MU Extension 4-H entrepreneurs set up shop at State Fair


Justin Luster sold greeting cards at the Missouri State Fair for the Show-Me 4-H Wares program.

Justin Luster, of Bunceton, was among more than a dozen University of Missouri Extension 4-H youths to sell original handmade items to Missouri State Fair attendees, Aug. 8-18.

Luster, 17, is a member of the Zion 4-H club in Cooper County.

Through the 12th annual Show-Me 4-H Wares program, Justin and other youths are encouraged to start and run their own businesses with skills learned through 4-H projects. Luster was selected for the greeting cards he sells as part of his business, called The Art Connection.

Luster and other exhibitors caught the attention of fairgoers visiting the Mizzou Central building. Youths said that selling their own work to the public boosted their confidence, enhanced their conversational and social skills, and prompted them to think about their next steps as young entrepreneurs.

The 4-H youths sold a wide range of handcrafted items, including photo prints, paintings, zipper pouches, key fobs, paper quill earrings and necklaces, jams, soaps, fishing lures, paracord bracelets and pet toys. This year’s exhibitors earned more than $1,200 in project sales and learned how to calculate and remit Missouri sales tax.

State 4-H council youths were at the booth selling T-shirts for “4-H’ers Helping 4-H’ers,” a youth-led campaign to raise $20,000 so more Missouri youth can attend state 4-H leadership conferences.

The 4-H sales booth was part of an exhibit of MU Extension programs that included cooking demonstrations and emergency preparedness resources for families. A 2017 study found that MU Extension provides a more than tenfold return on investment, generating $950 million for Missouri communities each year.

4-H is the youth development program of the University of Missouri and part of the nation’s Cooperative Extension System. For more information, visit