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Replacement Beef Heifer Development Contest

2017-2018 4-H / FFA Replacement Beef Heifer Development Contest Winners hold certificates while posing in front of a red cattle trailer
2017-2018 4-H/FFA Replacement Beef Heifer Development Contest Winners
L-R: Ronnie Herrington, Herrington Brothers (trailer sponsor); 1st place: Rylie Melancon; 2nd place: Mary Beth Ainsworth; 3rd place: Olivia Branum; 4th place: Marlee Turner (not pictured); 5th place: Laney Anderson; finalist: Jenna Fullington; finalist: Jace Welborn; finalist: Brandt Sowell; and Anna Vowell


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4-H & FFA livestock projects have been one of the most successful activities at teaching youth and their family about responsibility and care for their livestock.  The objective of the 4-H/FFA Replacement Beef Heifer Development Contest is to recognize youth who have a true passion for raising beef cattle.  This is a ten (10) month contest where the contestant would be personally responsible for the daily management of their heifers.  In competing in the heifer development contest, it is anticipated that the participants and adults around the state will learn proper heifer development practices and procedures.  The contest is designed to encourage young beef producers to participate in a practical beef heifer development program.

Design of Contest

The 4-H & FFA Heifer Development Contest is a ten (10) month project.  It will start on November 1, 2018 and conclude on the final contest weekend of August 9-10, 2019.  An entry form is required prior to November 1 to be submitted to Dr. Dean Jousan, Extension 4-H Livestock Specialist.  The location of the final portion of contest will be determined at a later time.

4-H & FFA members must be individual entrants to the contest unless two (2) or more brothers or sisters, each at least 14 years of age but not over 18 years of age as of January 1 of the current year in which the contest begins, of a family constitute a joint entry.  If the entrant is in college, he/she must personally manage and care for their heifers on a daily basis by commuting from home to school.  It is not permissible to have someone else care for the heifers while away at school.

The heifer development project must consist of three (3) heifers (purebred or commercial) that are either fall born from the previous year or spring born of the current year in which the contest begins.  While not mandatory, the heifers can be exhibited in junior shows.  Heifers can be purchased from a purebred or commercial producer or be selected from family operations of an immediate family member (parent, stepparent, brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, grandparent or legal guardian).  NOTE: If registered or commercial beef heifers are used in the project and are to be shown at the Mississippi State Fair or District and Dixie National Junior Round-Up Livestock Shows, the ownership rules and regulations as printed in those premium books will still apply.

This contest is designed to evaluate the youth producer’s ability to manage the heifers rather than the genetic selection of the heifers.  Therefore, participants using purebred and commercial heifers will be judged together without preference given to breed or breed type.

Contestants will be judged on all managerial aspects of their heifer development project.  Youth can take advantage of FSA farm loans totaling $5,000.  Participants will be encouraged to take advantage of Extension agents, advisors and experienced producers in selecting quality heifers and discussing production cost.

Girl presenting her 2016 heifer development project.

Evaluation System

By November 1, 2018, an entry form must be submitted to the Extension 4-H Livestock Specialist.  This will determine the number of contestants and create a record of preliminary information about heifers selected for this project.  Initial criteria to be included on the entry form would include the animals’ age, weight, breed, and starting value (purchase price) for each animal.  In addition, each entrant should submit their goals for the project.  If registered heifers are used, the entry should include a photocopy of that animal(s) registration paper.

Potential heifers to be chosen for the contest should be born in the fall of 2017 or the spring of 2018.  Any heifer with a sign of 3-year old teeth will be eliminated at the contest site, regardless of a registered or printed birth date for that heifer.

All participants must submit a record book prior to evaluation of the heifers that must be received by ADS no later than July 26, 2019.  Records could be kept in a spreadsheet, notebook or other system that is decided upon by the exhibitor(s).  Specific records that should be kept throughout the year and submitted can be found in the Records section below.  Entrants will be notified by letter where the record books should be sent closer to the deadline.

All three (3) heifers entered in the contest should be taken to the contest site for final judging.  No heifer may be substituted during the contest.  In addition, before a heifer is removed from the contest for a management reason, please notify Roy Higdon (, Dean Jousan ( or Cobie Rutherford ( beforehand.

A 4-h participant holding a remote during a slide presentation.

The 4-H & FFA Heifer Development Contest will be made up of 3 components: a visual appraisal of the heifers, a record keeping system and an interview process.

  • Visual Evaluation:  A committee of judges will evaluate each group of three (3) heifers managed by the contestant.  Criteria that will be evaluated include weight, frame score, growth, body condition score, health, structural/skeletal soundness, and pregnancy status.  Exhibitors should provide a letter from their veterinarian that summarizes the pregnancy status of each their heifer (whether each heifer is bred and for how many days) or submit a copy of the pregnancy status results if a pregnancy determination kit was used.  In addition, each entrant will be judged on their overall knowledge of phenotypic characteristics of their heifers.  This component of the contest will be worth 20%.
  • Records:  Youth will be required to submit records kept throughout the entire ten (10) month project.  At the start of the project, contestants will be asked to list short- and long-term goals for their heifer project.  In addition, during each month of the project, the contestant should record anything that was done to his/her heifers.  Examples would include recording the amount of feed, hay or other nutritional supplements purchased or fed, veterinarian expenses and other health-related costs, breeding decisions, rotational grazing of pastures, a complete budget/expense sheets and any other management issue in which the youth had to make a decision for the continued development of his/her heifers.  At the conclusion of the project, youth should address whether or not they were able to achieve the goals that they set at the start of the project.  These records will be judged on their completeness and exactness during the contest year.  This component of the contest will be worth 30%.
  • Interview:  A committee of judges will interview the exhibitor on their individual production practices.  The exhibitor will give a presentation (PowerPoint is recommended) to summarize his/her heifer development project.  This presentation can include anything relevant to the contestant’s project (goals for project and if they were accomplished, pictures to illustrate the project, etc).  Each exhibitor will then answer questions from the committee in regard to their project, such as the process used to select the heifers, record keeping system used, nutrition program, bull used for breeding purposes, health records and any production practices utilized by the exhibitor during this contest.  This component of the contest will be worth 50%.

The criteria that will make up each category will be determined by a committee of individuals including, but not limited to, area livestock agents, cattle producers, and extension specialists and cattle association members.  All ties would be broken using the interview score followed by the record book.  The committee of judges for the contest would include the same type of individuals mentioned in this paragraph within Mississippi or in nearby states.


Awards will be announced when the final results are presented at the MS State Fair before the start of beef showmanship.  The past overall winning individual/team cannot compete in future 4-H/FFA Replacement Beef Heifer Development Contests.  However, if a team of siblings competes, they can declare one (1) person on that team to receive the awards associated with their final placing.  This designation must be made by final record submission or at check-in of the heifers at the contest site.  To fund this project, sponsorship is sought from industry, county cattlemen’s associations, breed associations, and individuals recognizing the value and importance of this contest.  Your tax-deductible donation can be made to the Mississippi Cattlemen’s Foundation and earmarked for the Heifer Development Project.

Disclaimer: Awards and prizes awarded each year are subject to change without prior notice and are established on a yearly basis based on sponsorships.

Importance of Project

This contest should provide an authentic experience for youth that choose to participate in this contest.  Not only will youth learn valuable information that they can use for a lifetime, but the cattle industry can benefit as young cattlemen and cattlewomen will be educated producers in the future.  These youth can be a positive influence on their own family’s cattle production system and share their insights with other cattle producers around the state, causing adults to think more about their own management decisions too.


The 4-H/FFA Replacement Beef Heifer Development Contest would not be possible without the support of numerous individuals and businesses.  Our 2017-2018 sponsors include: B&B Cattle Co.; Bouie River Beefmasters; Campo Farms; Carcass Performance Partners Bull Sale – Rocky Hollow Farms; Courtesy Motors, Inc.; Herrington Brothers; McDaniel Farms; Mississippi Ag; Mississippi Simmental/Simbrah Association; Mississippi State University Extension; Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association; American Livestock Insurance; PMCC, LLC; Red Fox Farm; Southeast Mississippi Livestock; Southern Producers Heifer Sale Group; and T. Smith Company.   

