Section 11: 4-H Council, Foundation & Partnerships

11.1 4-H Councils:  Policy

Local 4-H councils are private partners in the 4-H Youth Development Program of the Extension system, specifically the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. As stated in other parts of this handbook, 4-H is authorized by the USDA through the State 4-H Office at Land Grant Universities and then to the local Extension Offices throughout the state.

4-H Councils provide support to Extension staff, assist in determining the direction of the 4-H program, provide support and assistance to 4-H volunteers, advocate for 4-H, and support 4-H members in the program.

Council members are volunteers who are selected in a variety of ways; as determined by the local 4-H Council constitution and by-laws. Check with the local Extension offices and 4-H Councils for their procedures. 4-H Council members need to be enrolled as official 4-H volunteer leaders completing the Leader Enrollment Form and Volunteer Screening Form as a part of the youth risk management procedures.

Council membership must represent a broad section of the community and reflect the racial composition of the community. The volunteers who serve on 4-H Councils are assigned the task of determining the needs of 4-H youth in the county and determining how to meet those needs in collaboration with University personnel.

Strong councils provide local input to the 4-H Youth Development program. Many 4-H councils provide additional funds to support 4-H programs through scholarships to 4-H’ers for events and college, for leader forums, for awards offered at county events and other expenditure to strengthen the 4-H experience. Providing direction to 4-H programs strengthens the entire state 4-H system. Having a strong relationship is critical to a strong 4-H Youth Development Program.

The input from the council is important but must follow the policies, procedures and guidelines of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension, the State 4-H Office and the USDA. Decisions of the councils cannot be adverse to the mission of the 4-H program. Ultimately, if the council and the local 4-H Office are at odds, the final decision would rest with the Extension Educator - 4-H Youth Development (or Unit Leader in the event there is no Youth Development Educator), the State 4-H Administrator, or the State Extension Dean and Director. This partnership is very important so all efforts need to be made to make it a productive effort.

11.2 4-H Foundations:  Policy

The Foundation must follow all the laws that apply to non-profit or not-for-profit corporations, depending upon how they were incorporated. They also need to follow the policies, procedures, and guidelines of 4-H. Since the name 4-H is in the title of these corporations, these corporations are ultimately accountable to the 4-H program. (See Section 4.7.2, 4-H Name and Emblem Regulations.)

11.3 Partnerships: Schools and Community Centers:  Policy

As part of the 4-H program, many counties offer 4-H programs at schools and/ or community centers. These two additional outreach audiences enhance the program and are an important part of the 4-H educational program. 4-H programs at schools and/or community centers are subject to the same overreaching policies as all other 4-H entities. If they function as a regular club, they should follow the rules that govern 4-H clubs. If they function as special interest or school enrichment entity, they should follow the rules governing 4-H school enrichment programs. In all cases, the money that is handled must be accounted for following the financial management guidelines found in Section 12 of this document. Other policies must also be in compliance with overall 4-H policy.

11.4 Livestock/Premium Sales

UNL and Nebraska 4-H cannot support the financial aspects of a livestock auction/sale, however premium only auctions are allowed.  County 4-H programs need to work on moving these committee and financial accounts to a non 4-H entity if there is an actual sale of an animal beyond premium support only.  If no entity exists to assume responsibility for the auction, then creating a new nonprofit, not in the name of 4-H to run the auction would be an option.  The only exception to this is true premium auctions in which businesses donate money to 4-H and the money is divided or awarded to the youth as an extra premium for their livestock placings.  

Here are some points of note:

  • The real reason the University is moving away from supporting livestock sales is because it doesn’t fit within their educational mission.  It's seen as commerce which isn't within our scope of work. 
  • If a sale barn takes over running the sale, the sale barn could treat this like any other livestock sale. They wouldn't have the liability until point of sale at which time it transfers to the buyer.
  • The sale barn could charge the commission, just like they would at a regular auction.  If they chose not to do that, they could get donation credit for the value of their services (usually a percent of sales).
  • The Livestock committee could still take on helping collect the dollars, clerking the sale, etc.


Policy  Policy: not negotiable    Guidelines  Guidelines: strongly recommended    Procedure  Procedure: recommended implementation steps