Livestock Skillathon

Livestock Skillathon Contest Pre-Registration Forms are on the Fair Forms and Information page.

Education Coordinator – Dana Palmer


    1. To provide youth with the opportunity to blend knowledge and skills acquired in livestock judging, demonstrations, care and exhibition of animals into one activity.
    2. To provide youth who have no opportunities for livestock ownership with an opportunity to learn about the importance of livestock and their products to the environment and economy.
    3. To encourage youth to continue expanding their knowledge and participation.
    4. To recognize youth for their total involvement in and comprehension of the livestock industry.
    5. To instill ethical values, good sportsmanship and product evaluation skills.
    1. Each county may enter an unlimited number of Senior and/or Junior teams and individuals.
    2. A team will consist of 3 or 4 members.  Team scores will be a total of the three high individual scores from the designated team.
    3. Each contestant must be at least 8 years of age and in third grade or higher by January 1 of the current year and less than 19 years of age on January 1 of the current year.
    4. Junior Division is open to those youths who have not reached their 14th birthday before January 1 of the current year.
    5. Senior Division is open only to those youth who have reached their 14th birthday as of January 1 of the current year and who have not reached their 19th birthday as of January 1 of the current year.
    6. Individuals who have enrolled in a post secondary university, college, junior college or technical institute animal science course are not eligible for participation.
    7. Only Senior team members may be selected to advance to the national level to represent New York State. Staff who are responsible for more than one county and are working with youth in those respective counties may enter those youth as a combined county team.  However, the team name must list the counties in which the youth represented on the team are enrolled for insurance coverage. All individuals will receive participation recognition.  Contestants may be divided into groups for the contest.  They will remain in these groups for the duration of the contest.  Questions for information or clarification of instructions should be directed to group leaders or officials.
  3. FORMAT:
    The format will be as follows: Contestants will participate in individual activities and team oriented exercises.

    1. Written Quiz 25 questions (100 points possible per person).  Individuals will complete the exam independently.  Potential topics are nutrition, health, breeding, management, genetics and current industry topics.
    2. Identification (50 points possible per topic).  Individuals may be asked to identify retail meat cuts, livestock equipment, feeds and breeds, evaluate cuts of meat and hay or wool samples and complete a quality assurance exercise.
    3. Team Questions (100 points possible per topic).  Team participation will be required in a quality assurance exercise, evaluation of livestock feeding and/or performance information, and an animal breeding or marketing scenario and exercise.

    Station topics may be changed or substituted as needed

    1. The New York State 4-H Skillathon Team is selected from the high scoring seniors.  These finalists will be eligible to participate in a nationally sponsored contest.  The coach of the high scoring senior county team will serve as the coach of the state team.
    2. All participants will receive recognition.
    3. Ribbon to each individual in the top five teams of each division.
    4. Ribbon to top ten individuals in each division.
    5. State team will also receive recognition.

    Note:  Due to scheduling, youth competing in the National 4-H Livestock Judging Contest must be different from those competing in the National 4-H Livestock Skillathon contest in Kentucky.
    Refer to: North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE).

      1. University of Kentucky – Skillathon Contest Resource Packet
      2. Ohio State Learning Lab Kits – borrow from our Resources page.  Also available at the Ohio State website or by contacting Communications and Technology Media Distribution (614) 292-1607 or go to the “contact us” on their website to order.
        • Ohio Beef Resource Handbook 4-H 117R
        • Ohio Sheep Resource Handbook 4-H 194R
        • Ohio Swine Handbook 4-H Circular 134R
      3. SID – Sheep Industry Development Sheep Production Handbook.  The 7th edition was published by the American Sheep Industry Association, Inc. at 6911 South Yosemite Street, Centennial, Colorado, 80112. 303-771-3500. For more info contact: or
      4. NYS Beef Quality Assurance Program Manual. Contact the NYS Cattle Health Assurance Program
      5. National Pork Producers
      6. New York Pork Producers
      7. University of Nebraska Meat Identification
      8. Texas A&M 4-H (Senior Division) and FFA Meat CDE Retail Identification
      9. Oklahoma State University Breed Identification page
      10. Cornell University Sheep Program Website
      11. Ohio Goat Resource Handbook 135R

Contact: Dana Palmer