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Ohio 4-H Youth Development

Ohio State University Extension


Faces of Ohio 4-H

Barbra and Howard Doster's 50th wedding anniversary.

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. 

Three Generations of state achievement award winners: Dan Doster, Indiana State Achievement Award winner, Howard Doster, Ohio State Achievement Award Winner, and Eric Glaze, Ohio State Achievement Award Winner (not pictured Nathaniel Glaze, Ohio State 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.  4-H beekeeping project bookBoth 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...Howard's daughter, Anne, planting strawberries.Howard preparing the field to plant 4-H strawberries