources
- Nicollet County 4-H FAQ
- Minnesota 4-H Family Handbook
- Learn more about Nicollet County 4-H in the About Us section
Be sure to Follow us on Facebook
There are also many ways adults (anyone age 18+) can support youth learning and leading in 4-H.
Want to learn about volunteering with the 4-H Youth Development Program?
Visit the Volunteering with 4-H page to learn more about how volunteers positively impact youth and community
Contact your 4-H Extension Educator to learn about specific roles available in your community
Ready to become a screened Minnesota 4-H volunteer?
Visit the Apply to become a 4-H volunteer page to begin the application and screening process
Every three years, volunteers are asked to renew their volunteer status by updating their Safety of Minor training.
The Monthly Update goes out to all registered 4-H members via email on Wednesdays. To receive this newsletter via email - please register for Nicollet County 4-H through 4HOnline.
At the beginning of each month, all enrolled 4-H members will receive an email update from Minnesota 4-H and a separate email update from the Nicollet County 4-H Extension educator about the local program. To receive these updates via email, please enroll in Nicollet County 4-H through 4HOnline.
You will also receive information throughout the year based on your grade and the projects you selected when you enrolled in 4HOnline. You can update those projects at any time.
Nicollet County 4-H Google Calendar
Do you want to know what is happening in Nicollet County 4-H? Not sure where the club meeting is taking place? Want to see upcoming events? Need to know if the extension office is closed? Click on the link below to access the Nicollet County 4-H Google Calendar.
Be sure to Follow us on Facebook
4-H events in Nicollet County
Attend a 4-H event near you.
Statewide 4-H events
Find a 4-H event in Minnesota.
4-H news in Nicollet County
Stay informed about all that is happening in Nicollet County 4-H.
Statewide 4-H news
Learn more about what is happening in Minnesota 4-H.
The Heart & Hub of Nicollet County 4-H
The Nicollet County 4-H Federation includes every 4-H youth member in 6th grade or higher and every adult 4-H screened volunteer in the Nicollet County 4-H program.
Federation Leadership Team & Officers
The Federation is led by 4-H youth officers (grade 7+) with guidance from an adult advisory team and the UMN Extension Nicollet County 4-H youth development staff. Together this leadership team guides the Nicollet County 4-H program on behalf and in cooperation with all of its members.
Nicollet County 4-H Federation meetings are the hub of the Nicollet County 4-H program. This is where we work to carry out the business and mission of the Federation, such as plan opportunities and education for the members, set and work toward annual goals, maintain and uphold the organization’s bylaws, manage and allocate program funds, and create committees to implement programs. Currently, the Nicollet County 4-H Federation meets four-five times a year. All 4-H families are welcome at Federation meetings! All clubs are highly encouraged to send representation to the Federation meetings.
Committees are formed each year to carry out the work of the Federation. They include:
- Horse Project Development Committee (each year)
- Food Stand Committee (each year)
- General Project Education Committee
- Other Committees as needed such as Awards, Special Events, etc.
The Nicollet County 4-H Federation does not have a Livestock Committee; however, there is an annual meeting (usually held in early January) for all livestock families to provide recommendations to the Federation.
2022-2023 meeting schedule
- Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022 @ 6:30 p.m. @ St. Peter Community Center. November agenda includes: budget approval, approval of annual goals, committee assignments
- Sunday, Jan. 29. 2023 @ 6:30 p.m. @ Lafayette Community Center
- Sunday, April 30, 2023 @ 6:30 p.m. @ Nicollet Conservation Club
- Sunday, July 30, 2023 @ 6:30 p.m. @ Lafayette Community Center
- Sunday, October 22, 2023 @ 6:30 p.m. @ Nicollet Conservation Club. October agenda includes: Annual Meeting, elections, year-in-review, budget approval, annual goals and approval.
Nicollet 4-H Awards
Each year, the Nicollet County 4-H Federation honors individuals, clubs, organizations, alumni, and friends who make outstanding contributions to the Nicollet County 4-H program during the program year (Oct 1.-Sept 31.).
- Learn more about the selection process and past winners.
- Submit this nomination form for any of the following awards.
Outstanding Youth Leader Award
This award will be given to a 4-H member who is a role model and leader to others. We have many outstanding youth leaders, but this individual has shown exceptional leadership in 4-H this past 4-H year.
Outstanding Adult Leader Award
This award will be given to a 4-H adult volunteer who has focused on developing the skills of 4-H youth so they may design a bright future. We have many outstanding leaders, but this individual has shown exceptional leadership this past 4-H year.
4-H Alumni Award
This award will be given to an individual who has experienced the value of the 4-H program in any county and, during the past 4-H year, dedicated their time and talents to give back to the program in a meaningful way.
