In the 4-H beef project you can select from a breeding animal or a market animal. Breeding animals allow you to start your own herd while market animals produce meat products for people. 

  • Learn basic principles of animal science by owning, caring for, and keeping records on one or more head of livestock. 
  • Demonstrate knowledge of sound breeding, feeding, and management practices. 
  • Learn value of scientific research in its influence on animals and the meat industry. 

Ideas for Project Area Learning!

  • Train you calf to lead
  • Learn about all of the different beef by-products
  • Recognize a healthy animal
  • Ramp up your judging and meat grading skills
  • Understand medication uses, storage, how to administer the medication and how it relates to food safety.
  • Learn the appropriate handling techniques and appropriate housing for beef cattle.
  • Learn about EPD's and select a sire for your animal.
  • Balance a beef ration and understand feed quality.
  • Learn about breeding and reproductive techniques.

Share What You Learn With Others!


  • Teach someone the important traits in selecting a breeding heifer.
  • Create a poster showing the beef cuts and how to prepare them.
  • Share a presentation on the importance of following drug labels.


  • Volunteer to do beef promotion presentations during May beef month.
  • Provide beef taste testing at a grocery store to promote local food.
  • Volunteer to help at the county fair weigh-in.


  • Arrange a tour of your farm.
  • Start a beef livestock judging team with help of an adult.
  • Lead a beef grooming and showmanship clinic for other 4-H members.

Exhibit Ideas

Participate in the 4-H beef show at county or Iowa State Fair.

  • Breeding heifer
  • Market beef
  • Showmanship

Consider an exhibit, notebook or display showing what you've learned in a beef-related topic.

  • Feeding rations
  • How to tattoo
  • Video of fitting a steer or heifer
  • Preventative vaccinations
  • Daily routine in care of animals