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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Beef Cattle Competition Teaches Youth Farm to Market Management Techniques

November 9, 2010

WOOSTER, Ohio – The best quality steaks that consumers demand at the grocery store start with the right beef cattle management techniques on the farm, and Ohio youth can learn what it takes to be successful in the livestock industry through a "real world" Ohio State University Extension beef cattle production competition.

The Beef Performance and Carcass Quality Contest, which begins in December and culminates at the Ohio State Fair the following August, teaches Ohio 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA) youth the various management aspects of bringing a calf to market that exhibits the characteristics the industry looks for in USDA quality and yield grade beef.

"The goal of the competition is to take a 500-pound or 600-pound beef feeder calf and raise it to the market standard weight of about 1,200 pounds to 1,350 pounds and have it meet the industry quality standards of choice or prime grade, while limiting excess back fat which the industry frowns upon," said Carrie Pickworth, assistant professor and coordinator of beef and sheep production at Ohio State University's Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster, Ohio. "It teaches youth what it takes to be successful in the industry while rewarding them for traits that add value to a market beef animal."

The Beef Performance and Carcass Quality Contest has been held since 2006 with about 20 entries judged each year at the Ohio State Fair as part of the Junior Beef Show. The entries are based on a combination of growth performance and carcass characteristics and are determined using a grade vs. yield grid. Final ranking is based on the carcass value gained per day per industry expectations.

Pickworth said that about $2,000 inpremiums have been awarded to the top 10 exhibitors.

"We really look to the exhibitors as future role models in the livestock industry," said Pickworth. "They want to be involved in the industry and they want to do the right thing when it comes to following the steps of proper livestock management."

Sponsors that have supported the Beef Performance and Carcass Quality Program include Ohio State Fair, COBA Select Sires, Fairfield County Cattlemen's Association, Ohio Cattlemen's Association, Ohio Maine-Anjou Association, Muskingum Livestock Sales, United Producers, Ohio State Department of Animal Sciences, Ohio State Meat Laboratory, and Linde's Livestock Photos.

Youth interested in participating in the 2011 competition can contact Carrie Pickworth at 330-287-1375 or e-mail, and check their local OSU Extension county office for weigh-in information for the 2011 competition. Weigh-ins begin on Dec. 1. For more information, log on to

Candace Pollock
Carrie Pickworth