Youth Livestock Program

Youth Livestock banner image

The 4-H Youth Livestock Program is the largest animal science project area enabling youth to develop their interest in beef cattle, sheep, and swine in their 4-H projects. Youth learn about selection, care, and feeding of livestock, animal health, and importance of good record keeping. Emphasis for these projects continues to be focused on life skill development.

This program offers competitions such as livestock judging and stockmen's contests as well as livestock shows at the county, district, and state levels.

 

A stockmen’s contest is a comprehensive test of livestock knowledge including identification classes of meats, feeds, equipment and breeds; evaluation classes of meats, hay, sheep, swine, and beef; a knowledge-based quiz; and an applied team problem.

Stockmen's Contest Basics

Stockmen's Contest Resources

Previous Contest Materials

Previous Contest Results

Livestock judging contests consist of market and breeding animals, including beef, meat goats, sheep, and swine. Participants rank the animals in the classes, answer questions on chosen classes, and deliver sets of oral reasons from memory.

Livestock Judging Contest Resources

Previous Contest Materials

Previous Contest Results

Meats judging contests consist of retail meat identification and judging of retail meat cuts and carcasses. Retail meat identification consists of identifying the species, primal cut, retail cut and cookery method. Judging requires the participants to rank the meat in the classes, answer questions on chosen classes, and deliver sets of oral reasons from memory.

Meats Judging Contest Resources

Previous Contest Materials

Previous Contest Results

Youth Poultry Judging offers youth the ability to rank classes of production hens and market broilers, and give oral reasons from memory on one or two of the classes. They grade ready-to-cook broiler carcasses, turkey carcasses, candled eggs, broken-out eggs and exterior eggs. They are also asked to identify mixed broiler parts.

The youth cattle working contest develops youth skills in animal management and handling. Working as a team, youth efficiently process three stocker calves utilizing Beef Quality Assurance guidelines. Regional competitions are held in the spring throughout the state; the top teams from each region then compete at the State Youth Cattle Working Contest held in conjunction with the Junior Beef Roundup.

Read more about the Youth Cattle Working Contests.

The Livestock Quiz Bowl is a competition that tests the knowledge youth possess regarding beef, sheep, swine, and meat goat topics. Teams compete in a single elimination format and use a buzzer to signify that they would like to attempt to answer a question.  Oral answers are given to questions posed by a moderator. Each match has an individual, team and toss-up question round.

Quiz Bowl Resources

Previous Contest Results

State Fair of Virginia

A culminating event for youth livestock projects, this event allows youth to exhibit their cattle, sheep, meat goats, and swine and compete in showmanship.

More about the State Fair of Virginia

Junior Beef Roundup (Virginia Beef Expo)

The Junior Beef Roundup is held in conjunction with the Virginia Beef Expo. This event is typically held the third weekend in April and features a variety of contests and activities for youth in the Commonwealth. In addition to youth breed shows, commercial heifer, and prospect steer shows, the Junior Beef Roundup will host the State Stockmen's Contest, State Beef Ambassador Contest, and State Youth Cattle Working Contest. 

More about the Junior Beef Roundup »

Other State-wide Extension Sponsored Shows

Youth Judging/Stockmen’s Camps

Camps would be offered for youth interested in increasing their knowledge and ability in stockmen’s, meats, and livestock judging. The camps could be one or multiple day events and would offer small-group instruction for youth and coaches.

  • Livestock Judging Clinic
    • May 13, 2017
    • Virginia Tech Campus - Blacksburg, VA 
      • All events will occur at Alphin-Stuart Livestock Arena
    • For more information: Dr. Bain Wilson - (540) 231-5253
  • Livestock Judging Camp
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    Other Youth Educational Camps-Clinics

    Camps and clinics would be offered for youth interested in increasing their knowledge within certain areas.  These are extension sponsored events held throughout the state for various knowledge areas, such as showmanship, production, nutrition, etc.

Youth Meat Quality Assurance

The Youth Meat Quality Assurance Program is a program designed to teach youth the basics of animal husbandry and general management practices in raising a project animal. This program provides a foundation of animal management for youth of all ages. The mission of this youth meat quality assurance program is to maximize consumer confidence and acceptance of the food products produced via youth livestock projects. Quality assurance for livestock producers means making a promise to the consumers, or the people who consume the products that come from livestock. The promise made is that products from livestock will be the highest possible quality and producers will do everything possible to make these products safe to eat.

Youth Poultry Convention

The Youth Poultry Convention offers both competition and education for those attending. Youth rank classes of production hens and give oral reasons from memory on one of the classes. They grade ready-to-cook broiler carcasses, turkey carcasses, candled eggs, broken-out eggs and exterior eggs. They are also asked to identify mixed broiler parts. The competitions are followed by fun and educational events including a youth poultry carnival for juniors and job shadowing and production tours for seniors. In 2016, youth educational tracks were available to all participants featuring a Live Production Track, Post-Production Track, Consumer Advocacy Track, and a Food Challenge Track. more>>

Resource Home

  • Beef
  • Meat Goats
  • Poultry
  • Swine
  • Sheep
  • Carcass Information
  • Meats Judging
  • Livestock Judging
  • Stockmen's Contest
  • Quiz Bowl

4H-295a

Contact

Joi Saville
joi.saville@vt.edu
(540) 231-2257

Featured Publications

Virginia 4-H Livestock Programs Endowment

The Virginia 4-H Foundation is spearheading the advancement of the Virginia 4-H Youth Livestock Programs Endowment. 4-H livestock programming is funded through a combination of private gifts, endowment income, gifts in kind, and participant fees.

More information>>