Adams County

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Starter Calf (Beef: Starter Calf)

April 9, 2020

The educational 4-H Starter Calf program and related activities provide youth with a fun and hands-on learning experience which develops both starter calf subject skill such as nutrition, housing and health care and life skills such as responsibility, decision-making, nurturing, and communications under the direction of caring adults.

For Judging and Check-in information, consult the current 4-H Catalog.

General Rules:

  1. All 4-H General Rules, Livestock Rules and Health Regulations apply.
  2. All Starter Calves must be individually identified during the county identification day under the supervision of the Extension staff at the start of the project. Animals will be weighed and tagged with an official Adams
    County eartag.
    1. Dairy Starter Calves must weigh no more than 250 lbs. at April ID day to be eligible to exhibit at the Adams County 4-H Fair. Dairy Starter Calves intended for State Fair only may be heavier than the Adams County 250 lb. limit, but must still be tagged at April ID day.
    2. Beef Starter Calves must be tagged and weighed at the April ID day with no beginning weight limit. Beef Starter Calves must be under 600 lbs. at fair weigh in.
  3. All animals must be identified, owned, under the care of the 4-H’er and enrolled online by 4:30 PM on May 15th.
    1. The animal can be purebred dairy, dairy crossbred, dairy/beef crossbred, beef crossbred, or purebred beef. Any combination of dairy will be shown as a dairy animal. Any animal with beef blood will be shown as a beef animal.
    2. The calf can be a steer or market heifer. However, heifers will be entered and shown in only one 4-H livestock show and cannot be shown in beef or dairy breeding classes.
  4. Workshop Verification OR Record Sheets are due into the Extension Office by 4:30 PM on July 1st. 4-H’ers not turning in the required paperwork will not be eligible to show or sale at the Adams County 4-H Fair.
    1. 4-H’ers enrolled in both Beef and Starter Calf projects will only need to attend one workshop to count towards both Beef and Starter Calf Paperwork Requirements. 4-H’er’s not attending a workshop will need to complete all required paperwork for both Beef and Starter Calf.
  5. All Starter Calves must be properly dehorned and castrated or banned prior to fair. Freshly castrated calves will not be allowed to show. No clamping will be allowed. Animals will be inspected upon arrival at fair by a Beef Committee member, their decision is final.

Entry Procedures and Fair Exhibition Specific Rules:

  1. Each member may show a maximum of three starter calves at the Adams County 4-H Fair.
  2. Beef/Starter Calf committee members will unload and weigh in cattle 45 minutes prior to normal weigh in time. This will allow for committee members to help with entry weigh in.
  3. A 4 x 6 (landscape) picture of yourself and the animal you plan to sell in the auction must be turned in during Saturday check-in at fair. 4-H’ers Name and Animal ID must be on the back of the picture.
  4. The Starter Calf barn is to be filled before putting calves in the cattle barn, without exception.
  5. Starter Calves will be weighed only once, immediately upon stepping from transportation to the fairgrounds, and this weight will be the official show/auction weight. A representative from the family must be at the scales at time of weigh-in, re-weigh requests must be brought before the committee immediately after first weigh in.
  6. Calves will be sifted by an appointed sifting committee.
  7. Exhibitors are responsible for the cleanliness of stalls. Do not leave buckets of water or feed in front of calves. Stalls will be assigned.


  1. Dairy Starter Calf

                       All classes split by weight; divided into four divisions: Light, Medium, Light Heavy and Heavy.

                       The four division champions will compete for Grand Champion Dairy Starter Calf.

  1. Beef Starter Calf

                       All classes will be split by weight, with one Grand Champion Beef Starter Calf selected.

  1. Rate-of-Gain award will be given to the exhibitor whose calf has the best gain from the spring county identification day until the county fair.


  1. Showmanship is on a volunteer basis with members strongly encouraged to participate. Sign up at the announcers stand to participate on show day.
  2. Members must currently be enrolled in the Starter Calf project and show their own animal in showmanship.
  3. Showmanship will be divided into 4 classes:
    1. Junior (Grades 3-5) Junior winner will compete in the Intermediate division the following year. Junior winner cannot repeat as Champion Junior Starter Calf Showman.
    2. Intermediate (Grades 6-8) Intermediate winner will compete in Senior division the following year. Intermediate winner cannot repeat as Champion Intermediate Starter Calf Showman.
    3. Senior (Grades 9-12) Senior winner will compete in premier division the following year. Senior winner cannot repeat as Champion Senior Starter Calf Showman.
    4. Premier - The Premier Showman will be selected from the current Beginner, Intermediate and Senior Showman and any past Senior and Premier Showmanship winners still enrolled in 4-H. The winner will represent the Starter Calf species in the overall Supreme Showman contest. A Premier Showmanship runner-up will be selected and announced.


  1. Exhibitors may sell only once through the 4-H auction. Members must inform the committee of their intent to sell or take the animal home within 30 minutes of the completion of the Starter Calf Show.
  2. Starter Calves must weigh at least 300 lbs. to sell in the 4-H Auction.
  3. Once a member sells a Starter Calf through the 4-H Auction that member or an immediate family member cannot show that animal the following year in the Beef project. Animals shown but not sold may return the following year for the Beef project provided the animal meets the project requirements.
  4. All non-auction animals will be released after auction set-up on Thursday.
  5. The Grand Champion Beef Starter Calf will sell first and the Grand Champion Dairy Starter Calf second, this will be rotated each year. (Even years Dairy Starter Calf first, Odd years Beef Starter Calf first.) The Reserve Grand Champion will sell in the same order as above followed by Showmanship winners, Rate of Gain winner and then remaining animals by back tag number.
  6. Exhibitors are responsible for providing each animal left at the fairgrounds a completely serviceable halter or tie rope for securing the animal after the sale. The retention of this equipment will be attempted but not assured.
  7. All non-auction animals will be released after auction set-up on Thursday.

Mini 4-H: 

Exhibit Rules and Requirements:

  1. Complete and turn in your record sheet at Mini 4-H Project Check in on Wednesday of Pre-Fair from 5-7PM.
  2. Show one starter calf at the Adams County 4-H Fair.
    1. The calf you show at the 4-H Fair will NOT be your own calf. The calf must belong to a regular 4-H member enrolled in the Starter Calf project. It can belong to a brother, sister, cousin, friend, or even close neighbor. The calf must be shown by the regular 4-H member in the 4-H Starter Calf show. In other words, an older 4-H member cannot bring an extra calf just for the Mini 4-H member to show.                                              
  3. The Starter Calf Show is Monday of the 4-H Fair. All Mini 4-H members will show together. The members will be judged on showmanship, with each member receiving a ribbon.
  4. Mini 4-H members will NOT sell in the 4-H Auction.
  5. Mini 4-H members, in grades K-2, will be allowed to show, work with, or care for animal projects after their parent or legal guardian has signed a liability release. Mini 4-H members may independently show, work with, or care for animals that weigh 300 pounds or less. Mini 4-H members may only show, work with, or care for animals over 300 pounds when they are assisted by a parent, legal guardian, or another adult designated in writing by parent or legal guardian.



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