Friend of 4-H Award
This award will be given to an individual, family, group, or business that has fostered a deep friendship with Nicollet County 4-H. During the past 4-H year, they offered assistance, knowledge, support, and or other resources to make the program stronger and more sustainable.
Edward H. Schultz Scholarships
Ed Schultz was a firm believer in the 4-H program. Prior to his death on March 29, 1998, Ed Schultz created a fund to provide scholarships to graduating seniors in Le Sueur and Nicollet counties interested in continuing education in the area of agriculture. Selection is based on an applicant’s community service, involvement in the 4-H program at the personal, club and county levels, and strength of their character.
In 2023, three scholarships ($1000, $1000, $500) will be awarded to Nicollet County 4-H members graduating from high school.
- Applications due June 1
- Overview and application
Nicollet 4-H Achievement Scholarships
Each year scholarships are awarded to Blue Earth County and Nicollet County 4-H members graduating from high school. Two scholarships—one for 4-H achievement and one for livestock achievement—are awarded in each county thanks to cooperative funding from the Tri-County Fair Board, Blue Earth County 4-H, and Nicollet County 4-H.
In 2023, two scholarships ($500 each) will be awarded to Nicollet County 4-H members graduating from high school.
- Applications due June 1
- Overview and application
The Nicollet County Fair is held each year in early August at the Nicollet County Fairgrounds in St. Peter. The fair provides 4-H members with a place to showcase exhibits about their project learning and share what they have learned with friends, judges, and community members.
4-H members who earn blue ribbons at the Nicollet County Fair (and have completed grade 6) may earn the opportunity to advance to the Minnesota State Fair. Similarly, members in the horse and dog projects are eligible to advance to the state horse and dog shows, which are held at the state fairgrounds later in September.
Nicollet County Fair & State Show
In 2022, 192 Nicollet County 4-H members brought 1020 exhibits to the county fair.
Nicollet advanced several members to state events, including 57 members to the Minnesota State Fair with livestock and general projects, six members and the Nicollet County Horse Drill Team to the Minnesota State Horse Show, and one member to the Minnesota State Shoot.
- Link to upload 2022 Fair Photos to Smug Mug
- Photos from the 2022 Nicollet County fair
- 2022 Nicollet County Fair 4-H results
- 2022 state show results for Nicollet County 4-H
The winter is a great time to make your annual 4-H project goals and begin to think about what you might want to show at the fair in the summer. These tools will help you be more prepared:
- May: Nicollet County 4-H Premium Books are released
- Beginning of June: Premium Books are mailed to 4-H families
- Mid-June: Fair Entry registration opens
- Mid-July: Fair Entry registration deadline
- Pre fair judging of some general exhibits and the Performing Arts & Fashion Revue Show
- (usually two weeks before fair)
- Early August: Nicollet County Fair!
4-H fair exhibits must be registered in FairEntry for the Nicollet County Fair. Registration will open in mid-June. The deadline to register your 4-H exhibits is mid-July.
It takes many hands to make a fair!
4-H youth are asked to work at the 4-H Food Stand for one or two shifts during the county fair. This is our largest and only annual fundraiser. Youth learn valuable life skills. Adults are needed to support them and to work the grill, fryers, cash register, and various other duties. 4-H parents and older members are also needed as judge assistants, ring stewards, and more. And, clubs are assigned to set-up or clean-up duties each year.
Animal Projects, Training and ID
Annual livestock meeting
Are you planning to show animals in 4-H? Are you just starting and want to connect with other families and more resources? Join us for our annual livestock meeting each year (usually in January). All 4-H members showing (or interested in showing) livestock are encouraged to come. At this meeting, we discuss project bowls and judging teams, make recommendations for fair judges and schedules, review livestock related requirements and deadlines, and make a plan for this year’s project workshops.
Annual Livestock Meeting: Second Friday of January, 6:00pm, St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Nicollet.
For more information any time of year, contact your 4-H educator and watch your county newsletter.
The Nicollet County 4-H Horse Project is a countywide group for members who love to learn about horses. Any member from any club can be part of the horse project. The Horse Project typically meets quarterly. The Horse Project manages horse project learning, clinics, summer practices, and county fair fun. Members of the horse project also participate in project bowls, hippology, judging teams, and more. We also have the Nicollet Spurs, our Horse Drill Team.
2023 Nicollet County Horse Practice Schedule
For more information, ask to be connected with the horse project’s adult advisors
The Nicollet County 4-H Dog Project is a joint project with Blue Earth County 4-H for members who love to learn about dogs. Any member from any club can be part of the dog project. Members in the dog project participate in project bowls, the multi-county dog show, and summer training.
2023 Nicollet/Blue Earth Dog Practice Schedule
For more information, ask to be connected with the dog trainers.
Animal ID for fairs
Animal ID is the 4-H system for identifying and tracking all live animals in the 4-H animal science project areas that will exhibit at the fair. Each year the deadlines are as follows (if the deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, it is moved to the next business day)
- Feb 15 is the animal ID deadline for market beef (beef steers, market heifers and dairy steers).
- May 15 is the animal ID deadline for beef, dairy, dairy goat, dog, horse, llama - alpaca, meat goat, poultry, rabbit, sheep and swine.
If you have enrolled in any animal projects, you will receive an animal ID packet in the mail
- Market Beef ID letter - January 2023
- All Animals ID letter - February 2023
- Horse ID letter- March 2023
- For all animal ID, visit the MN 4-H Animal ID webpage
- Here’s what Cloverbuds need to know. (These deadlines do not apply to Cloverbuds)
- One-page animal project deadline checklist
- If you miss a deadline, contact your 4-H educator immediately to determine your options. The Nicollet County Competitive Deadlines document explains the 4-H state and county individual deadlines and the consequences related to different aspects of those deadlines.
Borrowing (leasing) animals
We want you to be able to learn about animals even if you don't own one. You can lease an animal. There are several farmers in Nicollet County who are leasing animals to 4-H members, or perhaps you know someone with animals. The 4-H member must complete the 4-H animal identification process, just like owned animals. This will include verifying the leasing agreement.
For more information, contact your 4-H educator and visit the Minnesota 4-H Leasing an Animal webpage.
Ear tags and taggers for beef, dairy, goats, swine, and sheep are provided free of charge by the Nicollet 4-H Federation each year. Please make arrangements through the Nicollet County Extension office.
Livestock Quality Assurance & Ethic
All youth participating as a Minnesota State Fair 4-H livestock exhibitor (grades 6+) in beef, dairy, goats, poultry, rabbit, sheep, and swine must be certified in livestock quality assurance. Each year, Nicollet County works to provide an in-person 3-year certification training.
For more information, visit the Minnesota 4-H Livestock Quality Assurance Training (LQA) webpage
In Nicollet County 4-H, we highly encourage members to complete record books each year. We have a formal process for record books to be reviewed and recognized.
The purpose of 4-H record-keeping is to teach an important life skill. 4-H is not just doing, but learning by doing it – sharing it – understanding it – relating it – and using it. Record keeping encourages reflection (understanding, relating) so that 4-H members can apply their learning to other situations.
What is a 4-H record?
A 4-H record is an organized, written account of your 4-H experience. Your 4-H record shows your progress, personal growth and accomplishments through participation in 4-H. It provides the opportunity for youth to reflect on their learning. In addition, 4-H record books provide an important resource when filling out college or job applications, resumes and scholarship applications.
This Guide to Meaningful Record Keeping to a good place to start.
Record Book Evaluation
DEADLINE: Monday, September 18, 2023, by noon.
The deadline to submit your record books to the Nicollet County Extension office for judging is the 3rd Monday in September by noon each year.
Books will be reviewed by volunteers and returned to you with feedback. The first time a 4-H member completes records, they receive a record completion plaque to hold medallions for each project record they complete. Each year thereafter members receive additional medallions when they submit their records for review. The highest scoring record books in each age category are acknowledged each year at the annual fall achievement celebration.
Forms and Covers
There are several different record forms you can use. Because of individual differences, youth are encouraged to select from a variety of record keeping options to meet their needs and learning styles.
Typically, members fill out two types of 4-H records: participation summaries and project records (for as many projects as they wish). For each of these, there are two levels: Basic (suggested for grades 3-5) and Experienced (suggested for grades 6-8). Cloverbuds have separate forms.
Nicollet County forms
Nicollet County forms can be downloaded from this google folder. NOTE: if you wish to type your forms directly into the document, download the form (in Word formatting). DO NOT open in Google Docs. If you wish to write your form, print the PDF version.
- Cloverbud Record
- Participation Record
- Experienced Project Record (grades 6+)
- Basic Project Record (grades 3-5)
- Small Animal record
- Livestock Record
Minnesota 4-H forms
- Participation summary - basic (grades 3-5)
- Participation summary - experienced (grades 6+)
- Project record -basic (grades 3-5)
- Project record - experienced (grades 6+)
- Planning calendar
- Financial statement
- Covers are available (at no charge) by calling the Extension office 507-934-7828
Gifts support 4-H youth development in Nicollet County, and local programming coordinated by the Nicollet County 4-H Council.
