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Dairy cows along a fence line
Cooperative Extension: 4-H Youth Leadership

Dairy Opportunities

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About the 4-H Dairy Heifer Project

The 4-H Dairy Project is an independent or club project which engages youth ages 5-18 in learning life skills while working with dairy cows and replacement heifers. Participants will receive show dates, deadline reminders, and dairy related information through the South Carolina 4-H Livestock Program Facebook page and Clemson Spring Dairy Show Facebook page. A variety of educational events will be held throughout the year including dairy judging workshops and practice opportunities, fitting and showmanship clinics, junior breed organization events and various scholarships.

show ribbons
two girls with their dairy cows
girl practicing for dairy judging
dairy cow face

Project Objectives

  • Develop leadership, initiative, self-reliance, a sense of fair play and other desirable character traits.

  • Develop integrity and sportsmanship by caring for, training, and showing a dairy heifer.

  • Increase experience with and knowledge about the dairy industry and dairy products.

  • Develop a better understanding of basic dairy heifer anatomy, nutrition, management and healthcare.

  • Stimulate positive public interest in the dairy industry.


Dairy Heifer Project

The Dairy Heifer Project provides opportunities for youth to learn about dairying and the dairy industry. The Dairy Heifer Project began in 1974 and was designed to provide boys and girls in South Carolina an opportunity to raise a dairy heifer and experience the dairy industry, and then sell their heifer at the South Carolina Dairy Bred Heifer Sale before she begins milking. The project is a long-term (approximately 20 months) project. Youth receive their heifers by random draw when they are 3-4 months old, care for and show, and then sell them as a bred heifer in the SC Youth Dairy Heifer Sale. In addition, the SC Dairy Bred Heifer Sale serves as an excellent source of herd replacements for South Carolina dairymen.

Dairy Judging

The Dairy Judging is a 4-H program which develops self-motivation, self-esteem, and responsibility. Youth can strengthen their communication, decision making, and leadership skills. The two main components of the contest are placing classes of animals and then justifying placing decision through a set of oral reasons. Participants compare their opinion of an animal against the ideal as specified by industry experts and learn organizational skills as they compose their thoughts into a cohesive set of reasons justifying their decisions.

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Clemson Spring Dairy Show and Junior Dairy Weekend

The Clemson Spring Dairy Show and Junior Dairy Weekend, hosted by Clemson Extension is a regional dairy show that is open to all youth and adults who are interested in showcasing their cattle. This event held at the T. Ed Garrison Livestock Arena, Clemson, SC is traditionally the last weekend in March has become one of the cornerstones of the dairy youth program in South Carolina and one of the premier dairy cattle shows in the Southeast. Activities include Dairy Breed Shows, Showmanship Contests, Scholarships, Lets Talk Dairy-Public Speaking Contest, State 4-H and FFA Dairy Judging Contest, FFA Dairy Handlers Contest, a dairy heifer sale, youth fun night and both silent and live auctions.


Southeast Dairy Youth Retreat

2023 Will be hosted by NC

Coming soon

Beef on Dairy Project

Coming soon

Dairy cows lined up

Group photo at dairy tour

Group photo at Milky Way Farm

4-H Agriculture & Animals
4-H Agriculture & Animals | 275-B Lehotsky Hall Clemson, SC 29634