Previous Contest Winners

2017-2018 Contest

1st – Rylie Melancon, Lincoln County

2nd – Mary Beth Ainsworth, Lawrence County

3rd – Olivia Branum, Pearl River County

4th – Marlee Turner, Alcorn County

5th – Laney Anderson, Lincoln County

Finalist – Anna Vowell, Leake County

Finalist – Jenna Fullington, Hinds County

Finalist – Brandt Sowell, Madison County

Finalist – Jace Welborn, Jasper County

2016-2017 Contest

1st – Amelia Buckley, Covington County

2nd – Olivia Branum, Pearl River County

3rd – Trent Howe, Stone County

4th – Anna Vowell, Leake County

5th – Nathan Pulliam, Stone County

Finalist – Colleen Ellzey, Jones County

Finalist – Ashleigh Hickman, Forrest County

Finalist – Claire Posey, Lincoln County

Finalist – Rowdy Anderson, Jones County

Finalist – Meribeth Hales, Lauderdale County

Finalist – Justin Klunk, Pike County (Justin passed away in a tragic accident a few days after completing the contest.  He was passionate about trading cattle and enjoyed outdoor activities and the Pike County 4-H Club.  He will always be remembered for his excitement for this contest.)


2015-2016 Contest

1st – Rustin Anderson, Jones County

2nd – Claire Harris, Scott County

3rd – Olivia Branum, Pearl River County

4th – Danielle Solomon, Marion County

5th – Amelia Buckley, Covington County

Finalist – Will Watts, Lincoln County

Finalist – Macey Nelson, Pike County

Finalist – Kalyn Smith, Leake County

Finalist – Emma O’Neal, Tate County

Finalist – Colt Prisock, Oktibbeha County

Finalist – Justin Klunk, Pike County

Finalist – Meribeth Hales, Lauderdale County


2014-2015 Contest

1st – Emily Vowell, Smith County

2nd – Danielle Solomon, Marion County

3rd – Justin Klunk, Pike County

4th – Colt Prisock, Oktibbeha County

5th – Emma O’Neal, Tate County


2013-2014 Contest

1st – Jonah Bankston, Pike County

2nd – Katlyn Harris, Scott County

3rd – Emily Vowell, Smith County

4th – J.T. Prisock, Oktibbeha County

5th – Colt Prisock, Oktibbeha County


2012-2013 Contest

1st – Will Gibson, Newton County

2nd – Cameron Crawford, Pike County

3rd – Cheyenne Ladner, Pearl River County

4th – Natalie McCormick, Pearl River County

5th – J.T. Prisock, Oktibbeha County

6th – Jacob Manning, Forrest County


2011-2012 Contest

1st – Jimmy Stewart, Stone County

2nd – Will Gibson, Newton County

3rd – Lane Gandy, Covington County

4th – Jacob Stewart, Stone County

5th – Cameron Crawford, Pike County

6th – Josh Vowell, Smith County

7th – Chip Gibson, Lee County


2010-2011 Contest

1st – Jessica Smith, Pearl River County

2nd – Corrine Jackson, Webster County

3rd – Jimmy Stewart, Stone County

4th – Josh Vowell, Smith County

5th – Morgan Lane, Stone County

6th – Morgan Howe, Stone County


2009-2010 Contest

1st – Arizona Parden, Stone County

2nd – Josh Vowell, Smith County

3rd – Corrine Jackson, Webster County

4th – Tyler Neal, Scott County

5th – Ty Ladner, Pearl River County

6th – Daniel Wicker, Franklin County


2008-2009 Contest

1st – Michael Buckley, Covington County

2nd – Alan Smith, Pearl River County

3rd – Chelsea Adams, Marion County

4th – Bonnie Tartt, Lauderdale County

5th – Garrett Bond, Stone County

6th – Cody Maske, Newton County

7th – Wes Herrington, Jones County

8th – J.J. Hitt, Calhoun County

9th – Matthew Baxter, Stone County

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Publication Number: P1423
Publication Number: P0799
Publication Number: P2263


A young girl and her mother are pictured with their horse.
Filed Under: 4-H, 4-H Livestock Program, Youth Livestock May 22, 2018

It was inevitable that Lauren Bryant would at least try 4-H.

