New Hampshire 4-H Beef & Market Steer Project Overview

The 4-H Beef project will open the door to many learning and fun-filled experiences. When you enrolled in this project, you became part of one of the largest livestock enterprises in the United States.

Your project begins when you choose a steer or heifer. The 4-H steer project is designed for the 4-H member who desires to feed, fit and show a beef animal. Most steers will be full-fed for five months or longer, depending on the starting age. The steer should reach the desired market weight (950-1100 lbs.) and grade (choice) between 14 to 18 months of age. At this time, you will show and market him as a finished beef steer. Each summer and fall 4-H steer shows are held. Your steer, when purchased, should be the right age to be shown and marketed at one of these events.

The 4-H beef heifer project emphasizes growing, developing, and showing a heifer, and then building a herd of cows. This is a long-term investment. Obviously, you should consider farm conditions for future expansion before considering a beef heifer project.

4-H beef members can participate in field days to learn new skills. They also may attend many fairs or shows and make many lifelong friends. 4-H members, 12 and older, may participate with their animals at the New England 4-H Beef Competition at the Eastern States Exposition. Members may choose to participate with a heifer or a steer. All animals shown in 4-H at Eastern States may be no older than a yearling.

Required Participant Age: 8-18 as of January 1 of the current year (12 and older to go on to ESE)

Required Animal Age: 4 months or older

Recommended Animal Vaccinations: Rabies vaccination (recommended vet administered) 30 days and not more than one year prior to the date of the show. Animal must originate from a non-quarantined, tuberculosis-negative herd.

Required Animal Identification: Permanent ID – Ear tag (preferred) or legible tattoo


Forms, resources and Fact sheets here for members, volunteers, leaders and parents

4-H Online Animal Registration/Intent to Show Forms: Must be complete with all information and verification.

Beef STEERS that will show at ESE. Due Date: February 1st.

Beef HEIFERS that will show at ESE. Due Date: May 1st.

OTHER beef. Due Date: June 1st.

Lease Form (if applicable): Lease form must be complete with animal information and all signatures. Due Date: Must correspond with Intent to Show form date


NH 4-H Policy on Replacement Animals – If a 4-H member’s ONLY project animals dies, is critically ill to the point of being “unusable”, or is deemed unsafe for the 4-H member to use as a project, after having been properly listed on their Intent to Show form, the County 4-H staff member may verify the loss or condition, and allow the 4-H member one replacement project animal. A new Intent to Show form is to be submitted. In this instance, the replacement animal can be shown at all fairs (except Eastern States).

If a 4-H member’s animals are unable to be exhibited for any reason (illness, death, etc.) and they have other project animals listed on their Intent to Show form that are eligible, then there is never any substitution allowed. They may only show the remaining animals on their Intent to Show form only.

Should a county have a member who misses an appropriate deadline, due to their not owning an animal at the time of the deadline or their only project animal(s) is (are) sick, the county may make an exception for their county only. When a County makes the exception the youth’s Intent to Show form must be marked that these animals can be shown at their county fair only.

Rabies Requirements for NH 4-H Animals - Upon the recommendation of the New Hampshire State Veterinarian, all mammals shown or exhibited at New Hampshire 4-H events including fairs, shows, clinics, 4-H club meetings, county activities day or any other event sponsored by 4-H, must have a current inoculation for rabies given at least 30 days prior to the event. A licensed veterinarian administered rabies vaccination is recommended. Rabies vaccinations cannot be given to 4-H animals under three months of age AND we require the vaccination be given at least 30 days prior to exhibiting an animal. Other health requirements vary by species and show. Individual shows and fairs may have additional vaccination and health requirements as recommended by the New Hampshire State Veterinarian’s office. Always check the fair book for additional health requirements.



Andrea Sawyer
4-H Animal Science Specialist, Emeritus
Office: Cooperative Extension, Taylor Hall, Durham, NH 03824