Assuring Quality Care for Youth Animal Project

Each year, hundreds of youth in the 4-H and FFA Dairy, Beef, Sheep, Swine, and Meat Goat Projects raise, manage, and feed their project animals in hopes of a grand champion ribbon or making a quality meat sale at the county fair.  But how does a youth livestock project fit into real-world agriculture?

Recently Extension Regional Dairy & Livestock Agent Tina Kohlman taught 135 Wisconsin Jr Holstein Association members how their project animal fits into real-world agriculture through quality assurance training.

Youth involved in food animal exhibitions, by definition, are food animal producers. Youth food animal producers, at the culmination of the project, will sell their animal(s) and food products which are intended for human consumption.  Their project animals will eventually be a part of our food chain as a milk product from dairy cows or a meat product from livestock.  Knowledge and mastery of the science of genetics, nutrition, management, handling, and environment in relation to the youth’s food animal projects play a critical role in the success of producing safe and wholesome food products for consumers.

The training focused on food safety, animal well-being, and character awareness, where they learned animal handling, husbandry, and herd health management practices to improve dairy production management and animal health and well-being. Youth learned about the daily observation of their project animals, biosecurity practices, animal behavior, and proper animal handling.  When it comes to food safety, having animals properly identified for treatment and understanding what one is feeding their project is crucial when providing a healthy, wholesome food product to the consumer.

When youth have an understanding of how their animal project fits with real-world agriculture, it is a win-win for all!  For more information regarding Youth Quality Assurance, please visit

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