Katie Hoffman has been preparing for her future for 10 years as a member of the Savanna Smiles 4-H Club in Carroll County. That preparation paid off when she was chosen as one of 15 4-H members awarded a $1,000 scholarship at the Illinois 4-H Superior Young Producer Award Contest.
For more than 20 years, the Illinois 4-H Foundation has rewarded exceptional 4-H members in animal science projects for their work both inside and outside the show ring. The contest tests a young person’s knowledge in animal production, health, and herd management. Compeer Financial provides support for the horse and dairy divisions, and the CME Group of Chicago supports the beef, sheep, and swine divisions. The Land of Lincoln Livestock Breeders Association provides awards.
“Learning the knowledge I needed in order to win has already helped me tremendously by helping me get jobs in the horse industry, Katie said The Savannah teen also shadowed veterinarians this summer prior to leaving for college where she is studying animal science and pursuing a career as a vet.
“The scholarship will help me focus on my studies and worry less about how to pay for my education,” Katie said.
The contest had three phases. The management phase tests knowledge of animal nutrition, health, reproduction, safety, and marketing. The skill-a-thon phase tests the contestant’s ability to identify feed components and livestock equipment. The third phase includes live animal judging and quality analysis.
Joining Katie in the winner’s circle in the horse contest were Hannah Haney of Saline County and Olivia Charles of Carroll County. The contest was held July 25 as part of the Illinois State Fair junior horse show.
Winning the judging phase of the contest was Sarah Paige Tarr, Tennyson Kern, and Lydia Taylo, all of DeWitt County. In the written test phase, top finishers were Hoffman, Charles, and Hannah Haney of Saline County. During the skill-a-thon phase, Haney, Hoffman, and Audrey DeRossett of Union County were the top winners.
Debra Hagstrom, University of Illinois Extension equine specialist, coordinated the horse division of the contest. “Participants tell me they appreciate this important scholarship opportunity,” Hagstrom said. “They are grateful for the award and contribution to their college expenses.”
Hagstrom acknowledged assistance from the state fair horse show superintendents and volunteers who helped with the contest.
Beef, Swine, Sheep Contest
Nine $1,000 scholarships were earned by 4-H members enrolled in beef, swine, and sheep projects. The winners include Cody Knodle of Montgomery County, Tara Hummel of Kankakee County, Mary Perry of Adams County, Erin Curley of McDonough County, Andy Bates of Knox County, Kate Henkel of Woodford County, Lizzie Schafer of Christian County, Lane Schilling of Washington County, and Fredrick Grohmann of Monroe County.
Top phase winners include Curley, Knodle, and Grohmann in the management phase portion; Hummel, Perry, and Knodle in the skill-a-thon phase; and Perry, Knodle and Kylee Fields in the judging and marketing phase.
The contest was held Aug. 8. “More than 500,000 has been awarded to youth toward their higher education in the 22 years of the contest,” said Dan Jennings, U of I Extension animal science educator.
Dairy Cattle Contest
Three 4-H members earned $1,000 scholarships for their top finishes in the Superior Young Dairy Producers Contest held Aug. 18 at the Illinois State Fair.
The overall scholarship winners include Rachel Scidmore of Carroll County, Addison Raber of Livingston County, and Lane Heinzmann of Clinton County.
The three champions also placed in the top winner circle in the management phase of the contest. The skill-a-thon winners include Scidmore, Heinzmann, and Briley Lenkaitis of Saline County. Winners in the judging phase include Jacob and Addison Raber and Dawn Irwin of Logan County.
“The purpose of the contest is to create an educational activity that promotes youth development, career development, and personal growth through increased knowledge of the livestock industry,” said Dave Fischer, Extension dairy program coordinator and Illinois 4-H dairy coach. Assisting Fischer were Michael Hutjens, Phil Cardoso, and Gene McCoy.