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Purdue Extension Martin County Blast December 26, 2022


We are celebrating calendar year 2022 and looking forward to a fantastic 2023! 

Enjoy some highlights of the Martin County Purdue Extension 2021-2022 program year in this feature!

The Purdue Extension Program year runs from September 1 to August 31, while the 4-H Program year runs October 1 to September 30.


County Youth Learn Life Skills through 4-H

Martin County youth in grades K-12 participated in programs provided by 4-H Youth Development staff and volunteers. Members in local 4-H clubs learned life skills related to leadership, health and safety, citizenship and agriculture. Youth had options of different clubs in which they could participate as well as hundreds of local, area, state and national projects and activities to be involved in.   In total there were 765 Youth Participants, 55 Certified Adult Volunteers, 666 Martin County 4-H Fair Projects, 80+ Indiana State Fair Projects and 214 Enrolled Club Youth.


Martin County 4-H Fair

The 4-H fair is a showcase celebration that provides the opportunity for the community to enjoy the talents of our local youth through projects demonstrations, and exhibitions, including but not limited to: art, skills, cooking, baking, livestock care and sportsmanship, and craftsmanship. 


The 2023 Martin County 4-H Fair will be held of July 7-11, 2023.


Junior Leaders

            A key feature in the success of leadership development in a 4-H program, Junior Leaders is a service club in 4-H dedicated to increasing citizenship, responsibility and leadership opportunities for youth in Martin County and the State of Indiana. Examples of community service projects Junior Leaders have completed in the past include hosting food drives, recycling bottle caps into benches, serving at Ag Day, and volunteering to clean the local fairgrounds.


4-H Scholarships

Tucker Walton received an Indiana 4-H Foundation Scholarship for his overall 4-H achievement. Cade Maschino was a finalist for the Indiana4-H Foundation Accomplishment Scholarship in Healthy Living. Congratulations to both!


Galactic Quest STEM Challenge

            Youth in grades 2-5 participated in the Galactic Quest STEM Challenge, a national program, at Shoals Elementary! Led by Purdue Extension Martin County through the youth development 4-H Program volunteers, students received hands-on STEM and cooperative peer experiences through exploration, creation and problem solving.


Summer 4-H Camp

Youth in grades 3-6 enjoyed 2 days of activities including: survival skills, swimming, field games, crafts, and more. Youth were empowered by trained camp counselors and encouraged to try new things and celebrate their successes. Campers learned to work together to make an impact on their community as well as independence.


4-H at Indiana State House

Martin County was well represented with six youth and three adults at the Civic Engagement Event through Indiana 4-H at the Indiana State House during 2022 Legislative Session.


Applied Research

What a time! The Purdue Extension Food Safety Training Hub and the Purdue Extension Martin County 4-H and Shoals High School joined forces to complete 1 of 4 independent applied research experiments in regards to food safety of leafy greens. Special thanks to Scott Monroe for his expertise of food safety and the research design process.



Fifty-one people attended the last Martin County PARP workshop. Programs and certifications continue to be offered to ensure producers are making safe and environmentally conscious decisions.


Martin County Youth Civic Engagement Council

            Led by Winning Communities, the Martin County Youth Civic Engagement Council was revived to assist in creating strategic goals and objectives for the direction of the Community from the youth perspective. Extension is a support and part of the Community Advisory Council. This group of young people participate in leadership training, meet to outline a vision, goals, and measurable objectives that ultimately may be added to a community plan and work on specific projects for the betterment of the Community.


Extension Board Annual Meeting

            The Martin County Extension Board hosted an Open House event with special guest speaker, Kenny Frye. Mr. Frye has been involved with Extension his entire life, and shared some insights and motivations on his experience with Cooperative Extension Services. He credits 4-H for much of his successes in life.


Statewide Program at The Martin County 4-H Fairgrounds

            A Meet and greet with Dr. Casey Mull was hosted by Martin County and held on the Martin County 4-H Fairgrounds. Nearly 100 attended including leadership from NSA Crane, state and local elected officials, other leaders, and Alyssa McKillip, Miss Indiana State Fair 2022.


 Broadband Availability Verification: Call to Action


Your help is needed to improve internet access across Indiana! A Federal Government program will invest 42.45 billion dollars to improve broadband internet access according to the National Broadband Map. The accuracy of the map will determine how much funding Indiana receives to improve broadband internet access. Before January 13, please help make sure the map is as accurate as possible. Steps to follow can be found at:


Do you have a friend, family member, or neighbor who struggles with internet access? Pease consider assisting them in reporting their lack of access, or encourage them to connect with the Martin County Purdue Extension office at 812-295-2412.


Martin County Extension Board: Accepting New Member Nominations & Annual Meeting

The Martin County Extension Board is the advisory and advocacy body of the overall Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service in Martin County. The Board provides an organized way for the county to be represented by local people in its relationship with Extension.  It is an unincorporated association serving in advisory capacities by assisting with local program planning, implementation and evaluation; financial support and resource identification; advocacy for Extension; and personnel recommendation and assistance.


New member nominations are being sought for consideration at the Annual Meeting. The Annual Meeting will be Thursday, January 26 at 6:00 pm, Martin County 4-H Fairgrounds, Community Learning Center, 2666 US Hwy 50, Loogootee, IN.  In conjunction with the Annual Meeting, a special highlight of an Extension Program and 4-H Club Charters from the United States Department of Agriculture through Purdue University will be presented to 4-H Club Leaders. All those interested in more information may contact the Martin County Extension Office.  RSVP’s by January 23rd is appreciated but not required. All are invited. 



