by Bob Grawey
Depending on perspective, University of Minnesota Extension Educator Harlan Rosendahl retired just in time … or not.
Rosendahl retired from the Extension service July 1 after 31 years. Most of that was with the university-run 4-H program.
However, state budget cuts threaten the popular program, which has a strong presence in Sherburne and Wright counties, particularly at the county fair level.
As a regional director over five counties, including Sherburne, Rosendahl’s many responsibilities included leadership training for 4-H members and for volunteers.
More volunteers have been needed, as previous budget cuts have whittled down the number of Extension employees responsible for things like running the 4-H camp and running the various programs enjoyed by 4-H participants.
Rosendahl’s leadership may be sorely missed as the reliance on volunteers grows.
He says the program could be in trouble, depending on this year’s state budget cuts and how deeply they are felt by the 4-H program.
Even something as seemingly insignificant as data entry could cripple the program if those personnel have to be cut, according to Rosendahl.
Data entry could also impact future cash awards earned by 4-H winners.
Other things like volunteer screening could be affected, too, by tough budget cuts.
Though retired now, Rosendahl says he expects to be around as a volunteer for quite some time, so his expertise will not be lost to retirement.
That could be good news for 4-H if the Legislature makes budget cuts that affect the program.