4-H Beef Blast

Denise Schwab, Beef Field Specialist, Southeast Area

Problem Statement: 

All ISU Extension staff are expected to help in recruiting students to ISU.  We also have personal goals related to educating all our clientele, regardless of age.  It has been a challenge to find fun and exciting ways to teach youth about basic animal science concepts, since the focus of 4-H families has traditionally been oriented more toward the show ring.

Programmatic Response: 

4-H Beef Blast was created to educate 4-hers enrolled in the beef project and expose them to opportunities at ISU.  The objectives of the project were to:

102 youth in grades seven through ten, from 12 counties in eastern Iowa participated in the first 4-H Beef Blast to ISU.  They met with ISU researchers, faculty and staff to learn about current issues in beef production that ISU is researching and developing.  They had a great first impression of ISU and were encouraged to follow up by participating in State 4-H Conference and Animal Science Roundup.

Six high school youth helped provide leadership to this activity.  They determined tour stops and topics, created learning activities, and helped host the bus trip. 

Learning Tools:
Hands-on learning tools were developed to be taught on the bus trip, but to also be used at project meetings throughout the area.  These activities include feed pyramid and feed identification, disease spread and biosecurity activity, and a videotape of 4-Hers demonstrations.  These were provided to all twelve counties to be use in food safety and quality assurance workshops.

Students met with faculty and staff through workshops and lunchtime.  They experienced ISU animal science and meat science facilities, The College of Ag student recruitment office discussed career opportunities and Block & Bridle students discussed educational programs at ISU.  Participants were also encouraged to attending State 4-H Conference and Animal Science Roundup as a more advanced opportunity to see the ISU campus and learn more about the Animal Science program


An end of tour evaluation provided the following measures and comments:
85% said they would recommend this trip to others
57% said they learned one new thing in FSQA
52% said they learned one new thing about ISU
79% said they learned a lot at the meat lab
69% said they learned a lot at the teaching farm
66% said they learned a lot at the nutrition farm

Participant Comments:
What did you learn?
The trip to ISU was informational and helped me understand things like feed.
I learned what certain things to look for in ultrasound pictures.
We went really fast with lots of great info and not enough time.
I learned about the cows stomach and how it feels (very cool feeling inside of the stomach).
The white inside part of the corn kernel is starch.
There may be a problem in the future with the build up of co-products from ethanol plants.
I learned that ISU has two steers with windows.
I learned that the livestock judging team travels to 8 states and has won 20 national championships.
We learned how diseases are transmitted, and that ISU is more than Ag.
I learned what ultrasound was used for in cattle, and how meat tenderness is tested.
Angus can carry genetics for dwarfism.
Campus life at Iowa State is a blast.
I learned what PCR is
I learned how much the rumen holds

What will you do differently with your 4-H beef project animals?
Watch their alertness when working with animals, and keep track of their rations.
To incorporate feed additives I learned about into their rations
Try different feed rations.
Look at feeding distillers grains
Ill spend more time on nutrition and general care

What will you share with your 4-H club about the trip?
That seeing and feeling inside a steer was awesome!
Its more fun than you think.
What a cows stomach looks like.
It was a great opportunity to meet people and get a good look at Iowa State and what they have to offer.
I had a lot of fun!  I met new people and I learned things about beef that I didnt know.
All the jobs they can have in agriculture

A follow-up survey with county staff showed that twelve of the 102 participants are participating in State 4-H Conference or Roundup this summer, providing them another experience on the ISU campus.

Both county staff and youth have been asking about future trips, so we are in the process of designing a swine and horse trip for 2008.

 June 13, 2007
120 Farm and Business Management


Page last updated: June 19, 2007
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu