Eikmeier new Haakon/Jackson Extension Agent

Being a 4-H member for 13 years will help Jessica Eikmeier be a positive, energetic Extension Agent for Haakon/Jackson counties' six 4-H clubs.

Eikmeier's first responsibility was transporting and setting up 4-H items at the South Dakota State Fair. "I was amazed at what the 4-Hers had; they are talented kids," Eikmeier stated.

Now she is getting settled into her office at the Jackson County Courthouse where she will be spending most of her time. She will also go to Philip when needed. She may be contacted at 837-2133.

4-H and youth development will be her primary focus, and Eikmeier is excited about getting to know the clubs and making sure the clubs and leaders are on the same page with the county and state. This young, single leader plans to bring new ideas to the clubs that they want to learn about through workshops and programs.

"I love to learn about new things and want to accommodate all the 4-H needs," she added.

Right now she is still in the learning stage. Eikmeier is planning a meet and greet to get to know 4-H'ers and their families. She also wants to learn what they have done in the past. Eikmeier said she can look through all the files, but it's not the same as visiting with the members. There will be a meet and greet at the Jackson County Courthouse from 4:00 to 6:30 p.m. on Monday, September 22. A meet and greet will also be held in Philip on Tuesday, September 23, from 4:00 to 6:30 p.m. at the courthouse.

Eikmeier was raised on a beef and sheep farm and said she comes from a long line of 4-Hers, as her great-grandparents started 4-H in Minnesota. She was a 4-H member in Pipestone, MN, however, Flandreau, SD, is where she calls home. As for what she was involved in while in 4-H, Eikmeier said, "It's easier to say what I wasn't in."

She was on a judging team and went to nationals. She also took part in the basics, like visual arts and photography, to name a couple. "As a 4-Her I made an amazing lemon pie, which was tough to do in high humidity," she stated. Eikmeier took home the championship ribbon. When asked her secret, Eikmeier said freeze a metal bowl and the beater for mixing the meringue. It helps to make it late at night.

Eikmeier graduated from South Dakota State University in 2006 with an education degree. She took graduate classes and was a teaching assistant in the English department at SDSU. Last summer, she was involved with a leadership company in Virginia. She traveled the United States, spending one week at a time in different places teaching leadership to different ages of high school students.

"I knew exactly what a 50 pound suitcase felt like," she laughed. Tired of flying and school, she took a break and decided to go into Extension. "This job opened and I had my interviews from Philadelphia," said Eikmeier. When she got to Kadoka she had a new job.

4-H can really be a mom, dad and child thing and Eikmeier added that it's nice to have the family projects. "I would love to see the number of 4-Hers grow," she said.