5th Annual 4-H Brown Bag Lunch Serves Up Success

A record $4,000 was raised for the Franklin County 4-H Foundation’s scholarship fund last week during the 5th annual Brown Bag Burger Lunch. A record 796 pork burgers were grilled thanks to an outpouring of community support, including Franklin County Pork Producers, Latham Hi-Tech Seeds and Fareway. Special thanks also to Franklin County farmer and 4-H advocate April Hemmes for offering $1,500 in matching funds as a memorial to her father, who had served for years on the Extension council.

4H grilling

The weather on October 7 was absolutely picture perfect, so that helped encourage local business people to come to the Fareway parking lot over their lunch hours. Some people literally put down their end gates and enjoyed a picnic lunch on a beautiful fall day! Two local employers texted in orders for 50 burgers each. It was common for people to pick up orders of 12, 16 or 24 burgers to feed farmers in the field.

We thank each and every one of you, who come out and supported this life-changing youth organization! The inaugural Brown Burger Bag Lunch was held in October 2011, and I believe we sold about 250 burgers that year. The publicity for that event helped make county residents aware of our goal to endow a 4-H scholarship for youth here in Franklin County. Each year the lunch has grown.

Each year we grill more burgers, and each year we raise more money for local scholarships. Since this fund was established, we’ve been able to award six scholarships in Franklin County:

2012 – Jessica Buchanan

2013 – Ethan Meints and Karter Miller

2014 – Brooklyn Plagge, Joe DeVries and Jenna Borcherding

Below are links to Franklin County 4-Hers whom we’ve featured on our TheFieldPosition blog:

  • 6 Reason 4-H is Fit for a King
  • Franklin County Family Shares Favorite Bread Recipe
  • 4-H Brought this Couple Together and Binds Their Family
  • Van Wert Family Celebrates 4 Generation of 4-Hers
  • 4-H and Farming are Plagge Family Traditions

In honor of National 4-H Week and National Pork Month – both of which are celebrated in October, today I’m sharing a recipe from the Hometown Potluck Favorites recipe book produced in 2009 for the 60th anniversary of the Iowa 4-H Foundation.

Cheesy Sausage and Rice Bake


2 pounds mild and/or hot bulk pork sausage

½ cup chopped onion

6 cups crisp rice cereal

1½ cups cooked rice cereal

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

6 eggs

2, 10¾-oz cans Cream of Celery food

½ cup milk

1 T. butter


  1. Grease 3-quart rectangular baking dish; set dish aside.
  2. Cook sausage and onion in a 12-inch skillet until sausage is brown and onion is tender; drain off fat. Set sausage mixture aside.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine 5 cups of the cereal and the cooked rice. Spread rice mixture evenly in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Spoon sausage mixture over rice layer. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, beat eggs, soup and milk with a wire whisk until combined; carefully pour over layers in baking dish. Press down lightly with the back of a spoon. Toss the remaining 1 cup cereal with the melted butter; sprinkle over the top.
  5. Bake, uncovered in a 235 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

TO TOTE: Do not let casserole stand after baking. Cover rightly. Transport in an insulated carrier.