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2003 Youth Cattle Working Contest

Livestock Update, March 2003

Mark L. Wahlberg, Extension Animal Scientist, 4-H Livestock, VA Tech

The Virginia Beef Expo again with be host to the state championship of the Youth Cattle Working Contest in Harrisonburg on Saturday, April 19, 2003. The Youth Cattle Working Contest has been a popular educational and spectator event at the Beef Expo for nearly a decade. The competition requires 4-H and FFA members to demonstrate their knowledge of beef quality assurance principles and their skill at cattle processing.

The working contest at the Beef Expo serves as the state championship with the top teams from three earlier regional contests. The three regional contests include those at Abingdon on March 29, Madison on April 5, and Dublin held on April 12. A total of ten teams will compete at the Beef Expo selected from the three regional contests.

Each three-person team is required to work three or four head of 300 to 600 pound feeder cattle through working facilities and properly catch each animal's neck in a head gate. The teams typically administer health products including clostridial and viral respiratory vaccines, growth implants, deworming agents, and ear tags. Before the processing begins, each team is given a list of the treatments to be administered, product label information, and a cattle processing map. The teams are required complete the processing plan by determining dosage rates, administration routes, product withdrawals times, etc.

The teams are primarily evaluated on their processing plan, the manner in which handle the cattle, and their processing technique with speed accounting for only 10% of the team score.

The Youth Cattle Working competition is open to bonafide 4-H and FFA members who are 14-19 years of age as of January 1. Teams may represent county 4-H programs, FFA chapters, or junior breed groups. Teams must be entered on an official entry form by March 20 for all regional contests. Entry forms and additional contest information are available through local Extension offices, FFA advisors or by contacting Mark Wahlberg in the Animal and Poultry Science Department at Virginia Tech. In addition, rules, entry forms, and other details relative to the Youth Cattle Working Contest can be obtained at the VT Beef Extension website, which is

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