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4-H Beef Project

Dairy Beef Project

Exhibit may be a project, poster, an interactive demonstration or a combination.

Project requirements

Youth enrolled in the 4-H Dairy Beef project are to complete the lesson corresponding to his or her grade as of January 1 of the current year. The reference book is 4-H 117 R Beef Resource Handbook. It is to be used for the entire ten years of participation in the 4-H Dairy Beef project. A livestock record sheet is no longer required. Grade level lessons need to be turned in to the 4-H Dairy Beef committee at 4-H Fair weigh in. Members may exhibit at the county fair if their paperwork is complete and health rules are followed.

General Rules for Dairy Steer participation

  1. A member may enroll four dairy beef steers but exhibit two. 
  2. Dairy Steer will be weighed and identified in at the annual Beef/Dairy Steer weigh-in. 
  3. For LaGrange County 4-H Fair entry, steers will be identified and tagged with a conventional five-digit plastic ear tag as well as an electronic Radio Frequency Identification tag (RFID tag). A per head charge for RFID tags inserted at initial weigh in may be levied. The fee is expected regardless of whether the cattle are ultimately shown.
  4. To be properly identified for Indiana State Fair entry, 4-H members must enter the steers' 840-RFID tag number completely and correctly into Indiana 4-H Online and submit a DNA hair sample to the county Extension office by April 1. DNA collection envelopes and instructions are available at your county Extension office.
  5. Steers are to be enrolled on Indiana 4-H Online by April 1.
  6. A member may show only one of the following five breeds: Holstein, Jersey, Brown Swiss, Ayrshire, or Guernsey. Steers must be of 100% Dairy bloodline, with NO CROSSING between any Beef OR among Dairy breeds. The 4-H Dairy Beef/Started Calf Committee will evaluate steers for 100% dairy breed characteristics at both the initial weigh in and at fair entry.  
  7. The Dairy Steer must be in possession of the member at initial weigh-in.
  8. Steers are exhibited by weight. The committee at Fair weigh-in will determine classes.
  9. All Indiana Board of Animal Health rules apply with the provision that counties may impose more stringent animal health requirements. Contact the IBAH at 1-877-747-3038 or visit for additional information about animal health exhibit requirements.
  10. No ruptured steers may be shown.
  11. The Rate of Gain Award will be given to the individual steer gaining the most weight from initial weigh-in to check in at the 4-H fair.
  12. Each calf being exhibited at the fair must be dehorned and castrated. NO CLAMPING.
  13. All steers must be totally healed from dehorning and castration for the steer to be admitted to the 4-H fair. The Dairy Beef Committee will determine the eligibility of an individual steer for exhibition at the fair. The 4-H Dairy Beef committee reserves the right at its discretion to request that the exhibitor provide additional veterinary consultation in the event an animal’s condition warrants it at 4-H fair entry.
  14. Wood shavings maybe provided for sale at the 4-H Fair. Straw bedding is not allowed.
  15. Confirmation of the overall Grand and Reserve Champions may be conducted immediately following the show. Discrepancies may result in disqualification of those steers.
  16. Steers placing below the Grand Champion may be held out of the sale at the owner’s option. Any steer that is offered for sale cannot be exhibited in any other 4-H.
  17. All animals MUST be cared for (fed, watered and clean pen). Failure to do so will result in dismissal of calves at the 4-H Fair.
  18. Upon weigh in at the 4-H Fair, the exhibitor must designate his or her intent to sell or hold the animal out of the auction.
  19. If a member needs assistance in showing a calf, any other LaGrange County 4-H member may assist. This assistance needs to be verified by the committee before the show begins.


Award is based on condition of stall and exhibit. All 4-H Dairy Beef stalls will be given a grade twice a day. Grades will be based on items such as care of animal (whether clean and attractive), condition of bedding, feed sacks, feed boxes, and trunks or towels neatly arranged. Exhibitors are also responsible for cleaning all cow manure from the 20-foot fire lane outside the building and directly behind their stall.

The 4-H Dairy Beef member must be present at pre-fair set up and/or clean up days. Final grade will be given after clean up. Judging is the responsibility of superintendents and committee.


Dairy steers and started calves will have separate showmanship classes. Premier showmanship winners from each specie will then compete against one another for the title of All-Around Dairy Beef Showman.

First Year Showmanship is open to 4-H youth in grade 3 or grade 4 if it is the first year the 4-H’er has shown a calf.

Junior Showmanship: grades 4-8.

Senior Showmanship: grades 9-12.

1. Past Junior winners will compete in Senior Showmanship.

Past winners and the current Senior Showman will compete in the Premier Showmanship Class.

2. Members may advance only one division each year.

3. Members must show their own animals.


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