Her father’s family has been active in the Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H Youth Development Program for two generations. And she has attended 4-H events since she was a toddler.

Now, the 11-year-old is showing her own livestock and participating in various 4-H activities through the Extension Service in Tippah County.

“Lauren is a third-generation 4-H’er,” explained her mother, Leigh Bryant. “Her granddad and her daddy were both 4-H’ers.”

Filed Under: 4-H, Youth Livestock April 27, 2018

RAYMOND, Miss. -- The 4-H Livestock Club in Hinds County has deep roots. And now that history is on display for all to see at the Multi-Purpose Livestock Building on the Hinds Community College campus.
Agents of the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Hinds County found hundreds of documents, photos and other memorabilia related to the club when they were moving their office from Jackson to Raymond a few years ago.
“We found two filing cabinets full of things dating back to the club’s beginning in the 1930s,” said Extension agent Theresa Hand. “We didn’t even know one of those cabinets was there.”

A young man kneels next to his goat at the Dixie National Sale of Junior Champions.
Filed Under: 4-H, 4-H Livestock Program, Youth Livestock February 9, 2018

Tyler Branch has been showing goats since he was 8 years old, and all his years of hard work really paid off this week.

Chickasaw County 4-H members placed in the top 10 in consumer decision making at the Western National 4-H Roundup in Denver. Team members (from left) Shelby Abrams, Gracie Vickers, Lessie Vickers and Gage Vanlandingham earned sixth high point team overall, third high team overall, and eighth high team in overall reasons and overall group think. Vickers also placed second in individual high points. They are joined by Mississippi State Extension Service program associate Angie Abrams. (Submitted photo)
Filed Under: 4-H, Youth Livestock January 25, 2018

Mississippi 4-H teams and individual members recently landed several top 10 finishes in a variety of categories when they competed in the Western National 4-H Roundup in Denver.

A young girl stands beside a cow at the Mississippi State Fair.
Filed Under: 4-H, Youth Livestock October 12, 2017

You see the Ferris wheel lit up, you smell the funnel cakes and you hear barn animal sounds….That’s right! It’s the Mississippi State Fair! Many 4-H’ers from across the state travel to Jackson for a chance to compete in the show ring. We wanted to share some of our favorite pictures from this past weekend!

Success Stories

A man and two girls stand in a barn with three horses.
Youth Livestock, Equine
Volume 4 Number 1

Mississippi 4-H youth horse instructor Tom McBeath takes great pride in having taught two generations of students, and he is now recognized as one of the best in the country at what he does.

young males and females of various ages with black Angus heifers in livestock show
Youth Livestock
Volume 3 Number 3

The 2017 Dixie National Sale of Junior Champions saw 43 champion market animals auctioned at the annual sale. During the weeklong 2017 Dixie National Livestock Show in Jackson, judges selected 14 hogs, 10 goats, 10 lambs, and 9 steers for the sale. 


Farmweek, Entire Show, Nov 13, 2015, #19

Season 39 Show #19

Thursday, November 12, 2015 - 6:00pm
Born For The Show Ring Feature
Extension Stories

Born for the Show Ring

Thursday, June 25, 2015 - 7:00pm


Contact Your County Office


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Your Extension Experts

Extension Agent IV*
Pike County Extension Agent; Agriculture and Natural Resources; 4-H Youth Development; County Extens
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Small Ruminants/4-H Livestock/Judging Team Coordinator/SARE Associate
Associate Extension Professor
Extension 4-H Livestock Specialist
Assoc Extension/Research Prof
Beef Cattle, Nutrition, Management
Extension Agent IV*
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