Dairy Challenge


…at the Great New York State Fair

Printable Dairy Challenge Information Booklet

An educational activity for 4-H  youth to test their dairy management knowledge and skills, evaluate top quality animals, and receive experience in evaluation and decision making to further their success in the dairy industry.

When/Where: Dairy Challenge is normally a one day competition designed to test youth on their understanding of the dairy industry, and how to properly manage a dairy farm. This contest is held at the New York State Fair in late August. The statewide program is for youth 8-18 as of January 1st. The contest is set up as a rotation through various stations testing skills and knowledge of the dairy industry.

Who: 4-H youth between the ages of 8 and 18 as of January 1st.  Each County may choose an A (senior), B (junior), and C (novice) division with up to 4 members on each team. Each county may choose A and B division’s requirements.  C division includes youth age 10 and under as of January 1 (or any youth 13 and under as of Jan. 1 who have not previously competed in the specific contest at the State Fair).

Why: A is a great way to interact with other youth interested in dairy from across the State.  It’s a hands-on and fun educational activity for youth to test their dairy management knowledge and skills.

pic8How:  Contact your County 4-H Cornell Cooperative Extension Educator and register with your county.

What: Contest activities will consist of youth rotating through 9 different stations within their division. Youth will be tested on general knowledge in the following designated areas:

  1.  Dairy Judging- Participants will judge and place a class of 4 dairy animals
  2.  Linear Dairy Evaluation- Participants will observe dairy animals and answer a series of questions based on linear type evaluation
  3.  Farm and Food Safety- Hands-on activities and questions relating to safe practices involved with farm, livestock and machinery plus handling and production of food.
  4.  Dairy Nutrition and Feeds –Participants will identify feedstuffs and/or answer questions about the nutrition components and use in dairy cattle feeding programs.
  5.  Dairy Housing and Facilities- Activities will include questions and evaluation of housing facilities and management practices relate to cow and/or calf dairy facilities.
  6.  Meat Identification, Dairy Products and Quality Assurance of Dairy Beef- Activities will include identifying cuts of dairy beef and veal and a variety of dairy products through look, smell and taste. (May be cuts or photos/pictures)
  7.  Dairy Health and Diseases/ Mastitis and Biosecurity-Activities will include proper identification and use of equipment use for herd health along with testing participants understanding of herd health management.
  8.  Dairy Reproduction-Equipment and questions related to A.I. breeding and reproduction management for cows and heifers.
  9.  Farm Business Management- (For A and B division only) Participants will be tested on their understanding of basic farm business management concepts like debt, assets and budgeting along with analyzing and calculating financial statements.


Open to all bona-fide Dairy Cattle 4-Her’s and entry will be in A, B, or C divisions. Each county may choose A and B divisions’ requirement. C divisions includes youth age 10 and under as of January 1 who have not previously competed in Dairy Challenge at the State Fair.) Unless otherwise indicated, there are no specific age and/or experience restrictions regarding A vs. B Divisions. It is up to the counties to use their best judgment. Each county may enter a team of four (4) individuals in each division. Counties can enter individuals when a full team cannot be entered. Additional individuals from a county with a registered team may participate, but they are ineligible for individual rewards.

If a youth participants at the State Fair Contest and goes on to Harrisburg for the Dairy Management contest and places as high individual at the contest in a prior year, regardless of state or county representation, that youth is ineligible to compete at our State Dairy Challenge contest held at the State Fair in subsequent years or the Dairy management Contest.

If you have any questions about the program, please contact Debbie Grusenmeyer at djc27@cornell.edu

Contact: Debbie Grusenmeyer