photos of youth leaders of Illinois Farm Bureau

URBANA, Ill. –  Four Illinois 4-H members will put their leadership skills into action while building strong agricultural foundations for the future as they join the Youth Education in Agriculture Committee through the Illinois Farm Bureau

This committee helps not only provide quality programs for agricultural education in Illinois, but also helps prepare youth for careers in the agriculture industry.  The committee is made up of 4-H and FFA members as well as representatives from the members of the Illinois Farm Bureau Family of Companies. 

Molly Warner of Knox County, Ashleigh Janssen of Tazewell County, Shelby Basham of Kankakee County, and Paige Lemenager of McLean County will represent Illinois 4-H on the committee this year.

“I am excited about giving back to the organizations that pushed me to pursue what I am so deeply passionate about,” says Basham. “Without these organizations, I believe I would not be half the person I am today and I am excited to bring new ideas to the table.”

The committee plans and organizes programs throughout the year to benefit 4-H and FFA members across Illinois and emphasizes personal and professional development skills for youth members.

“I hope to gain valuable leadership skills and a stronger sense of awareness regarding the importance of up and coming agriculturists,” says Shelby.  “I am double majoring in agricultural communications and agricultural business and economics at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and in the future, I’m striving to impact the agricultural industry through a career in agricultural policy.”  

To learn more about leadership opportunities with Illinois 4-H, one may visit the 4-H website. To learn more about the Youth Education in Agriculture Committee, visit the Illinois Farm Bureau site.

About Illinois 4-H: Illinois 4-H is the flagship youth development program of University of Illinois Extension and administered through the College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences. 4-H grows true leaders, youth who are empowered for life today and prepared for a career tomorrow. The hands-on approach in 4-H gives young people guidance, tools, and encouragement, and then puts them in the driver’s seat to make great things happen. Independent research confirms the unparalleled impact of the 4-H experience, demonstrating that young people are four times more likely to contribute to their communities; two times more likely to make healthier choices; two times more likely to be civically active; and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs. 

About Extension:  Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities. 

Source: Dan Jennings, 4-H Youth Development Extension Specialist,; Katie Duitsman, 4-H Youth Development Extension Specialist,

Writer:  Carissa Nelson, Media Communications Manager, 4-H State Office,