Policies and procedures

Section 5: County 4-H Program Governance

5.1 Establishing structure for County 4-H Programs

Purdue Extension is responsible for 4-H within the state of Indiana. Purdue Extension collaborates with the county 4-H affiliates (4-H Council and/or Fair Board) for developing 4-H programming and procedures for County 4-H programs, fairs, and events. These procedures must be consistent with Purdue Extension’s 4-H policies and procedures. 4-H Extension Educators are placed in the county by Purdue University to work and communicate with local affiliates and volunteers and ensure that state and national 4-H policies are followed. 

Local 4-H program and fair procedures must be in compliance with, and will not supersede, state and national 4-H policies and procedures; however, fairs may design local classes and events that enhance the educational mission of the 4-H program. For example, some counties may offer county specific exhibits that have different exhibition guidelines from state 4-H projects.

5.2 Structures of County 4-H Affiliates

Three primary structures of 4-H Affiliates are found in Indiana Counties. All entities within the county (4- H Council, 4-H or non-4-H Fair Board, and the Purdue Extension Office) should maintain open communication with each other to ensure that all roles and responsibilities related to the 4-H Program are fulfilled successfully. Because of the unique characteristics of these structures, a county should be reluctant to adopt practices from other counties without knowing how the structures have been implemented in these other counties.

  1. Two entities, with a separate 4-H Council and 4-H Fair Board
    In this structure, the 4-H Council focuses on working in conjunction with the County 4-H Extension Educator to provide guidance and support for the year-round County 4-H Youth Development Program, including 4-H delivery methods such as clubs, projects, in school, after school, and camps.

    A separate 4-H Fair Board is responsible for the year-round operation and maintenance of the fairgrounds property, which the Fair Board may own and/or manage. The Fair Board works in conjunction with the County 4-H Extension Educator and 4-H Council to establishing the dates and schedule for the annual 4-H Fair exhibition. The 4-H Fair Board also follows a process that allows other Purdue Extension and non-Extension groups to utilize the facilities and fairgrounds throughout the year.

  2. One entity fulfilling responsibilities of both a 4-H Council and a 4-H Fair Board
    This structure of a single board has an entity that is sometimes referred to as an Ag Association or a Fair Association. The single board is responsible for working in conjunction with the County 4-H Extension Educator to provide guidance and support for both the year-round County 4-H Youth Development Program and the planning and operation of the annual 4-H exhibition at the 4-H Fair. This entity may own and manage the property on which the fair is held. It is highly recommended that this affiliate type have a committee strictly focused on support of the 4-H youth educator and the year-round, educational programmatic needs of the community.

  3. A 4-H Council and a non 4-H Fair Board
    In this structure, the 4-H Council fulfills the duties outlined above, while working in conjunction with the County 4-H Extension Educator and with a Fair Board that is not affiliated with the 4-H program. The non 4-H Fair Board is separately organized and operates separately from Purdue University. Its responsibilities are similar to those defined for the 4-H Fair Board above.

    A facilities use agreement must be in place between the non-4-H Fair Board, the 4-H Council, and the County Purdue Extension Office to outline the procedures under which Purdue Extension, including the 4-H Program, may utilize the facilities on the fairgrounds.


See Section 8 for information regarding 4-H Affiliate Standards.