Involved with 4-H since 1975, Nell Ohff has been a tireless 4-H leader and advocate. She began her work with 4-H as a club leader, and says she was drawn to the program because of what it offered her three children.
“I had my children involved with 4-H in their teen years,” said Ohff. “When many children are finding ways to get into trouble, I made sure mine were learning about livestock and agriculture and rodeo. They were with their dad and I every weekend. It’s hard to get into trouble that way.”
After five years as a 4-H club leader, Ohff went to work for the Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition where she became the exhibit director for the biggest fair in Florida.
“During my time as exhibit director I saw so much of what 4-H could do, what they needed to do. It is a marvelous program,” said Ohff.
While working for the fair, Ohff implemented the “Howdy” to Agriculture Program for 4-H children to learn about food, fiber and agriculture while at the fair. She also started the “Agriculture Ambassador Program” where outstanding 4-H and FFA members taught “Howdy” participants and represented agriculture throughout the year.
In addition to her work with the Miami-Dade County Fair and as a club leader, Ohff has also been a credible program advocate for critical state and national financial support for the 4-H program. When called on to help with legislative matters and needs for private financial support of 4-H, Ohff willingly responded and produced results.
“I think it would be fair to say that Nell used her many personal contacts on numerous occasions to further 4-H and the Florida 4-H program,” said John T. Woeste, Dean and Professor Emeritus, Florida Cooperative Extension. “Nell is a high energy and effective advocate for 4-H. She engages anyone she encounters in discourse about 4-H and her enthusiasm quickly activates their interest and often their involvement in the program.”
Ohff served on the Board of Directors for the Miami-Dade County 4-H Foundation for 22 years and with the Florida 4-H Foundation for four years, with two of those years as Vice President. She has won a number of 4-H awards including County Leader of the Year, Partner in 4-H and State Friend of 4-H.
“4-H takes care of the greatest commodity this country has – its children,” said Ohff. “It creates viable adults—good citizens, and that is what is so vitally important. Without our children we have no future and that is why this country needs 4-H.”