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Extension > Youth Development > Minnesota 4-H > 4-H at Minnesota county fairs > County fair judges

Judging 4-H at Minnesota county fairs

Minnesota 4-H depends on the skills, talents and dedication of hundreds of adults who judge 4-H projects at county fairs across Minnesota.

If you are, or have recently have been, active as a 4-H judge in Minnesota you are likely included in our database of county fair judges which means that you can log on to 4HOnline to view/edit your contact and profile information as well as participate in an online training designed especially for county fair judges.

To access your 4HOnline profile and/or take the training, click here for the user guide. (PDF)


Becoming a judge

If you are new to judging, or if you haven't judged in a while but would like to share your expertise with 4-H youth by judging projects that interest you, please give us some information about what and where you'd like to judge. (Note, you must be at least 19 yrs old and no longer eligible to enroll in 4-H.) You can either fill out an online survey or complete a form (PDF) and send it to us. We'll add your information to our 4HOnline judges database, which staff access to find judges for projects in their county fairs. If you have any questions, please contact us at or 1-612-624-2116.

Online training:

"Creating quality 4-H conference judging experiences"

All MN 4-H Judges are invited to take the online course "Creating Quality 4-H Conference Judging Experiences".

Click here for instructions to get started with the online training.

Our job in 4-H is to build blue ribbon young people--not blue ribbon projects! It is important for you to understand how to best interact with young people and how judges can help them learn and grow through this experience. For 4-H members, a judge is a very special person. In many cases members have spent significant time preparing their projects for exhibit and it is this adult waiting at a table at the fair or another showcase event that is there to help them reflect and apply what they have learned.

At the completion of this training, conference judges will be able to:

  • Describe the domains of a quality youth program experience.
  • Choose appropriate questions and responses when communicating as a 4-H judge.
  • Guide a quality experience for young people.

This training consists of three components and will take approximately 45 minutes to complete:

  • Downloading and printing 3 handouts - 5 minutes
  • Viewing the Course Module "Creating Quality 4-H Conference Judging Experiences: A training for 4-H Judges" - 30-35 minutes
  • Completing the Post Course Survey - 10 minutes

Rube Goldberg Machine Challenge: Judges' Orientation

This short video provides judges with information to ensure a quality conference judging experience for youth. It includes an overview of the RGM challenge, explanations of the judging criteria and scoring, and tips on what to look for when interviewing RGM team members.


Quality toolkit for
4-H judges

Create a quality judging experience

  • A welcoming atmosphere
  • Reflection
  • Encouragement

Click for more. (PDF)

Practical strategies to support youth with encouragement

As a 4-H judge, your comments and questions can encourage and support youth!

Click for more. (PDF)

Cloverbud judge's information sheet

It is important that 4-H Cloverbud evaluators understand the importance of their role, and represent positive models of the behavior we wish children to develop.

Click for more. (PDF)

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