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2002 Youth Cattle Working Contests

Livestock Update, February 2002

Bill R. McKinnon, Extension Animal Scientist, Marketing, 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 20, 2002. 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 Madison on March 2, Harrisonburg on April 6, and Dublin held on April 13. 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 animalšs 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 to 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 they 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 February 15 to compete in the Madison regional contest and by March 20 for the Harrisonburg and Dublin contests. Entry forms and additional contest information are available through local Extension offices, FFA advisors or by contacting Bill McKinnon in the Animal & Poultry Sciences Department at Virginia Tech.

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