February 7, 2023 trip to the Indiana Statehouse

All youth are invited to sign up to learn about their state government through a day full of civic engagement & leadership opportunities. Participants will tour the state house, meet representatives, and have the opportunity to serve as student pages! For more information, contact Dena Held and register for this event via 4HOnline, 

Registration ends January 15.

Price is $15 to attend, with the Martin County 4-H Council paying on your behalf by simply letting Dena know you have registered!

More information can be found at


WHAT:  4-H Camp Counselor Applications for Southern Indiana 4-H Camp




Would you like to interact with other 4-H teens from the area, have three fun-filled days camping and be a positive role model to younger 4-H members?  Now is your opportunity.  Being a Camp Counselor is a fun, rewarding event. Camp is June 2, 3 & 4 2023 at Country Retreat Center, Underwood, Indiana.  Check out the Website listed above for a copy of the application, information of upcoming interviews and details on how to apply.  Application deadline is Wednesday, February 1, 2023 via 4-H Online. Interviews will be done via Zoom starting Tuesday, February 28, 2023 and will continue on Wednesday and Thursday March 1 and 2, 2023.  A Link to sign-up times will be sent once your application submission is complete.  Be sure to visit the bit link for any information you might need to take part in this exciting event.  

Adult Volunteer Enrollment and Certification

All adult volunteers must re-enroll to obtain certification for 2022-2023 programming season. Enrollment opened October 1, 2021. Please log onto and complete your profile. If you have any questions, please call 812-295-2412 or email


VOLUNTEER opportunities

Have you ever thought about a talent you have or a talent you want to develop alongside youth in the 4-H Program?  Purdue Extension & Martin County 4-H is seeking adults to work to MAKE THE BEST BETTER through 4-H programs. Contact Dena to explore how to work together in this way.  No matter how much time you have, volunteering with 4-H makes a difference by helping youth explore and discover the skills they need to lead for a lifetime. There are lots of ways to get involved! Currently, 4-H Club Leaders are needed for Shooting Sports and STEM/Robotics. Various content specialist and general volunteers are also needed.


Parents, family and adult friends of 4-H members are often a natural fit to help with programming and is one way to spending quality time with the youth in your lives!


Holiday Inflation Cheer

by Dr. Larry DeBoer

Posted Dec 14, 2022


The holidays are here. Time for good cheer and happy thoughts, even if candy canes and sugar plums cost 7.8 percent more this year than last.

That’s the 12-month inflation rate as of October 2022. The Consumer Price Index for all items shows prices 7.8 percent higher than in October 2021. This year has seen the highest inflation since the early 1980s.

It happened fast. It’s hard to remember now, but the pandemic reduced the inflation rate from 2.3 percent in February 2020 to near zero in May of that year. It was still low in February 2021, at 1.7 percent. Then it shot up to 5.3 percent in June 2021, then to 7 percent in December.


How did that happen? The economy was recovering rapidly from the COVID recession. Federal COVID relief payments were adding to spending. Consumer spending shifted from services to goods, and manufacturers couldn’t keep up. Labor force participation was down, so employees were scarce. Supply chains were still recovering from the shutdown of trade. Low interest rates encouraged borrowing and spending. The war in Ukraine raised oil and food prices.

People are unhappy. The index of consumer sentiment is lower now than during the worst of the pandemic. So, in the cheerful spirit of the holidays, let’s list some reasons why inflation will come down next year.

First, October was the fourth straight month that the inflation rate dropped. It peaked at 9 percent in June. Inflation is still too high, but it’s slowly trending in the right direction.

Second, durable goods price inflation has dropped a lot. Those are manufactured products, such as cars and appliances. Durable goods inflation peaked at 18.7 percent in February. It was 4.8 percent in October. The shift of spending from services to goods has continued, but manufacturers have done some catching up.

Third, fiscal policy has turned anti-inflationary. Fiscal policy refers to the federal budget.  Federal budget deficits add to spending, which increases the demand for goods and services, and can raise prices if supplies don’t keep up. The federal deficit was 18 percent of GDP in the first quarter of 2021. In the third quarter this year it was 3 percent. That’s because there was no big COVID relief bill passed this year. It’s $3 trillion that won’t be added to demand.

Fourth, monetary policy has turned anti-inflationary. The Federal Reserve has increased their policy interest rate, from near zero percent in February to nearly 4 percent now. Higher interest rates aren’t especially cheerful, but they will decrease borrowing, which will decrease spending, which will reduce pressure on prices. The rise in mortgage rates will reduce housing demand. There are signs that home prices are starting to fall.

Fifth, the value of the dollar has increased. In May 2021 it took 0.82 European euros to buy a dollar on exchange markets. Now it takes 1.04 euros. Put another way, anything priced in euros is now 21 percent cheaper in dollars than it was a year and a half ago. That should hold down the prices of imported goods.

Smaller deficits, higher interest rates and higher exchange rates could result in recession.  Businesses would cut back on hiring, and that would increase unemployment. Again, though, have a happy holiday thought. There are still 5 million more job openings than job searchers, so businesses could cut back their hiring plans and unemployment might not rise very much. Households still have a lot of extra savings left from the COVID relief payments, which might keep spending from falling too much. We might just get a “soft landing,” which is lower inflation without recession.

Oil and gasoline prices are unpredictable, to say the least. So much depends on politics and war.  But again, the trend is in the right direction. Average gasoline prices peaked at over $5 per gallon in mid-June this year. The price is around $3.75 now.

Unfortunately, lower inflation does not necessarily mean lower prices. The prices of gasoline and housing may fall, but for most goods and services lower inflation means that prices keep rising, just more slowly.

Hey, that’s not cheery holiday spirit! Inflation surely will fall next year. Let’s postpone our gloomy economic thoughts to the gloomy month of January.


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