Explore the dairy industry, from raising a cow to dairy science and ethics to manufacturing and marketing dairy products. Topics include dairy cattle breeds, nutrition, feeding, identify parts of dairy cattle, desirable traits, stages of calving and care, and grooming and showing. Cows may be owned or leased.
Important project information:
State & regional events
To view county or local club events, visit the county website.
All youth participating as a State Fair 4-H livestock exhibitor in beef, dairy, sheep, swine, poultry, rabbit, meat and dairy goat, and lama must have completed the Livestock Quality Assurance and Ethics workshop. Certification is good for three fair seasons. The level of training required is determined by the grade of the youth at the time the training takes place.
Dates and locations vary by county. Check this list for more information.
A three-day workshop for teenagers wanting to improve their dairy cattle skills. The camp is open to all youth that have completed grades 6-11, but not yet started 12th grade. Activities include dairy workshops, dairy showmanship, the Gopher Gold Auction, dairy cattle judging clinic, and an evening activity. More info
- June 2013 - University of Minnesota, St. Paul Campus
This event recognized overall achievement of Minnesota 4-H Dairy Project exhibitors that have demonstrated year-round participation within 4-H and the dairy industry including:
- success with the animal
- knowledge of the dairy project and industry
- involvement within 4-H and dairy communities
- activities in school, church and community
- More info
- August 25, 2013 - Minnesota State Fairgrounds, St. Paul
200 youth from 4-H dairy projects around the U.S. and Canada gather in Madison, Wisconsin for the National 4-H Dairy Conference held annually in conjunction with World Dairy Expo. Participants learn about production, processing, marketing and use of dairy products, and develop a broader understanding of careers available in dairy production, biotechnology, genetics, marketing and other areas. The conference consists of participatory workshops on the University of Wisconsin campus, speakers, tours and visits to the World Dairy Expo. More info
- October 2013 - University of Wisconsin - Madison Campus
Project Bowls are an exciting way for youth to explore a project area. Teams compete in quiz competitions with questions about specific project areas. Project Bowls are available for Dairy, Dog, General Livestock (Beef, Sheep & Swine), Horse, Poultry, Rabbit and Wildlife projects. Winners of the regional bowls advance to the State Project Bowl. More info
Effectively evaluating breeding and market animals is highly important in the animal industry. Judging is an art developed through patient study and long practice. 4-Hers interested in Dairy, General Livestock (Beef, Sheep & Swine), Horses, Poultry, and Rabbits can learn to be a good judge by knowing the parts of the animal and their location, which parts are most important for meat and breeding stock production, making keen observations and comparing to the ideal, weighing the good and bad points of each animal, and much more. More info
- Check with your county for local county judging contests.
- State fair contest details in the State Fair Premium Book - Minnesota State Fairgrounds, St. Paul
4-H plays a pivotal role in youth development and public education at the Minnesota State Fair. Over 7,000 4-H youth have the opportunity to interact with the public and educate fairgoers through 4-H exhibits, demonstrations, performances, and 4-H promotion. More info
Dairy Project resources
Beginning to learn about dairy:
- Dairy Cattle 1 - Cowabunga! (40 pages) Find this in the 4-H Mall.
Some experience with this project:
- Dairy Cattle 2 - Mooving Ahead (40 pages) Find this in the 4-H Mall.
Looking for a challenge:
- Dairy Cattle 3 - Rising to the Top (40 pages) Find this in the 4-H Mall.
Learning resources for all levels:
- Learning About Dairy Resource Manual
- Project Brief: Dairy
- Character Connection: Dairy
- Skill-a-thon: What's that Cheese?
- 4-H Business Startup Guide: Working Animals
Project leader resources
- Dairy Cattle - Helper's Guide (40 pages) Find this in the 4-H Mall.
- Dairy Cattle - Set of Four (40 pages each) Find this in the 4-H Mall.
- Exploring Farm Animals - Helper's Guide (40 pages) Find this in the 4-H Mall.
- Dairy Foods Fun Book
- I'm a 4-H Project Leader. Now What Do I Do?
- Hoard's Dairyman: the national dairy farm magazine
- 4-H dairy cattle online activities
- Pattern for Realistic Cloth Model Calf Directions (PDF) and Pattern (PDF)
- MooMilk look at the dairy industry
- Hoards Dairyman Youth Corner
- Hoard's Dairy Facts (55 K PDF)
- Dairy Cow Unified Score sheet (530 K PDF)
- Feeding the Dairy Herd
- Dairy Cattle Judging Made Easy - Interactive CD
- National 4-H Dairy Conference Application
- Lifetime Dairy Record
- Virtual Farm
- Farmers Feed Us
- My American Farm
- Video: Identifying 4-H Dairy Project
- I.D. Tag Rules - New coming soon
- Current year: Dairy Genetic Information for Calves and Yearlings - available summer months
- Current year: Dairy Production and Genetic Information for Cows - available summer months
- National Dairy Production Averages 2013 (94 K PDF)
- Dairy Medallion Find this in the 4-H Mall.
- Practical Techniques for Dairy Farmers - BU-06414 (3rd Edition)
Available from Tony Seykora at 1-612-624-3448
Other online resources
- Animal Science Project Interviews - Junior Level (26 K PDF)
- Animal Science Project Interviews - Senior Level (26 K PDF)