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Replacement Beef Heifer Development Contest

The heifer development contest winners at the Mississippi State Fair.
2016 Heifer Development Contest winners at the Mississippi State Fair.
L-R: Danielle Solomon; Kalyn Smith; Rustin Anderson; Emma O’Neal; Justin Klunk; Colt Prisock; Amelia Buckley; Macey Nelson; Olivia Branum; Claire Harris; and Will Watts


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, 2016 and conclude in early August, 2017.  An entry form is required prior to November 1 to be submitted to Dr. Dean Jousan, Extension 4-H Livestock Specialist.  The location(s) of the contest will be determined and announced at a later date. 

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, 2016, 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 2015 or the spring of 2016.  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 set of records prior to evaluation of the heifers no later than August 1, 2017.  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.

A young man presenting at the Replacement Beef Heifer Development contest.

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, no heifer should be removed from the contest without prior approval from Roy Higdon ( or Dean Jousan (

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 reproductive ultrasound evaluation.  In addition, each entrant will be judged on their salesmanship skills and 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 10-15 minute presentation (can use PowerPoint or other visuals) 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.  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 Cattlemen’s Foundation and earmarked for the Heifer Development Project.

Disclaimer: Awards and prizes given 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 2015-2016 sponsors include: B&B Cattle Co.; Campo Farms; Carcass Performance Partners Bull Sale – Triple S Simmental; 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; T. Smith Company; and The Wax Company. 

Download the Entry Form here

Previous Contest Winners

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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Tom McBeath of Union, Mississippi, explains a riding pattern he will judge to a group of young women. McBeath, a long-time volunteer with the Mississippi 4-H Program, is the American Youth Horse Council Adult Leader of the Year. (Photo by Jeff Homan)
Filed Under: Youth Livestock, Equine May 10, 2017

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A long-time volunteer with the Mississippi 4-H program is the American Youth Horse Council Adult Leader of the Year.

Tom McBeath of Union, Mississippi, received the honor at the recent American Youth Horse Council symposium in Wakefield, Massachusetts. He has spent nearly four decades working with youth to establish strong foundations for successful experiences with horses.

Twelve-year-old Carson Keene shows off his champion Duroc hog for bidders at the 2017 Dixie National Sale of Junior Champions Feb. 9, 2017, as his stepsister, Alexandra Pittman, looks on. (Photo courtesy of Jeff L. Homan)
Filed Under: Youth Livestock February 10, 2017

JACKSON, Miss. -- Before Carson Keene sold his grand champion Duroc hog at the Dixie National Sale of Junior Champions, he had a conversation with his family about where the proceeds should go.

The 12-year-old 4-H'er and sixth-grader at Presbyterian Christian School in Petal had known for several months that his 6-year-old schoolmate Noelle Carter was awaiting treatment at Batson Children's Hospital for liver cancer. He decided to donate the auction proceeds to Carter's family.

“Our school was raising money, and I wanted to try to do something, too,” Keene said.

Jasper County 4-H member Lacie Winn finished her 4-H livestock project career at the Mississippi State Fair in Jackson, Mississippi. Winn placed with Drake, her European crossbred steer, in the competition on Oct. 8, 2016. (Submitted photo)
Filed Under: 4-H Livestock Program, Youth Livestock, Women for Agriculture October 28, 2016

By Jessica Smith
MSU Extension Service

LOUIN, Miss. -- For one Jasper County 4-H member, a junior livestock show career has come full circle.

Lacie Winn, 18, has competed in 4-H livestock shows across the state since 2006. The youth development program is managed by the Mississippi State University Extension Service and open to youngsters from 5-18 years of age.

Alex Deason, 4-H agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Sunflower County, left, helps his 4-H members with one of the four hogs they had in the Dixie National Sale of Junior Champions on Feb. 11, 2016, in Jackson, Mississippi. Anna Grace Rowland, second from left, Sherman Timbs and Sarah Thomas Smith shaved Deason’s head after they won a friendly bet with him by getting four pigs in the sale. (Photo by MSU Extension/Kevin Hudson)
Filed Under: Youth Livestock February 12, 2016

JACKSON, Miss. -- Alex Deason made members of his 4-H livestock judging team a deal they could not resist.

“I told them if any of them could get a hog in the Dixie National Sale of Junior Champions, they could shave my head,” said Deason, 4-H agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Sunflower County.

The 4-H’ers took this wager seriously. They not only got one hog in the sale. Team members got four hogs in the sale. And Deason? He has a freshly shaven head.

Filed Under: Youth Livestock April 20, 2015

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Young people and adult coaches interested in honing their livestock judging skills have several opportunities at upcoming Mississippi State University camps.

The MSU Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences will hold two residential camps and two half-day camps in May and June.

Participants will judge sheep, meat goats, hogs and beef cattle, and they will learn to develop oral reasoning skills.

Success Stories

young males and females of various ages with black Angus heifers in livestock show
Youth Livestock Extension Matters: 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


Monday, October 2, 2017 - 2:00am
Thursday, September 7, 2017 - 4:15am
Thursday, June 1, 2017 - 1:00am
Thursday, May 11, 2017 - 1:00am

Contact Your County Office


Associate Extension Professor
Extension 4-H Livestock Specialist

Your Extension Experts

Extension Agent IV*
Pike County Extension Agent; Agriculture and Natural Resources; 4-H Youth Development; County Extens
Extension Associate III
Small Ruminants/4-H Livestock/Judging Team Coordinator/SARE Associate
Extension Professor
Extension Swine/Mississippi Pork Producers Association Executive Secretary
Associate Extension Professor
Extension 4-H Livestock Specialist
Asst Extension/Research Prof
Beef Cattle, Nutrition, Management
Area Extension Agent III
Area Agent Animal Science/ Forages