Washing HeiferThe 4-H Beef Cattle Project is one of the most exciting and rewarding animal science projects from which to choose.  Beef cattle are ruminants which mean they have four compartments to their stomach.  This is why they can digest pasture grasses and hay.  There are two main types of Beef Cattle Projects that a 4-H member may choose.  A beef heifer breeding project is long term project in which a 4-H member begins with a heifer calf (female) and cares for her through breeding age (around 1 year of age) and on to calving (giving birth) at around 2 years of age.  The other type of project is a market beef project in which the 4-H member begins with a weaned steer or heifer calf and cares for the calf through the growing phase (also known as the backgrounding and finishing phase) until the calf reaches market weight of around 1100-1300 pounds.

Beef cattle projects provide youth with opportunities to expand their knowledge of the beef cattle industry, production and, more importantly, develop the life skills that are needed to be positive contributors to society.  Through beef cattle projects youth will learn about selection and evaluation, nutrition and feeding, health and daily care, reproduction, marketing, and much more.  Youth learn to accept responsibility, to value hard work, think critically, make decisions, and communicate.  In addition, there are several beef cattle shows that youth can participate in to put on exhibition their beef cattle project.  Beef cattle shows provide a great avenue to meet and develop friendships with other youth and leaders from across the state. Young people are also able to connect with supportive adults (who serve as mentors), demonstrate a commitment to learning, develop social competencies and gain exposure to career opportunities.

Click here for information about Market Steer and Heifer Validation Guidelines

Click here for information about Breeding Beef Cattle Nomination Guidelines

The following resources for Kentucky 4-H Beef Cattle Projects can be purchased from Ohio State University.  Please click here to be directed to Ohio State's eStore where these resources can be purchased.

Beef Resource Handbook for Market and Breeding Projects (4-H 117R)

Beef Project and Record Book (4-H 117)

Beef, Sheep, and Swine Selection and Evaluation (4-H 103R)


Kentucky Proud Livestock Tag Program

The Kentucky Proud Livestock Tag Program is offered through the Kentucky Department of Agriculture Division of Show and Fair Promotion. Whether you are a livestock producer, exhibitor, or both, the Kentucky Proud Livestock Tag Program can be utilized to promote and recognize quality animals that are sold, bought, and /or exhibited throughout the Commonwealth.  KY Proud animals exhibited through state sponsored livestock shows are eligible for additional premiums.  Learn more about Kentucky Proud Livestock