New 4-H Market Beef Project resource

"Your 4-H Market Beef Project" resource offers tips and information for youth raising market cattle.

Michigan State University Extension has a new resource available to assist members and leaders with the 4-H Market Beef Projects.Your 4-H Market Beef Project” resource is a compilation of information to address the rewards and challenges of raising and caring for an animal. The “Your 4-H Market Beef Project” booklet is available for purchase in print form or a downloadable PDF from the MSU Extension Bookstore at:

This newly revised resource contains beef project specific information for 4-H youth, parents and volunteers. The booklet will help to increase knowledge and understanding of a variety of topics including calf selection, estimating costs, early care and management, common diseases, facilities and equipment, ruminant digestion, feeding and nutrition, showing cattle, beef quality assurance, animal marketing and animal care and well-being. The completely reviewed resource will assist youth in having a well-rounded beef cattle experience.

Caring for cattle requires planning ahead to see the animal project through to the end. This resource is a guide to help youth set goals and keep records to ensure animals are well cared for and objectives are met.  The resource continues to help youth select their project animal based off their goals and basic selection criteria. As the calf grows, so does the content of each chapter, providing information for at animal management and nutrition through all stages of life. Youth will find charts, figures and illustrations, providing visual learning tools that will assist the youth as they raise market beef animals.

In addition to management strategies, two chapters of the resource are devoted to animal health and well-being. The first focuses on common diseases in cattle production and strategies to identify, prevent and, if needed, treat the project animals. As with any illness, it is important to have a veterinarian-client-patient-relationship to ensure proper diagnosis of illnesses. The second chapter focuses on animal care and well-being. This chapter defines animal well-being and provides concrete examples to assess the animals’ state and address misconceptions.

Additional chapters include preparation for exhibition and showing. Other activities and opportunities for 4-H youth are also featured in the resource including a comparison of traditional market beef projects to dairy beef projects.  It is our intent that this resource be a helpful aid to 4-H youth to help ensure a positive animal science learning experience. The revision of this curriculum piece was funded by a Michigan 4-H Participation Fee Grant.

Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan 4-H Youth Development program helps to create a community excited about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).  4-H STEM programming seeks to increase science literacy, introducing youth to the experiential learning process that helps them to build problem-solving, critical-thinking and decision-making skills.  Youth who participate in 4-H STEM are better equipped with critical life skills necessary for future success.  To learn more about the positive impact of Michigan 4-H youth in STEM literacy programs read our 2016 Impact Report: “Building Science Literacy and Future STEM Professionals.” 

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