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Former 4-Her Pete Olsen establishes himself as community and industry leader

Posted 9/15/2016

Pete Olsen

“I have many wonderful memories. Dick Cameron taught Entomology. We made our own nets, and Dick made display boxes for us. I was always looking for new insects to collect. Jeff Knight, who is now the Nevada State Entomologist, was in my group as a member. It was great fun and I have knowledge from that time I retain today,” Pete Olsen, pictured here, recalls.

As a 4-Her, helped change the 4-H Pledge at the National 4-H Conference

Former 4-Her and now lifetime 4-H supporter Pete Olsen has an impressive list of leadership posts and accomplishments. Besides operating a 2,200-cow dairy and 1,700-acre farm in Fallon, Nev., with his brothers, Olsen is a Churchill County Commissioner, Chair of the Churchill Economic Development Authority and a member of the Dairy Farmers of America Board of Directors.

“I led local dairymen in a lawsuit against the state of California over milk pricing. I led the fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and we won,” he said. “The foundation for all of my leadership accomplishment is rooted in my experiences as a 4-Her.”

Crediting his mother who was a 4-H leader for more than 30 years, Olsen got involved in 4-H activities when he was 9 years old living in Sparks, Nev., and continued his involvement in 4-H through his high school years, which he spent in Fallon, Nev.

“Gardening, gun safety, photography, entomology, leather working, dairy and gas engines are some of the projects I remember. As I got older, I was in six or seven clubs at once,” he recalled. “I am still a gun enthusiast. I enjoy photography. I still love working on hot rods. Insect knowledge is used in the farming I do. Dairy has been my profession my entire adult life.”

Olsen held offices in the clubs he was involved in, and ultimately, he was elected the state 4-H President. In 1973, he was selected to be one of four Nevada 4-H Teen Ambassadors to travel to Washington D.C. to the National 4-H Center for the National 4-H Conference. It was there that Olsen had the opportunity to have some influence on altering the 4-H Pledge.

“It was a great time, meeting so many others from all over the country,” he said. “I was a finalist for some special recognition. We worked in groups to discuss the 4-H Pledge. I was directly involved in adding ‘in my world’ to the Pledge through this process.”

After graduating from Churchill County High School in 1975, Olsen attended the University of Nevada, Reno, before returning to the farm in Fallon, where he continues his leadership role in the community and the dairy industry. Olsen is proud of his Nevada roots.

“My family stretches back to 1860 in Nevada, starting in Genoa,” he said. “My great grandfather started our dairy in Sparks in 1915. My family has continuously produced milk for Northern Nevadans for over 100 years.”

Olsen now has quite a family of his own. He and his wife Tami have 10 children and 12 grandchildren. They continue to support 4-H financially and by hosting groups who want to tour and learn about the dairy.

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