Two 4-H animal science events made their return in 2024

4-H Animal Science Career Quest returned after a year off and the 4-H Spring Livestock Workshop returned for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic in a new format.

Youth wrapping bandage around a stuffed animal.
During the veterinary medicine and nursing session at 4-H Animal Science Career Quest, youth practiced their bandaging skills on a stuffed turtle. Photo by Autumn Converse

For many 4-H youth, participation in statewide programs is an influential part of their learning experience. Two of Michigan’s impactful statewide 4-H animal science events made their return in the early months of 2024. 4-H Animal Science Career Quest occurred on Saturday, February 17, and the 4-H Spring Livestock Workshop was held on Saturday, March 2, both on the campus of Michigan State University (MSU) in East Lansing.

4-H Animal Science Career Quest is a career exploration event for middle and high school-aged youth who are interested in working in various animal-related fields. Throughout the day, youth attend breakout sessions in areas that interest them. In 2024, the topics of these breakout sessions included:

  • Species sessions: beef, small ruminants, swine, dairy, equine, companion animals and poultry.
  • Learning labs: building skills for your future, Leader Dogs for the Blind, livestock judging, horse judging, dairy judging, dairy nutrition, veterinary medicine and nursing, horse management and more.
  • Discipline sessions: behavior and welfare, health, reproduction, nutrition, and education and outreach.

4-H Animal Science Career Quest gives youth an opportunity to see the breadth of opportunities available to them that involve working with animals. They can also learn more about the post-secondary education options that MSU offers and connect with faculty and staff from the MSU Department of Animal Science and College of Veterinary Medicine. This was the second time that Michigan 4-H offered this program. This year, the program saw over 80 participants from across the state.

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During reproduction sessions, youth gained experience with the artificial insemination process using cattle and swine breeding simulators. Photo by Autumn Converse

The 4-H Spring Livestock Workshop also returned in 2024 after a long pause. This program is designed for 4-H youth and volunteers in beef, sheep, swine and goat projects. It gives participants an opportunity to take a deep dive into their projects and other topics like livestock judging, marketing their livestock project, animal nutrition, animal reproduction and more.

Prior to 2024, the last time this program occurred was February 2020, right before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Statewide Livestock Programming Committee planned a workshop for 2023 and registration filled to capacity, but ultimately it was canceled due to a major snowstorm. This year it finally returned, and the program saw more than 80 participants from across Michigan.

These are just two of the many programs offered by the Michigan 4-H animal science team. If you are interested in learning more about statewide 4-H learning experiences like these that are offered throughout the year, check out the Michigan State University Extension 4-H events calendar.

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