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4-H livestock projects provide great opportunities for learning related to animal science and animal production practices while youth gain valuable life skills. Youth can participate in 4-H livestock projects in three areas:
- 4-H Beef Projects
4-H beef projects allow youth to learn about breeds, selection, grooming, production, management, showmanship, marketing and careers through breeding or market animals. Learn basic principles of animal science and gain life skills, such as responsibility, by owning, caring for and keeping records on one or more head of livestock. Youth can start their own herd with breeding cattle or raise a market animal that produces a meat product for human consumption.
- 4-H Sheep Projects
Through a 4-H sheep project, youth will explore all aspects of sheep production through animal selection, management, showmanship and marketing. Additionally, youth will use critical-thinking, problem-solving and decision-making skills to help make good decisions about sheep management. Whether a market lamb or breeding stock project, youth will learn more about the sheep industry while gaining valuable life skills to help them succeed.
- 4-H Swine Projects
Youth will explore a variety of factors related to swine production through a 4-H swine project. Both market hogs and breeding stock enable youth the opportunity to learn about animal selection, management, health, showmanship, marketing and careers. While caring for their project, youth will learn principles of animal science and gain life skills, such as keeping records, through practicing good management techniques. Youth can also learn more about their project by completing Youth Pork Quality Assurance Plus certification.
In addition to Beef, Sheep and Swine 4-H projects, the 4-H animal evaluation area allows for additional animal science and life skills building.
- 4-H Animal Evaluation
The 4-H animal evaluation project area allows youth the opportunity to learn about animal selection, evaluation, breed character, production factors, marketing and careers in the livestock industry. Youth gain knowledge of animal differences and are able to evaluate and select animals based on a desiredset of characteristics. Additionally, they increase their public speaking ability by learning to prepare a logical, coherent set of notes that allow youth to present an effective set of oral reasons.
Consider participating in the statewide livestock judging or meats judging contests:
- 4-H Livestock Judging - The state level contest of the 4-H animal evaluation project level is the Michigan 4-H Livestock Judging Contest. The contest is in conjunction with the MichiganLivestock Expo in July.
- 4-H Meats Judging – The state level contest is the Michigan 4-H Meats Judging Contest/FFA Meats Evaluation & Technology Career Development Event (CDE). The contest is in conjunction with the Michigan Ag Expo in July.
Livestock management is a part of Michigan’s important agricultural industry, which is vital to the state’s economy and future prosperity. Participating in 4-H livestock projects could set you on the path to an excellent career in agriculture.
For more information on how to get involved as a youth or volunteer, contact your county MSU Extension office or:
Julie Thelen, 4-H Livestock and Veterinary Science Educator
Department of Animal Science
- 2014 Green and White Swine Show
- 2014 Michigan 4-H Livestock Judging Program Changes
- 2014 Michigan 4-H/FFA Meats Judging Contest Rules and Entry form
- 2014 State 4-H/FFA Livestock Judging Contest
- 4-H Animal Project Record for Beginning Members (4H1457)
- 4-H Animal Science Anywhere
- 4-H Livestock Record Book for Intermediate and Advanced Members (4H1177)
- Animal Judges Lists and Permission Forms
- Beef Cow Calving and Breeding Record (4H1340)
- Beef Cow Production Record (4H1339)
- Ewe Production Record (4H1344)
- Feed Record Card (4H1277)
- Fundamentals of Running Youth Livestock Shows
- Guide to Running a Local Livestock Judging Contest
- Identifying Meat Retail Cuts according to Species
- Livestock Organizations
- Michigan 4-H Animal Evaluation Project Snapshot (4H1628)
- Michigan 4-H Beef Project Snapshot (4H1629)
- Michigan 4-H Biological Sciences Project Snapshot (4H1622)
- Michigan 4-H Judging Cards (4-H1293–96)
- Michigan 4-H Sheep Project Snapshot (4H1619)
- Michigan 4-H Swine Project Snapshot (4H1618)
- Sheep Flock Record (4H1343)
- Sow Production Record (4H1341)
- Swine Litter Record (4H1342)
- Veterinary Science Organizations
- Your 4-H Market Beef Project (4H1188)
- Your 4-H Market Hog Project (4H1064)