Michigan 4-H Market Animal Project Record Book

4-H Market Animal projects provide youth an opportunity to gain life skills such as record keeping, communication and self-responsibility through raising and selling a livestock animal. Market animal projects may include: beef, feeder calves, goats, poultry, rabbits, sheep, swine or other animals raised with the intention of selling. Many county 4-H programs partner with their local fair to provide youth involved in the market animal experience a venue to exhibit and sell their animals through locally organized auctions.

Market animals put an entrepreneurial focus on a 4-H animal project, and can be incorporated into the learning experience in any animal species. Entrepreneurial concepts learned through the market animal project and demonstrated through completion of the Michigan 4-H Animal Market Project Record Book are highlighted below:

  • Goal setting
  • Identifying target markets and marketing strategies
  • Distinguishing product features
  • Communication strategy and sales pitch
  • Record keeping
  • Breakeven price and profitability

The Michigan 4-H Animal Market Project Record Books provided here are a tool for county 4-H programs to help youth learn and document their understanding of livestock marketing concepts. The Michigan 4-H Animal Market Project Record Book has been developed at three levels: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. The local county 4-H program has discretion of the ages assigned for each level and requirements for completion.

Some counties may choose to add additional pages to the record book for local purposes to enhance the educational experience and demonstration of knowledge in other 4-H focus areas through the market animal project such as animal science, youth leadership development, critical thinking and decision making, safety, or career exploration. The following supplemental pages are available for counties to use; please check with your local county 4-H program each year to determine requirements for completion for your county.

A few notes for county 4-H staff, volunteers, and fair superintendents using these resources:

  • The Supplemental Library pages provided here are intended to be used in addition to the Michigan 4-H Animal Market Project Record Book.  It is encouraged that counties that choose to add a supplemental page select only 1-page per year to ensure the total length of the record book remains age-appropriate and manageable for members to complete.  If you choose to add page(s) to your local record book, keep in mind that a longer or more complicated document can be a deterrent to many 4-H members to complete the record book. 
  • A 4-H project should allow the participant to grow over the course of several years’ involvement.  Adding one supplemental page per year will ensure that the member has an opportunity to explore and learn new concepts throughout their 4-H career.  Using a different supplemental page each year also prevents participants from copying their previous year’s work.  Many past members have indicated that record books are boring if they do not have new material each year.
  • A few supplement pages request that a diagram be provided to label parts of the animal; it is suggested that a great resource for these diagrams are the Learning Lab Kits for animal science from Ohio State University. A reminder: if you are reproducing documents (from OSU or any other source) please be certain you have proper permissions and/or references to use copyrighted materials.  It is also recommended to provide youth with a reference for the source of materials added to your local record book so they can accurately locate correct information and avoid confusion in completing the record book.

Additional resources for teaching Livestock Marketing:

Related Articles