A new leader for 4-H

Published 10:10 am Friday, July 19, 2013

Kristin Spinler is the new head of the Austin 4-H chapter and will be jumping in head first with the Mower County Fair just under three weeks away.

Kristin Spinler is the new head of the Austin 4-H chapter and will be jumping in head first with the Mower County Fair just under three weeks away.

After three internships with 4-H and a major in agriculture education at South Dakota State University, Kristin Spinler’s hard work is finally paying off.

Mower County 4-H appointed Spinler as its new program coordinator, and she started July 1.

Spinler grew up in Medford, where she and her siblings helped raise livestock on her family farm. Spinler’s father took care of most of the agriculture, leaving the chores of poultry and livestock to her and her siblings.

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In high school, Spinler became highly involved with raising and exhibiting goats for structural efficiency and excessive muscle mass, an activity she continues today. According to Spinler, raising livestock on her family farm has influenced her throughout her life.

“It showed me what an impact agriculture has on us,” she said.

Spinler attended Medford High School and was highly involved with the extracurricular activities it had to offer. She joined volleyball, basketball, track and field, band, choir, FFA and Student Council, while continuing her devout membership to the Steele County 4-H program.

“I loved working with peers and younger youth,” she said. “It gave me great leadership opportunities.”

Spinler’s passion for agriculture did not end with high school, however. She continued to involve herself with agricultural activities throughout college as well. She attended South Dakota State University, College of Agricultural and Biological Sciences. She became secretary of “Little International,” the largest student-run agriculture program on campus, and a member of “Sigma Alpha,” a sorority for women in agriculture. Spinler was also a member of the honorary society Alpha Zeta, a society for students in the agricultural and natural resource fields.

Spinler wasted no time during her summers; she did internships with the 4-H branches in Waseca, Blue Earth and Mower County. She graduated in December 2012 with a major in agricultural education and a minor in animal science.

After college, Spinler applied to become the new program coordinator of Mower County’s 4-H. According to Spinler, someone brought it to her attention that the 4-H program coordinator of Mower County had just moved to another county, and the job sounded perfect for her.

“I new the county, so I was interested in the job,” she said.

She went through the application process and landed an interview with the 4-H board and regional staff. The interview went well, and Spinler received the position.

The time to hire a new program coordinator was less than ideal, with the fair just one month away, but Spinler said she’s doing just fine with the pressure.

“I kind of just jumped in and started getting ready for the county fair,” she said.

Now, Spinler is getting used to the new job, and she’s excited for future endeavors.

“I hope to expand the 4-H after school programs … and create more connections with business owners and organizations,” she said. “I want to build a strong connection with 4-H’ers and their families.”