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Area Youth Programs

Animal Science and Quality Assurance Education

The following articles are helpful for the management of market beef projects. The articles were written in the point of view as if I (Cindy Kinder) enrolled as a beef project member.

Just as members do, I weighed-in my steer “Cowboy” in March and my fair date is Aug. 30 at the Open to the World Steer Show at the Twin Falls County Fair.

The following articles were written as a follow up to the above articles and contain additional management tips.

Remember when Cowboy did this?

The following articles are helpful for the management of market swine projects. The articles address some of the challenges of feeding and raising a project pig. The articles were written in the point of view as if I (Cindy Kinder) enrolled as a swine project member.

Animal Science Activities

Develop problem solving and critical thinking skills with these science activities. Science programs create hands-on learning experiences to encourage young minds and help fill our nation’s shortage of young leaders proficient in science, engineering and technology. Agriculture will continue to use science and technology to feed the world.

Below are experiments that are “Bringing out the Science.”

Below are some livestock and horse science experiments. Keep a journal of your experiments; Asking what, why, how and describing what you saw, smelled or touched, record any data. Adults should ask prodding questions during the experiments to challenge members to think and understand what is going on.

Science experiments topic titles for project animal work

Average daily gain (ADG) (pdf)

ADG supplemental activity 1 (pdf)

ADG supplemental activity 2 (pdf)

Livestock judging is a part of 4-H and FFA youth programs that youth can do very well and get excited about. They gain many benefits from competing on a livestock judging team. They interact with current and future leaders of the livestock industry. They also build life skills in critical thinking, oral presentations and personal confidence.

Livestock Evaluation

  • Judging 101 — Teach youth “How to Judge” five different species. Groups of participants rotate between classrooms, learning about all species using PowerPoint presentations and publications.
  • Judging 201 — Offer detailed species information and more hands-on with livestock. Live animals are used for teaching differences in muscle, structure, condition etc. Demonstrations of oral reasons are given and youth work directly with a personal coach to understand reasons format.
  • Judging 401 — Offer advanced topics in animal selection and scenarios, breeding and EPD’s. Classes also provide youth opportunity to advance their oral reason skills.
  • Southern Idaho Livestock Judging Camp — A three day advanced camp that hones participants oral reasons skills while they work with junior and senior college students. Youth and adult participants from six states have attended the annual event the last six years.
  • Judging Contests — Coordinated and networked with breed associations, summer show sponsors, FFA Chapters, the College of Southern Idaho judging team and U of I Ag Days to host multiple contests throughout the year.


How to Run a Judging Contest

A challenge or contest contains a series of one to six stations where participants test their animal and production knowledge and demonstrate their skills on a variety of production topics. Livestock species include, beef, sheep, goats and swine. Skill-a-thons have two parts; individual competition and team competition. Read the state contest guidelines for more details. 

Common Skill-a-thon classes for the individual competition

  • Livestock equipment identification
  • Livestock breed identification
  • Retail meat cut identification
  • Hay and wool judging class (judge the class and answer questions)
  • Quality assurance exercise (demonstrate a skill)
  • Livestock industry quiz (multiple choice)

Common Skill-a-thon classes for the team competition

  • Quality assurance exercise
  • Meat and carcass evaluation
  • Animal breeding scenario and exercise
  • Evaluation of performance and marketing information
  • Livestock feeding

Example Skill-a-thon cards

These cards have various formats. Challenge youth with the different format so they are accustomed to change.

Individual cards


Team activity cards

Cindy Kinder

Extension Educator

Gooding & Camas counties

208-764-2230 (Camas)


University of Idaho Extension, Gooding County

Mailing Address:
203 Lucy Lane
Gooding, ID 83330-1178

Phone: 208-934-4417

Fax: 208-934-4092



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