Rhedona Rose is all in for 4-H and has been blazing a trail for 4-H’ers for years.

Growing up in Cookeville, Tennessee, Rose was an active participant in her community and her local 4-H program.

From a young age, Rose was fascinated by sheep, and her maternal grandmother was committed to helping her get involved in the Sheep Project. Herbert Patton of Fentress County sold Rose her first Suffolk ewe lamb, allowing her to become the first person in Putnam County to show sheep for 4-H.

With the help of Scott Chadwell, Rose worked tirelessly with her sheep and prepared for her first judging competition. That first lamb placed last in her class at the District Junior Livestock Show, and a few weeks later, she placed first in her class at the Junior Livestock Show in Nashville, an experience that translated into one of the biggest lessons 4-H can teach students.

“The biggest lesson learned from 4-H was the value of hard work and the dedication and commitment of adults to help you grow and develop into the best person possible,” says Rose.

Since those days, Rose went on to attend college and joined the Farm Bureau in 1986, where she now serves as the chief administrative officer. Through her position, Rose takes a hands-on approach with farmers and ag workers across the state.

“The agriculture community is filled with fantastic, hardworking people who have a strong desire to have a positive impact on others and leave the world a better place than they found it,” Rose explains.

Today, Rose still works closely with 4-H and says it’s one of her favorite parts of her job. Each year, she participates in the 4-H Funnel Cake 5K at the state fair and works to provide scholarships to students so they can attend camp.

Rose will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Alumni & Friends Annual Meeting.

Q&A with Rhedona Rose

Where did you grow up and what 4-H Club were you part of?

Most of my formal education years were spent in Putnam County. Scott Chadwell and Donna Clouse were my 4-H leaders the majority of my years.

What 4-H activities were you involved in?

The Sheep Project was the most impactful experience for me and, later, also my younger brother. My family raised sheep earlier in my life but had long since moved toward beef and dairy. I was fascinated by sheep.

My maternal grandmother Williams, who lived in Fentress County, was committed to helping me get involved in the sheep project. At the time, the Herbert Patton Family in Fentress County was widely known for their quality Suffolk sheep. My grandmother talked to Mr. Patton and he sold me my first Suffolk ewe lamb. At the time, no one else in Putnam County had 4-H sheep.

Scott Chadwell and I learned about raising and preparing sheep for showing together. I will forever be grateful to Scott for his patience and commitment to helping me. That first lamb placed last in her class at the district junior livestock show, but weeks later when we competed in the junior livestock show in Nashville, she placed first in her class.

What was the biggest lesson you learned from your time in 4-H?

The value of hard work and the dedication and commitment of adults to help you grow and develop into the best person possible.

What is the thing you are most proud of in your career?

The wonderful people who I have had the opportunity to work with and get to know. The agriculture community is filled with fantastic, hardworking people who have a strong desire to have a positive impact on others and leave the world a better place than they found it.

If you could give one piece of advice to a 4-H student, what would it be?

Work hard, believe in yourself, learn how to find opportunities in your disappointments, be grateful and look for a good mentor in life.

How has 4-H impacted your life even after you graduated the program?

Experiences, people and lessons from 4-H are part of my life daily. Each of these helps us to develop into the people we become.

How are you still involved with the program?

Thankfully, in my career, I have many opportunities to attend 4-H events. The youth inspire and motivate me. I love participating in the 4-H Funnel Cake 5K each year at the state fair. I also believe in 4-H opportunities and therefore have provided some young Maury County 4-H students the chance to spend a week at camp through scholarships.