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Beef engages youth in activities to identify breeds, locate parts,  raise a healthy animal, fit and show steers, and select and judge beef.

The beef project is an excellent way to learn about raising, caring for and managing beef. Begin with a calf or build your own heard as you learn about the beef industry. Youth age 8 and above may exhibit in live shows, or youth may exhibit a display in the animal science area. Select "Beef" in 4-H Online, then choose any of the manuals listed below if you wish to learn more.

Be sure to check out the 2018 Ownership Deadlines and Animal Age Restrictions HERE.

Project Manuals

Bite into Beef: Suggested for Beginner Level

  • learn about breeds of beef cattle
  • identify symptoms of sick cattle
  • halter break a calf
  • fit a steer

Here's the Beef: Suggested for Intermediate Level

  • learn about cattle feeds and how they are digested
  • judge beef cattle and present oral reasons
  • identify livestock safety hazards

Leading the Charge: Suggested for Advanced Level

  • calculate yield grade for a beef animal
  • evaluate beef carcasses
  • learn how to read and use sire summaries
  •  interview people in agriculture careers

Beef Helper's GuideHelper's Guide for Beef 1–3

This guide is designed for those leader's assisting with the Beef projects 1-3. The guide includes suggested activities, resources and other items to assist you in helping your 4-Her with their projects.

Online ethics certification required for everyone taking 4-H animal projects

All 4-H members enrolled in an animal project area are required to complete the online Quality Assurance and Ethics course one time in order to stay enrolled in an animal project area. The certification must be done if you are enrolled in one of the following projects: beef, dairy, cats, dogs, goats, horses, poultry, rabbits, sheep, and swine. Members who don’t complete the certification before the show will be removed from the project and not be allowed to show. Anyone who has already taken the certification does not need to retake the test. The local office has a list of those already certified. CLICK HERE to take the trainingThis rule applies to 4-H members who exhibit live animals AND poster exhibits.

State Fair Exhibit Rules

Youth enrolled in Beef are eligible to exhibit in the Animal Science Exhibit Class. Each county may submit 2 entries total from 50135, 50136; and 1 entry from 50137.

50135    Animal Science

Prepare a display focusing on any activity related to the animal science project. Demonstrate the skills and knowledge you have gained through the animal project you studied.  The exhibit may include, but isn’t limited to, original works, objects, demonstrations, digital presentations, programs, websites, games, apps, performances, or posters which you have made. Choose whatever method best shows what you’ve learned. You must furnish any equipment you need for your exhibit. Internet service will not be provided for the exhibit. All exhibits must include something visual, such as a printed copy of a digital presentation, which will remain on display during the exhibition. Electronic equipment will only be used during your personal judging time and will not remain on display during the entire exhibit period. Live animals are not permitted as exhibits in this area. For safety reasons, exhibits cannot include glass, syringes with needles or any other sharp objects.

50136    Animal Science Clover Challenge

Open to 15- to 18-year-olds enrolled in the Animal Science Clover Challenge project who have completed all levels of an animal project.

Exhibits in this category should go “above and beyond” what the 4-H project books cover and should represent an accumulation of years of project study. The exhibit may include, but isn’t limited to, original works, objects, demonstrations, digital presentations, programs, websites, games, apps, performances, or posters which you have made. Choose whatever method best shows what you’ve learned. You must furnish any equipment you need for your exhibit. Internet service will not be provided for the exhibit. All exhibits must include something visual, such as a printed copy of a digital presentation, which will remain on display during the exhibition. Electronic equipment will only be used during your personal judging time and will not remain on display during the entire exhibit period. The completed Illinois 4-H Clover Challenge Agreement must be presented with the exhibit.

50137    Animal Science Ready4Life Challenge

Open to 11- to 18-year-olds enrolled in any Animal Science project

Exhibits in this category must include the following: a) a physical representation of the career or business product such as a model, prototype or display/portfolio that includes images of accomplished work; b) verbal or written explanations that demonstrate knowledge of the related career or business fields, potential careers, and the appropriate requirements for achievement in those fields. The judging criteria for this class values thoroughness of career and/or business exploration and pursuit above the workmanship of the physical specimen on display.