Nebraska 4-H, in collaboration with the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Department of Animal Science, offered the fifth year of the Nebraska 4-H Fed Steer Challenge in 2022.
The Fed Steer Challenge cultivates the next generation of leaders in the Nebraska cattle industry by providing youth with real-world opportunities in the beef sector. This challenge enhances the educational value of traditional 4-H beef projects and provides affordable options to reward production merit and market animal carcass value; accurate and complete record-keeping practices; industry and research knowledge; and producer engagement with the 4-H member.
The youth selected, purchased, exhibited, harvested, and analyzed carcass data on a steer while networking with industry professionals. Additionally, working as a learning cohort, they participated in monthly educational opportunities led by industry professionals and Animal Science faculty.
Alongside these youth, large crowds at the Nebraska State Fair receive expert instruction from a commercial cattle buyer about sorting and evaluating steers. This exemplifies real-world industry standards of carcass merit, grade ability, and finish. Unanimously, the youth participants agree the Fed Steer Challenge helped them gain valuable knowledge regarding the beef industry - namely, how to feed a market animal more efficiently. Because of their program involvement, participants plan to stay in the cattle industry to become future beef industry advocates.
The 2022 Nebraska participants and award winners included:
- Claire Ahrens, Sherman County – Third Place Overall, Third Place Growth Performance, Third Place Record Book
- Leah Christen, Pawnee County
- Abigail Gorecki, Buffalo County
- Nathan Gorecki, Buffalo County
- Eldon Haack, Franklin County – Second Place Carcass Merit
- Jaleigh Hallsted, Cuming County – Second Place Overall, First Place Record Book, Second Place Industry Interview
- Madison Hirschman, Howard County – Fourth Place Overall, Second Place Growth Performance, First Place Industry Interview
- Cassidy Maricle, Boone County
- Klaira Rasmussen, Howard County
- Nickolas Rohr, Frontier County
- Conner Snyder, Frontier County – First Place Overall, First Place Growth Performance, First Place Carcass Merit, Second Place Record Book, Third Place Industry Interview
- Treygan Srajhans, Fillmore County
- Noah Summers, Buffalo County – Third Place Carcass Merit
- Skyler Summers, Buffalo County – Fifth Place Overall, Second Place Industry Interview
The winners of each category receive cash prizes, and the overall winners will receive an additional $500 scholarship to the Nebraska College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.