Beef is a national 4-H project. It features curriculum that will guide you through the project. For a copy contact your County 4-H Office or order online at National 4-H Service Supply. For additional curriculum possibilities, explore the National Directory of 4-H Materials and do a key word search for Beef.

Beef 1

What you can do in this project: identify various beef breeds; identify parts of a beef animal; halter-break and show a calf; fit and judge beef cattle; recognize and raise a healthy animal.
Grades: 3-5
Resources: 08143, Bite Into Beef
4H450, Judging Breeding & Market Cattle
MA, Meat Animal Project Record

Beef 2
What you can do in this project: present oral reasons during judging; learn about feed ingredients, behavior and parasites; study how to do nose-print identification; learn beef carcass composition and retail meat cuts.
Grades: 6-8
Resources: 08144, Here’s the Beef
MA, Meat Animal Project Record

Beef 3
What you can do in this project: explore selection and judging; learn about careers, health, reproduction, etc.; discover how to market your animal and by-products.
Grades: 9-12
Resources: 08145, Leading the Charge
MA, Meat Animal Project Record

Beef Leader
Resources: 08146, Beef Helper’s Guide
117R, Beef Resource Handbook
4H500, I’m a 4-H Project Leader. Now What Do I Do?


Want to learn more about Beef? Try the links below.

Badger Livestock Judging Camp
Camp for youth who have completed grades 3-13 who are interested in building knowledge on the evaluation principles associated with market and breeding beef, swine and sheep, as well as ultrasound technology.

Beef Project Training
Many counties hold local training for members and leaders in their favorite project areas, including beef. Watch your county 4-H Family newsletter or contact your county Extension office for details.

Meat Animal Quality Assurance (MAQA) Training
Train-the-trainer sessions for anyone interested in teaching or facilitating the MAQA program to help youth livestock exhibitors in beef, sheep and swine learn how to produce a safe and wholesome product. Youth can attend if they would like to help teach the program.

Wisconsin 4-H and Youth Conference
If you’re in grades 8-10, check out the next Wisconsin 4-H and Youth Conference, scheduled each June at the UW-Madison campus. The conference offers educational seminars in most areas of 4-H. Contact your county Extension office for details.

Wisconsin 4-H Area Animal Science Days
Series of four day-long events held around the state where youth in the beef, dairy, horse, sheep and swine projects increase their decision making skills and knowledge of animals through judging and grading experiences. Events include evaluation of dairy cattle, horses and meat animals; dairy showmanship contests; hippology (the study of horses); and oral reasons workshops. In addition, each site offers a variety of workshops for small animal projects, which may include rabbits, poultry, dogs, cats or llamas.

Wisconsin 4-H Meat Judging Contest
Competition held at the Meat Science Laboratory on the UW-Madison campus.

Wisconsin Livestock Quiz and Skillathon Contests
Program for any 4-H or FFA Junior or Senior livestock team in the state. Team must have 3-4 members. Senior team members must be ages 14-19. Junior team members must be 8-13. The top 4-H Senior team represents Wisconsin at the National 4-H Skillathon Contest held each fall in Louisville.

Wisconsin Livestock Quiz Bowl
Quiz competition where all the questions are about beef, sheep and swine topics. Teams are divided into junior division (age 14 and under), senior division is (age 14 years and older) and mixed team (at least one youth from each age division). Counties or chapters are limited to 2 teams per division. Youth use a buzzer to answer the questions. Teams compete in a double elimination format by giving oral answers to questions posed by a judge.

Wisconsin State Fair
Annual 11-day event held in August at State Fair Park, West Allis, WI. Site gives locations and dates for pre-registration animal weigh-ins. All exhibitors wishing to show livestock animals during the fair are required to attend one of the regionally located weigh-in sites.

World Beef Expo
Four-day annual event in September at State Fair Park in West Allis, WI. Features 16 different breeds of beef cattle. Youth are invited to participate in beef judging contest during the expo.

County Fair

The county fair . . . what a great time it is! Every summer, families flock to county fairs to see the latest 4-H project exhibits. Exhibiting is a fun and educational way for youth to showcase their project work to judges and to the public. Judging materials are supported by Bill Shaw in memory of his wife, Shirley.

Related Links

There’s so much more to learn in the 4-H Beef Project. Just follow these links!

Meat Animal Quality Assurance (MAQA)
Information on MAQA topics from the Wisconsin 4-H youth livestock specialist. MAQA teaches quality-assurance principles and management skills to youth enrolled in the swine, sheep and beef meat animal projects.

National 4-H Online Beef Project
Visit this site for additional National 4-H Beef Project activities, information and links.

National Animal Identification System
Information on how this important new livestock animal identification system is being implemented in Wisconsin.

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

Marketing organization and trade association for America’s 1 million cattle farmers and ranchers.

Saddle and Sirloin Club: Beef
UW-Madison student club that organizes and administers the Little International Horse Show, Badger Kick-off Classic Steer and Heifer Show, and the Badger Bonanza Lamb Show.

UW-Extension Animal Sciences: Beef
UW-Extension Animal Sciences Beef site with additional links to many beef education and resource centers, organizations, and libraries.

UW-Extension Animal Sciences: Youth
UW-Extension Animal Sciences Youth Extension site with additional links to the State Specialist, the calendar, MAQA information, State Fair results, and more.

Wisconsin Beef Council
Source of cooking and food safety tips, nutritional information, and recipes.

Wisconsin Livestock Breeders Association
Site with association events and information, including youth livestock shows.

Wisconsin 4-H STEM
Resources and links to science, engineering, and technology activities.

Project Support

For more information on the 4-H Beef Project, contact the following:

Cooperative Extension Media Collection
This lending library features several resources on beef, ethics, nutrition, and more.

UW-Extension County 4-H Offices
This is your link to a list of Wisconsin County Extension Offices. Select the county of your choice.

UW-Extension Youth Livestock