Youth Business Guide to Success – Make the Most of Your 4-H Market Animal Project Curriculum

4-H entrepreneurship curriculum enhances experience of 4-H volunteers and members working with market animal projects.

Cover of book
Photo by Debra Barrett, MSU Extension.

The Michigan 4-H curriculum, "Youth Business Guide to Success – Make the Most of Your 4-H Market Animal Project," teaches the business side of a market animal project. Released in August 2016, "Youth Business Guide to Success" was written by Michigan State University Extension educators with partial support from a Michigan 4-H participation fee grant. 

"Youth Business Guide to Success" was written to be used with 12-19 year old youth. The exception to that is the teen leadership lesson called Go to Show. This lesson is intended for teen leaders to teach young members some of the basic expenses associated with market animal projects. Though some lessons may be modified for younger youth with the support of teen members and volunteers, pilot feedback reinforced that this content is not meant for youth under the age of 12 without adaptations. We have also been successful in adapting some of the lessons to non-market animal projects such as stills and visual arts, and dairy.

Young people benefit from 14 lessons that revolve around the following six units: goal setting, record keeping, budgeting, communication, marketing and teen leadership. In a previous article, I shared the learning objectives for each unit which can help educators and volunteers plan for meetings and workshops. Lessons emphasize entrepreneurial concepts and a variety of valuable life skills. A table of life skills addressed through each lesson is pictured below and includes such skills as goal setting, planning and organizing, record keeping, decision making and communication.

Page inside a book
Life skills emphasized by each lesson in the curriculum. Photo by Debra Barrett, MSU Extension.

This curriculum is making a difference for many volunteers and young people involved in market animal projects. Although written as a face to face curriculum, much of it can be adapted to be taught online. Youth Business Guide to Success has been used with:

  • 4-H leaders, members and parents
  • 4-H clubs, workshops and camps
  • Homeschool families
  • Councils, boards, committees and other volunteers
  • Agriscience and FFA students in high school career and technical education programs

Short educational videos have been added as resources created by Michigan 4-H members. The 4-H market animal videos are another tool to enhance learning. The Youth Business Guide to Success webpage additionally includes several example communication pieces to visually demonstrate communication strategies – dos and don’ts – for the communication unit.

Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development helps to prepare young people for successful futures. For more information or resources on career exploration, workforce preparation, financial education, or youth entrepreneurship, email us at

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