Beef Project

What is it All About?

The 4-H Beef Project allows you to learn about breeds, selection, grooming, production, management, showmanship, marketing and careers through a breeding or market animal.

Grow in Your Project

Starting Out

  • Identify different beef breeds
  • Learn proper feeding of cattle
  • Prepare a project animal for show by leading it and setting up its feet
  • Learn how to groom a beef animal
  • Identify common beef cuts of meat
  • Identify how a healthy calf looks and acts

Learning More

  • Learn the appropriate handling techniques and housing for beef cattle
  • Explore the difference between yield grade and quality grade
  • Learn the various methods of cooking different beef cuts
  • Explore a ruminant digestive system

Going Further

  • Balance a beef ration
  • Learn how to manage a cow and newborn calf
  • Learn about Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs)
  • Explore the technological impacts to beef breeding and reproduction
  • Properly identify and learn to treat common cattle diseases


Take Your Project Further!

  • Tour a beef ranch or visit a livestock auction
  • Interview a livestock fence supplier to find out more about animal care and safety
  • Learn about different brands in Wisconsin
  • Visit a local feed mill and see how feed ingredients are mixed, weighed and blended to make a complete ration
  • Visit a local meat locker or local grocery meat case to observe preparation and packaging
  • Job shadow with a local beef producer or veterinarian to learn about animal management and health
  • Attend a cattle show to listen to a judge give oral reasons and witness the differences in judging cattle
  • Participate in a livestock judging workshop or be on your county 4-H Livestock Judging Team at the Wisconsin State Fair
  • Discover different uses for beef products and by-products
  • Exhibit or attend local, regional or national beef shows and conferences

Applying Project Skills to Life

Enhance Your Communication Skills

  • Teach someone the important traits in selecting a breeding heifer
  • Design a poster demonstrating how to prepare beef cuts
  • Participate in a judging contest giving oral reasons
  • Share a presentation on the importance of following drug labels.

Get Involved in Citizenship and Service

  • Complete a beef promotion presentation during May, Beef Month
  • Provide beef taste testing at a grocery store to promote local food
  • Lead other 4-H members in participating in local beef producer events
  • Start a beef livestock judging team with the help of an adult volunteer
  • Prior to the county fair, lead a beef grooming and showmanship clinic
  • 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

Learn about Leadership

  • Lead other 4-H members in participating in local beef producer events
  • Arrange a tour of your farm your farm in your area
  • Start a livestock judging, meat judging, or livestock skill-a-thon team with help of an adult volunteer
  • Lead a beef grooming and showmanship clinic for other 4-H members

Showing What You’ve Learned

  • Participate in the 4-H beef show at county fair or the Wisconsin State Fair
  • Consider an exhibit, notebook or display on what you’ve learned in a beef-related topic
  • Nutritive value of beef
  • Beef meat cuts and proper preparation
  • Feeding rations
  • Preventative vaccinations
  • Photos of different beef breeds
  • Daily routine in caring for animals
  • Grooming techniques
  • Developing a foundation beef herd
  • Best care techniques for newborns
  • Beef by-products
  • Impact of local foods on local economy
  • Display of feeds or ration contents or analysis
  • How to Tattoo or Research how beef check-off dollars are used
  • Video on fitting a steer and/or heifer lo

Adapted with permission from Wyoming State 4-H, Project Information Sheet, Beef. Retrieved from:

*Resources available at your local Extension office or

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