Nebraska 4-H fed steer challenge beef project

The Nebraska 4-H Fed Steer Challenge is an opportunity for youth interested in learning more about the cattle industry and is designed to cultivate the next generation of leaders in the Nebraska cattle industry.

The goal of the Fed Steer Challenge is to enhance the educational value of the traditional 4-H beef projects by providing an affordable option that rewards production merit and carcass value of the market animal, along with accurate and complete record-keeping, industry knowledge, and producer engagement by the 4-H member.

Contest Components

  1. Raising a commercial steer
    • 4-H member selects and raises a commercial steer to finished market weight.
    • Utilize management and nutrition protocols similar to a commercial feedlot.
    • Maintain a detailed record book related to the management and feeding of the steer.
    • Exhibit steer in the 4-H Fed Steer Challenge class at the Nebraska State Fair where steers will be visually evaluated by a commercial cattle buyer representing a packer. 
    • Sell cattle on a Quality and Yield Based Carcass Grid.
    • Following the live exhibition, steers will be transported to a commercial packer, harvested and carcass data collected.
  2. Evaluation of 4-H member's knowledge and interpersonal skills
    • Knowledge related to their project and the cattle industry as a whole
    • Accuracy and details related to a record book
    • Interview with representatives from the cattle industry

Expectations & Responsibilities of Participants

Youth interested in participating in the Nebraska 4-H Fed Steer Challenge must:

  • Be an enrolled 4-H member and at least 14 years of age as of December 31 of the year current year.
  • Have the financial ability to purchase a market steer at the current market price in January (~$850) and obtain insurance for the market value of the steer.
  • Source a steer on their own or select a steer from a pool of identified program producers.
  • Obtain an official starting weight for their steer at a county 4-H weigh-in event. If their enrolled county does not have an official weight-in, youth may attend the weigh-in of any county.
  • Provide adequate facilities and adhere to YQCA practices to ensure proper management and well-being of the animal.
  • Actively participate in online and face-to-face educational programming offered by Nebraska Animal Science faculty. Must participate in a minimum of 90% of educational opportunities offered between January and December.
  • Exhibit Steer in the Nebraska Fed Steer market steer class at the  Nebraska State Fair. At that time, steers will be harvested at a commercial packer and participants will be paid based upon the current market value.
  • Maintain accurate production records related to raising the animal, complete the record book, and submit no later than October 15.
  • Develop and present a Project Showcase highlighting their project and knowledge gained to industry representatives.
  • Additional educational and networking opportunities may be identified throughout the year and youth should make every effort to fully participate.


Recognition and awards will be based upon:

  • Carcass merit and value
  • Growth performance
  • Record book
  • Showcase presentation and interview
  • Overall program score

2021 Schedule of Events

2021 contest application deadline EXTENDED to December 31, 2020 Online Application Form
Program admittance announcement early January Applicants will be notified directly
Participant webinar early January Zoom
Educational webinar February 11, 2021 Zoom
Education webinar March 11, 2021 Zoom
Educational webinar April 8, 2021 Zoom
Educational webinar May 13, 2021 Zoom
Educational webinar June 10, 2021 Zoom
Educational webinar July 8, 2021 Zoom
Educational webinar August 12, 2021 Zoom
Live animal exhibition TBD Nebraska State Fair
Grand Island, NE
Educational webinar September 9, 2021 Zoom
Educational webinar October 14, 2021 Zoom
Educational webinar November 11, 2021 Zoom
Awards Presentation December 2, 2021 Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation Luncheon

For questions about this program or the information on this page, please contact: