Immediate past chairman, Alabama 4-H Club Foundation, Inc., Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, The Progressive Farmer
Inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame in 2009
4-H has motivated Jack Odle to work hard, be dedicated, and aspire to achieve. From a member of the Emerald 4-H Club in his native Kansas to spearheading the largest and most successful fundraising campaign in Alabama 4-H’s 100-year history, Odle believes in 4-H. He continues his commitment to youth and agricultural education as the publisher of The Progressive Farmer and by his philanthropic endeavors with the Alabama 4-H Club Foundation, the American Baseball Foundation, and organizations promoting farm safety.
Odle joined The Progressive Farmer in 1976. As editor in the early 1990s, Odle and his staff began a crusade to reduce accidental deaths and injuries of farm and ranch children. They launched the Progressive Farmer Farm Safety Day Camp-now the Progressive Agriculture Safety Day. “To know we have done something to help save the life of a child or prevent a child from being injured is a priceless gift,” he says. From 1995-2004, Odle was president of the Progressive Agriculture Foundation. Due to his passion and dedication, farm safety clays grew from 19 to an estimated 380 in 2008 in the United States and Canada. The program has reached more than 656,000 children and adults since 1995.
As immediate past chair of the Alabama 4-H Club Foundation, Inc., which recently completed its largest and most successful capital campaign, Odie’s passion is as steadfast today as ever. The Campaign for Alabama 4-H raised more than $6.4 million for the nation’s first true “green” building-the Environmental Science Education Center-and for funding programs statewide. This gold-certified LEED building is the first sustainable environmental education building in the eastern United States and the first 4-H building in the United States to receive this recognition. The foundation’s decision to build a sustainable building is a direct result of Odie’s passion to teach youth sound science and environmental education facts.
Odle is the seventh Alabamian to be honored by National 4-H by induction into its Hall of Fame