7.1 Guidelines for Exhibition and Competition

Following are policies that govern exhibition and completion of 4-H Projects:

Exhibition: Exhibition of 4-H projects/subjects in local, county, or state exhibits/fairs, in person or virtually, is voluntary on the part of the exhibitor. The exhibition of 4-H projects/subjects provides 4-H members an opportunity to display their 4-H projects/subjects, enter into competition, and participate in an educational/social environment with peers. With exhibition also comes the responsibility for abiding by all the terms and conditions pertaining to the respective 4-H project.

Completion: The completion of a 4-H experience may include a variety of options and must not be misinterpreted solely as exhibition of a project at a local, county, or state fair. There are a number of ways that a young person may participate in the 4-H Youth Development Program in addition to the club-based option. Participating in these 4-H opportunities enable the youth to build skills that will serve them well throughout their adult lives.

Some of these participation options do not include the preparation of a specific exhibit by an individual that would be on display at a fair or similar event. In some cases, the youths’ actual participation may be the final product that results in their completion of a year of 4-H. Some examples of this participation include working as a team to develop a robot for a workshop or challenge; completing a Spark Club experience; participating in State 4-H Band or Chorus; taking part in a science training or experiment; participating in an after school 4-H experience; etc.

4-H members are considered complete in their 4-H educational experience for the year when they have (1) completed the 4-H member enrollment process prior to the established and published date for enrolling; and (2) had an officially recognized 4-H volunteer/Extension Educator verify the existence of the completed project/subject or the member’s participation in a 4-H educational experience this could be in the form of an exhibit, poster, report, presentation, etc. Or, a member may choose to submit a completed record sheet in lieu of an exhibit to complete the club-or fair-based 4-H project/subject. The 4-H record sheet will be based on printed or web-based educational materials (used by Indiana 4-H YouthDevelopment) and submitted prior to the established and published date.

Though exhibiting in local, county, and state exhibits/fairs is not required for project completion, as it does not necessarily relate directly to content and skills learned in the development of the 4-H project, project exhibition is encouraged as a continuation of the educational experience.

Extension employees and volunteers are obligated to eliminate (and should not create) any practices that limit, deprive, or tend to deprive any youth of opportunities for membership and/or participation in the Indiana 4-H program.

Volunteers and Extension Educators may not require youth to attend 4-H club meetings/workshops/activities in order to complete 4-H or exhibit their work.


7.2 Guidelines for Animal Exhibits

Each 4-H member shall own his/her 4-H exhibit. Ownership, personal possession, and regular care of the animal must be in effect on or before the county and state enrollment deadlines and continuously until after the 4-H show at the county and/or state fair.

  1. For 4-H breeding animals: family corporations and/or partnerships of 4-H members with one or more parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or legal guardians are acceptable.
  2. For 4-H dairy cattle: family corporations and/or partnerships of the 4-H member with unrelated persons or dairy operations are also acceptable.
  3. Dairy cows (as long as the animal is being shown by same 4-Her from 2020 and forward)and heifers, horses, ponies, alpacas and llamas may be leased subject to approval of both the county 4-H dairy, horse and pony, or llama committee and the respective County Extension Educator. 4-H animals (horse and pony, dairy, alpacas and llamas are only eligible to be leased by a single 4-H member in a 4-H program year.
  4. 4-H animals are expected to be in the possession and regular care of the 4-H member who owns/leases them (unless other arrangements have been agreed upon by the County 4-H Extension Educator) from the animal ID deadline until the conclusion of the county and/or state fair.
  5. 4-H market animals and commercial animals must be individually identified and verified under the supervision of the county 4-H program at county identification events by May 15th each year (or the following business day if the 15th falls on a weekend or holiday). These species include market lambs and commercial ewes, dairy wethers, dairy feeder steers, dairy beef steers, beef steers, market and commercial heifers, meat goat wethers, and market wether dams.
  6. 4-H animals purchased, sold or offered for sale after the ID deadline and prior to the Indiana State Fair (including animals that have gone through a "Premium Only Auction"), shall not be eligible to show in the 4-H show at the Indiana State Fair. Sale of products of animals (milk, cheese, wool, etc.) in lieu of the animal, are considered equivalent to a "Premium Only Auction."
  7. 4-H animals exhibited after the May 15 (or the following business day if the 15th falls on a weekend or holiday) State 4-H animal ID deadline at any show by anyone other than the individual whose 4-H enrollment record is connected to the ID of the animal in Indiana 4-H Online will not be eligible to be shown in the 4-H show at the Indiana State Fair. This term/condition does not apply to siblings, who may show each other’s animals at any show during the year without jeopardizing State Fair eligibility. 4-H animals that are selected by 4-H Extension Staff or 4-H Adult Volunteers for use in supreme showmanship contests (Master Showmanship, Round Robin, etc.) may be used in those county events without jeopardizing State Fair eligibility. This policy applies to all 4-H animal projects. For animal projects without state ID deadlines, the person who enters them in the Indiana State Fair 4-H show is the equivalent of the owner of the animals.
  8. Temporary guardianships established for the intent of animal exhibition or grooming purposes are not permitted and shall result in immediate disqualification.

See State Fair Terms and Conditions section of this handbook for the Indiana State Fair species ownership guidelines.


7.3 4-H Awards and Competitions Guidelines

The Indiana 4-H Program is a federally-assisted program and as such, all programs, activities, events and competitions (state, area, county, local) must be non-discriminatory according to federal law. Additionally, the 4-H Program may not accept sponsorships, donations, or awards that are based on discriminatory practices.

Gender specific competitions and awards are not permissible under Title IX (Non-discrimination on the Basis of Sex) of the Educational Amendments enacted by Congress in 1972. This act states:

"No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

All Purdue Cooperative Extension Service programs and methods shall be implemented in a manner that ensures nondiscrimination on the basis of gender for all participants.

This means that the practice of arranging competitions or awarding trips, scholarships, etc. on the basis of gender categories is not acceptable in 4-H Youth Development Programs.

In all cases, the requirements for competitions must provide equal access for all youth and must not be designed to create barriers to participation.

NOTE: Purdue University Cooperative Extension employees and volunteers are obligated to eliminate any practices that limit, deprive, or tend to deprive any youth of opportunities for membership and/or participation or otherwise discriminate against these youth because of their gender.


7.4 King/Queen competitions

Policy Regarding 4-H Fair Queen and/or King Contests:

4-HFair Queen and/or King contests (or contests sponsored by 4-H Fair Associations and subcommittees thereof) where the awards are based upon a combination of factors related to personal appearance, poise and talent of participants are permissible activities.

These 4-H events may not however, discriminate against any participant based upon race, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, parental status, or marital status.

Criteria for selection of a 4-H Fair Queen/King can be based upon the candidate’s appearance, poise, and talent.

Criteria for selection of a 4-H Fair Queen/King cannot be based upon the candidate’s 4-H accomplishments or achievements.

NOTE: Purdue University Cooperative Extension employees and volunteers are obligated to eliminate any practices that limit, deprive, or tend to deprive any youth of opportunities for membership or otherwise discriminate against these youth.

* Those individuals who are selected to represent their county at the Indiana State Fair Queen Contest must meet the guidelines for that activity. The Indiana State Fair Contest is not a Purdue University Cooperative Extension/Indiana 4-H sponsored activity.