Souva named outstanding 4-H alumnna

St. Joseph County 4-H alumna Melissa A. Souva, of Bronson, was among 12 4-H alumni inducted into the 2022 class of the Michigan 4-H Emerald Clover Society at a ceremony on Sept. 30.

St. Joseph County 4-H alumna Melissa A. Souva, of Bronson, is among 12 4-H alumni inducted into the 2022 class of the Michigan 4-H Emerald Clover Society. Souva was recognized on Sept. 30, during the Michigan 4-H Legacy Awards Celebration hosted by Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan 4-H Foundation in East Lansing. 

The Michigan 4-H Emerald Clover Society honors former Michigan 4-H members whose professional leadership and community service reflect the ultimate outcome of 4-H membership – extraordinary use of an individual’s head, heart, hands and health to make communities, the country and the world better places in which to live. This recognition is provided by Michigan 4-H Youth Development with support from the Michigan 4-H Foundation. 

Souva has been active in Michigan’s agricultural industry her entire life. After earning an undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and a master’s degree from Oklahoma State University, Souva became an agriscience and science teacher and FFA advisor at Bronson High School. During her 13-year career with the school, Souva played a key role in helping expand the agriscience program, adding a land lab, a greenhouse, and an animal science facility. 

In 1995, Souva and her husband, Earl, started Great Lakes Sire Service, a company that collects, processes, stores, and distributes livestock and whitetail deer semen domestically and internationally. Souva has been recognized many times for her accomplishments. She was named the Michigan Farm Bureau Educator of the Year in 1998 and the Michigan Outstanding Agriscience Teacher of the Year in 2002, won the LeGrand Smith Outstanding Teacher Award in 2004, the Business of the Year Award from the Michigan Cattlemen’s Association in 2006, the Michigan FFA Service Award in 2007, and received the 25 Year Award from the National Association of Animal Breeders.  

“My ten-year involvement as a 4-H member has been the cornerstone of my professional and personal growth and success,” said Souva. “I learned very quickly how to get my hands dirty, work hard, be responsible, set goals, work as an individual and as a contributing team member, teach younger members, to respect my elders, to expect nothing less than 100 percent effort, and to give back to people and organizations that guided and shaped me.” 

A former St. Joseph County 4-H’er, Souva was a member of the state 4-H and FFA champion livestock judging and meat evaluation teams, was an international 4-H exchange student and won two 4-H state awards. She has been a 4-H volunteer in Branch County for 29 years. She is a Bronson Pioneers 4-H Club leader, volunteers for the Tractor Supply Paper Clover Days in Branch County and supports the 4-H “Make the Match” endowment campaigns in Branch and St. Joseph counties. Souva also coaches 4-H and FFA livestock and meat evaluation teams in the two counties, serves on the interview committee for the Beef 4-H State Award, and is a member of the state 4-H livestock and veterinary science program planning committee. 

The Michigan 4-H Legacy Awards Celebration was hosted and emceed by MSU Extension Associate Director Matt Shane, a Kent County 4-H alumnus and 2014 4-H Emerald Clover Society inductee. Also inducted into the 4-H Emerald Clover Society Class of 2022 were: Gail R. Frahm, Saginaw; Larry J. Gould, Morenci; Jon D. Hausserman, Fenwick; L. Janel Horrocks-Boehmer, Williamston; Alice A. Kempf, Holton; Karen Kolberg Kietzer, Stevensville; Dian M. Liepe, Pullman; Sarah J. Pion, Cassopolis; Rachael N. Ramirez, Birch Run; Schawna M. Thoma, Anchorage, Alaska; and Mary J. Yeomans, Midland.

Michigan 4-H Emerald Clover Society members are inducted every two years. The inaugural class of 62 members was inducted in 2002 to coincide with the national 4-H centennial. For more information on the 4 H Emerald Clover Society and its members, visit 

The Michigan 4-H Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization that supports Michigan 4-H Youth Development. For more information about the Michigan 4-H Foundation, visit Michigan 4-H Youth Development is the youth-serving program of MSU Extension. Nearly 100,000 youth are involved in 4-H with the support of 9,000 adult volunteers. For more information about Michigan 4-H, visit

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