Want to learn what the judge is really looking for?
4-H animal evaluation allows young people to explore animal science by learning to evaluate livestock project animals such as beef cattle, sheep and swine. Participants learn to select both market and breeding animals based on breed character, production factors, structure and carcass desirability, as well as learn about marketing and careers in the livestock industry. As youth gain knowledge about animal differences and learn to evaluate and select livestock, they also increase their public speaking skills by preparing and delivering a logical and coherent set of oral reasons to the contest judge.
Youth can participate in two different animal evaluation areas:
- 4-H Livestock Judging – Youth evaluate live sheep, swine and beef cattle. Local events are held in various counties and a statewide contest, the Michigan 4-H Livestock Judging Contest, is held in July in conjunction with the Michigan Livestock Expo. Youth who take part in the statewide contest have the opportunity to participate on the Michigan 4-H Livestock Judging National Teams, which compete at various competitions throughout the country. Support for these teams is provided by generous sponsors - thank you for your contributions to the program.
- 4-H Meats Judging – Youth evaluate the meat carcasses of sheep, swine and beef cattle. Local events are held in various counties and a statewide contest, the Michigan 4-H Meats Judging Contest/FFA Meats Evaluation & Technology Career Development Event, is held in July in conjunction with the Michigan Livestock Expo.
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, such as animal evaluation, 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
July 24, 2017 | Julie Thelen Conover | Skills learned through practicing and evaluating meat are tested.
June 6, 2017 | Michelle Neff | A basic understanding of showmanship, no matter what species of animal you are showing.
April 28, 2017 | Taylor Fabus | Learn what judges must consider when evaluating Arabian horses at halter.
November 30, 2016 | Julie Thelen | Nine Michigan 4-H youth competed in livestock judging contests across the country during fall 2016.
November 16, 2016 | Melissa Elischer | Michigan team earned fourth place at the 2016 North American 4-H Invitational Dairy Quiz Bowl Contest.
November 16, 2016 | Melissa Elischer | Four Michigan youth take home high honors during the final national dairy judging contest of the season, including fourth overall and third in oral reasons.
November 2, 2016 | Julie Thelen | Tips for teaching youth about concerns relating to human and animal health including influenza, One Health and careers.
October 3, 2016 | Melissa Elischer | Four youth prepare for their final contest as 4-H members during World Dairy Expo on Oct. 3, 2016.
September 19, 2016 | Melissa Elischer | Four 4-H members from Clinton and Calhoun counties travel to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to compete in dairy judging contest during the 2016 All-American Dairy Show.
September 19, 2016 | Melissa Elischer | Four Ottawa County youth travel to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to compete at contest during the 2016 All-American Dairy Show.
Feb 17, 2018 – Feb 18, 2018 | Kettunen Center, 14901 4-H Drive, Tustin, MI 49688