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.
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.
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.
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 2014 Virginia Cattle Industry 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.
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.
A culminating event for youth livestock projects, this event allows youth to exhibit their cattle, sheep, meat goats, and swine and compete in showmanship.
The Commonwealth Classic will be held in conjunction with the 2014 Virginia Cattle Industry Convention (formerly the Virginia Beef Expo). The Commonwealth Classic will consists of beef showmanship as well as shows for purebred cattle, commercial heifers, and market steers by youth. The Virginia Cattle Industry Convention also serves as the site for the State Youth Cattle Working Contest. In 2014, the Virginia Cattle Industry Convention will also host the first Youth Cattle Fitting Contest, Youth Cattle Sales Contest, and a Youth Meat Quality Assurance training.
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.
This event is intended to increase knowledge and self-efficacy in youth with the goal of developing advocates and leaders for livestock industries.
Camps would be offered for youth interested in increasing their knowledge and ability in stockmen’s, meats, and livestock judging. The camps would be one- to two-day events and would offer small-group instruction for youth and coaches
Date: March 20 - 21, 2015
Location: Blacksburg, VA
Date: April 18 - 19, 2015
Location: Rockingham County Fairgrounds
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.