Nebraska 4-H fed steer challenge beef project

Nebraska 4-H along with the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Department of Animal Science is offering the Nebraska 4-H Fed Steer Challenge. The Fed Steer Challenge is a new opportunity for youth 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 market weight (1,350 lbs).
    • Utilize management and nutrition protocol similar to a commercial feedlot.
    • Maintains detailed record book related to the management and feeding of the steer.
    • Steers will be displayed in the Nebraska 4-H Fed Steer Challenge Commercial Cattle Class at the 2019 Nebraska State Fair.
    • Steers will be visually evaluated by a commercial cattle buyer representing a packer.
    • Predicted carcass merit (USDA Quality Grade and Yield Grade) and market value.
    • 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.
  • Participate in pickup date for their animal in January (location TBD).
  • 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.
  • Present the outcomes of your project at the Nebraska Cattlemen Conference in Kearney, NE in December. 


Recognition and awards will be based upon:

  • Carcass merit and value
  • Record book
  • Project presentation
  • Interview


Live animal exhibition TBD Nebraska State Fair
Grand Island, NE
2019 Industry interviews and awards ceremony December 5, 2019 Nebraska Cattleman's Convention
Kearney, NE
2020 contest application deadline December 6, 2019 Online Application Form
Program admittance announcement TBD Applicants will be notified directly
Cattle selection day mid-January 2020 TBD
Live animal exhibition TBD Nebraska State Fair
Grand Island, NE

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