Nicollet County's agriculture includes both crop and livestock production. The county is home to fruit and vegetable growers and small farms.
Agriculture events in Nicollet County
Attend an agriculture-related event near you.
Statewide agriculture events
Agriculture conferences, in-person events and online courses are offered all year around the state.
Agriculture news in Nicollet County
Find the latest on Extension agricultural research and news you can use on your farm from local experts.
Statewide news and blogs
- Agricultural Business Management News - Business and financial resources for farmers.
- Beef News - Beef industry featured events, farm safety and animal health.
- Dairy News - Dairy industry featured events, farm safety and animal health.
- Fruit and Vegetable News - Local production and marketing of fruit and vegetable crops in Minnesota.
- Minnesota Crop News - Emerging issues affecting Minnesota row crops and forages.
Samantha Schoenbauer, Extension educator, Agriculture Production Systems
firstname.lastname@example.org or 507-934-7828
Gardening events in Nicollet County
Find gardening learning opportunities online and near you.
Statewide gardening events
Find out about the Master Gardener Volunteer core course or attend other events offered throughout the year.
Gardening news in Nicollet County
Find the latest gardening tips and news you can use in your own back yard from local experts.
Yard and Garden News
Gardening tips and emerging issues affecting Minnesota.
Health and nutrition
Extension offers a variety of educational programs about nutrition and health that are open to families and individuals of all ages who are eligible for benefits through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or who meet Extension’s program income guidelines.
Programs are offered in community settings such as food shelves, schools, community centers and public housing sites. The programs are free to all individuals and families who meet income guidelines, and may be offered in multiple languages, depending on the audience needs and availability of educators.
Health and nutrition events in Nicollet County
Learn more about staying healthy and eating well.
Statewide health and nutrition events
Join Extension educators and community partners in events that encourage health, wellbeing and good nutrition.
Health and nutrition news in Nicollet County
Stay up to date with our health and nutrition news.
Find information that helps families make informed decisions leading to better health and wellbeing.
Use the Real Life, Good Food website to find recipes, cooking tips and physical activity ideas for a healthier life.
Extension engages Minnesotans to strengthen the social, civic, economic and technological capacity of their communities. We help create vibrant communities and enhance skills and knowledge in economics, leadership and civic engagement, and tourism.
Check our community research page for reports on county and community-focused topics relating to local economics, retaining businesses, growing retail markets, developing tourism, and more.
Local programs can be offered in collaboration with local community organizations and government agencies. Current programs include:
Contact an educator in your area for consultation, guidance and conversation about your community.
Minnesota is a great place to explore, understand and conserve the natural landscape. Extension education, volunteer and community science programs encourage people to become stewards of Minnesota’s public and private lands.
Volunteer. Natural resources volunteers track invasive species, detect forest pests and count native bees, among many other activities. You can also study to become a Minnesota Master Naturalist.
Extension's Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP) connect Greater Minnesota communities and University of Minnesota knowledge and resources to support local sustainability projects. Working in partnership, RSDP supports community-driven projects in four focus areas: agriculture and food systems, clean energy, natural resources and resilient communities. Projects are supported by boards made up of local community members and University faculty and staff. Learn more about RSDP’s recent work in your county and neighboring communities, and how to submit a project idea.
Statewide community development events
Join us at an event in your community.
Statewide natural resources events
Find opportunities to learn about the natural environment, how to care for your forest lands, and how you and your family can get out and explore nature around the state and in your own backyard.
Community development news
Find information on community-focused news.
My Minnesota Woods
Find out how to take care of your trees and enjoy Minnesota's beautiful woodlands.
Natural Resources News
From preserving our wetlands to combating invasive species, read about protecting and enjoying nature.
Learn more about community-driven sustainability projects happening across Minnesota.
Nicollet County Extension
U of M Extension, Nicollet County
501 S Minnesota Ave
St. Peter, MN 56082-2533
View all Nicollet County contacts.
Michelle Wicks, Extension educator, 4-H Youth Development
email@example.com or 507-934-7831
Mary Krentz, SNAP-Ed educator
firstname.lastname@example.org or 507-934-7828
Luann Schloesser, administrative and program assistant
email@example.com or 507-934-7828
Samantha Schoenbauer, Extension educator, Agriculture Production Systems
firstname.lastname@example.org or 507-934-7828
Nicollet County events
View all events hosted in and near Nicollet County.
Extension courses and events
Extension provides in-person and online educational events all over Minnesota. Find one to attend.
Nicollet County news
Read all news from Nicollet County.
Extension wide news
Read the latest news from all of Extension's programs.
Extension brings Minnesotans together to build a better future through University science-based knowledge, expertise and training. Learn more about Extension by visiting our about page and by browsing this website.