By Mark McCoy, Ellsworth County I-R
Michelle Beran, of rural Claflin is the new 4-H and Youth Development Agent for the K-State Research and Extension Midway District serving Ellsworth and Russell counties.
Beran replaces Nicolette Unruh, who left in May to be the Guest Services Director of the Rock Springs 4-H camp, south of Junction City.
“It’s nice to be able to work in your dream job after so many years,” said Beran.
Beran and her husband, Craig, farm in Ellsworth, Barton and Russell counties.
“I grew up in 4-H,” Beran said. “I lived my first two years at K-State at Clovia, which is the 4-H house just off-campus. So I have awesome ties with the girls I was at Clovia with.”
After leaving K-State, Beran met her husband and moved to the Odin-Claflin area and worked for UNB bank for 20 years. She worked for Benefit Management Inc., a company that specializes in assisting employers to self-fund or partially self-fund employee benefits.
“But I’ve always been involved with youth activities — whether it was volunteering for kids’ Ag day or the county’s Farm Bureau’s farm safety day. Currently I’m on the National Hereford Women’s board of directors and chairman for the National Hereford Queen program,” she said.
Beran spotted the open 4-H Development position days after it was posted and applied.
“I always wanted to work in something that was related to my education in the Ag relations field,” Beran said. “But I had to help support my family and such a job was just not available. I have always liked working with young people and wanted the opportunity give back and be involved with both the youth and the volunteers that help those youth develop the life-skills they are going to need.”
With both upcoming Ellsworth and Russell 4-H Fairs slated for the week of July 24-28, Beran has to learn the ropes of her new job with quickness.
“It will definitely be a scramble this year, but we have awesome groups of volunteers at both sites,” she said.
Beran said the leadership skills taught in 4-H makes the program relevant in today’s world.
“We are always looking for young leaders that can come out and be productive employers, employees and members of their community. Four-H provides the framework for not only life skills, but things like public speaking and things that will help them in the long run,” Beran said. “I’m excited about working with the Ellsworth and Russell county communities.”