Each month we highlight an Ohio 4-H alum. They have amazing stories to share, from their personal experience in 4-H to how they have given back to the program. This month we have five questions for Dr. Howard Doster.
Dr. Howard Doster is an Ohio 4-H alumnus and graduate of The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. He is a professor emeritus from Purdue University where he taught farm management. In addition, Dr. Doster was the second author on the Ohio 4-H beekeeping project and record book.
How did you get your start in 4-H?
My former one-room schoolteacher mom and tenant farmer dad got me into 4-H; first with a lamb in Warren County, then with a Jersey heifer in Clinton County. They also took me to 4-H Camp Clifton, where I once was selected as the Junior Camp “Spirit” and I was also a State 4-H Achievement Award winner.
What did you do at Ohio State?
I started at Ohio State in 1951. I wrote in my freshman survey class autobiography I expected to attend for one or two quarters. Thanks largely to my 4-H friends, I stayed longer – joining a fraternity, playing in the marching band, walking-on in baseball and basketball, leading the Baptist-Disciple Student Fellowship, the Ag Economics Club, and the All-Ag Council. When I graduated in 1955, I was one of two finalists for Outstanding Agricultural Senior. In 1957, I started an MS in farm management at Ohio State and received my PhD in 1968.
How did your 4-H involvement continue as an adult?
We moved to West Lafayette, Indiana where I took a position as assistant professor at Purdue, helping start the Purdue Top Farmer Crop Workshop. All four of our kids were 10-year 4-H members. My wife Barbara and I started a county 4-H Entrepreneurship Club and the lessons from this club were included in a book I co-authored, entitled “The Creative Young Entrepreneur.”
Haven’t you helped Ohio 4-H’ers, too?
After my two Ohio grandsons could not continue their bee project because the manual was discontinued, I became the second author of a new Ohio 4-H bee book. Both of those grandsons excelled in Ohio 4-H by winning six state fair clocks and both were Ohio State 4-H Achievement Award winners.
What’s next for you?
Last September, Barbara and I started “Corn-Belt Top Farmers, Inc,” a non-profit, as “a Farmer-Directed Effort to Revitalize Land Grants, and Ourselves.” Farmers are encouraged to gift money to Land Grant faculty/staff to do what they have a comparative advantage doing – soil site-specific crop research and management education. And we’re ready to provide a clock for state fair winners when someone starts a new Ohio 4-H farm management project! When A.B. Graham started what became the first Ohio 4-H club, he created a corn club for high school youth, and their parents learned along with them. I think parents will learn as they help their kids in a 4-H Farm Management Club. What fun!
A few photos of special 4-H memories...