Budget cuts impact Iowa 4-H - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Budget cuts impact Iowa 4-H

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CENTRAL CITY (KWWL) - Cost-cutting measures are one result of a down economy.

It's even being seen at a popular destination this summer for many families - the local county fair.

One popular program you see at those fairs is experiencing unprecedented challenges this year.

7:00 Saturday morning and Deb Zumbach and her daughters start early in preparation for their day at the Linn County fair

"We're a 4-H family definitely," said Zumbach.

Her oldest daughter Brandy is in her seventh year with the 4-H program.

She spends her morning helping run a pancake breakfast fundraiser.

"You learn responsibility, you learn leadership, I mean you're learning all these lifelong skills but at the same time you're having so much fun," said Brandy Zumbach.

"It's getting up early in the morning with your sister and helping with chores or going home to load pigs or load sheep getting ready for fair and the organization of it all," said Deb Zumbach.

4-H strives to give kids like Brandy a strong foundation for building life skills and understanding the value of community service

But recently, the future of the program has become a little more unstable

y Budget cuts to the Iowa State Extension system are reducing the number of county directors that oversee these groups

Instead, a regional director with responsibilities reaching far beyond the 4-H club will be in charge of Linn, Benton, and Jones Counties.

"That's part of the extension council's question: Where are we going and what do we have to do to change and to meet all of this," said Glenys Fox of the Linn Co. Extension Council.

To help with this daunting task, ISU recently appointed youth directors that strictly work with 4-H kids in each region of the state.

Still, the poor economy has forced less people to cover a larger area but Zumbach is confident there will be plenty of qualified people to help the new director keep the program on track

"If she feels she is shorthanded, we have raised good leaders in the 4-h program that she can rely on to help with youth programs and reach back," said Deb Zumbach.

Online Producer:  Bob Waters

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