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Replacement Beef Heifer Development Contest

2020-2021 Mississippi 4-H/FFA Replacement Beef Heifer Development Contest Winners
L-R: Cheyenne Hughes (1st place – received a bumper-pull livestock trailer); Nina Hay (2nd place – received a Percentage Simmental heifer donated by Ricky & Gay Nicholas); Elizabeth Rone (3rd place sponsored by B&B Cattle Co.); Luke Hay (4th place); Hannah Buse (5th place); Laney Anderson (finalist); Faith Sullivan (finalist); Dru Prisock (finalist); and Grace Randle (finalist).


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4-H & FFA livestock projects have been one of the most successful activities at teaching youth and their family about responsibility and care for their livestock.  The objective of the 4-H/FFA Replacement Beef Heifer Development Contest is to recognize youth who have a true passion for raising beef cattle.  This is a ten (10) month contest where the contestant would be personally responsible for the daily management of their heifers.  In competing in the heifer development contest, it is anticipated that the participants and adults around the state will learn proper heifer development practices and procedures.  The contest is designed to encourage young beef producers to participate in a practical beef heifer development program.

Design of Contest

The 4-H & FFA Heifer Development Contest is a ten (10) month project.  It will start on November 1, 2021, and conclude on the final contest weekend of August 5-6, 2022.  An entry form is required prior to November 1 to be submitted to Dr. Dean Jousan, Extension 4-H Livestock Specialist.  The location of the final portion of the contest will be determined later.

4-H & FFA members must be individual entrants to the contest unless two (2) or more brothers or sisters, each at least 14 years of age but not over 18 years of age as of January 1 of the current year in which the contest begins, of a family, constitute a joint entry.  If the entrant is in college, he/she must personally manage and care for their heifers daily by commuting from home to school.  It is not permissible to have someone else care for the heifers while away at school.

The heifer development project must consist of three (3) heifers (purebred or commercial) that are either fall born from the previous year or spring born of the current year in which the contest begins.  While not mandatory, the heifers can be exhibited in junior shows.  Heifers can be purchased from a purebred or commercial producer or be selected from family operations of an immediate family member (parent, stepparent, brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, grandparent, or legal guardian).  NOTE: If registered or commercial beef heifers are used in the project and are to be shown at the Mississippi State Fair or District and Dixie National Junior Round-Up Livestock Shows, the ownership rules and regulations as printed in those premium books will still apply.

This contest is designed to evaluate the youth producer’s ability to manage the heifers rather than the genetic selection of the heifers.  Therefore, participants using purebred and commercial heifers will be judged together without preference given to breed or breed type.

Contestants will be judged on all managerial aspects of their heifer development project.  Youth can take advantage of FSA farm loans totaling $5,000.  Participants will be encouraged to take advantage of Extension agents, advisors, and experienced producers in selecting quality heifers and discussing production costs.

Evaluation System

By November 1, 2021, an entry form must be submitted to the Extension 4-H Livestock Specialist.  This will determine the number of contestants and create a record of preliminary information about heifers selected for this project.  Initial criteria to be included on the entry form would include the animals’ age, weight, breed, and starting value (purchase price) for each animal.  In addition, each entrant should submit their goals for the project.  If registered heifers are used, the entry should include a photocopy of that animal(s) registration paper.

Potential heifers to be chosen for the contest should be born in the fall of 2020 or the spring of 2021.  Any heifer with a sign of 3-year old teeth will be eliminated at the contest site, regardless of a registered or printed birth date for that heifer.

All participants must submit a record book prior to evaluation of the heifers that must be postmarked to me no later than July 25, 2022.  Records could be kept in a spreadsheet, notebook, or other systems that is decided upon by the exhibitor(s).  Specific records that should be kept throughout the year and submitted can be found in the Records section below.  Entrants will be notified by letter where the record books should be sent closer to the deadline.

All three (3) heifers entered in the contest should be taken to the contest site for final judging.  No heifer may be substituted during the contest.  In addition, before a heifer is removed from the contest for a management reason, please notify Roy Higdon ( or Dean Jousan ( beforehand.

The 4-H & FFA Heifer Development Contest will be made up of 3 components: a visual appraisal of the heifers, a record-keeping system, and an interview process.

  • Visual Evaluation:  A committee of judges will evaluate each group of three (3) heifers managed by the contestant.  Criteria that will be evaluated include weight, frame score, growth, body condition score, health, structural/skeletal soundness, and pregnancy status.  Exhibitors should provide a letter from their veterinarian that summarizes the pregnancy status of each of their heifer (whether each heifer is bred and for how many days) or submit a copy of the pregnancy status results if a pregnancy determination kit was used.  In addition, each entrant will be judged on their overall knowledge of phenotypic characteristics of their heifers.  This component of the contest will be worth 20%.
  • Records:  Youth will be required to submit records kept throughout the entire ten (10) month project.  At the start of the project, contestants will be asked to list short- and long-term goals for their heifer project.  In addition, during each month of the project, the contestant should record anything that was done to his/her heifers.  Examples would include recording the amount of feed, hay, or other nutritional supplements purchased or fed, veterinarian expenses and other health-related costs, breeding decisions, rotational grazing of pastures, a complete budget/expense sheets, and any other management issue in which the youth had to decide for the continued development of his/her heifers.  At the conclusion of the project, youth should address whether they were able to achieve the goals that they set at the start of the project.  These records will be judged on their completeness and exactness during the contest year.  This component of the contest will be worth 30%.
  • Interview:  A committee of judges will interview the exhibitor on their individual production practices.  The exhibitor will give a presentation (PowerPoint is recommended) to summarize his/her heifer development project.  This presentation can include anything relevant to the contestant’s project (goals for the project and if they were accomplished, pictures to illustrate the project, etc.).  Each exhibitor will then answer questions from the committee regarding their projects, such as the process used to select the heifers, record-keeping system used, nutrition program, bull used for breeding purposes, health records, and any production practices utilized by the exhibitor during this contest.  This component of the contest will be worth 50%.

The criteria that will make up each category will be determined by a committee of individuals including, but not limited to, area livestock agents, cattle producers, and extension specialists, and cattle association members.  All ties would be broken using the interview score followed by the record book.  The committee of judges for the contest would include the same type of individuals mentioned in this paragraph within Mississippi or in nearby states.


Awards will be announced when the results are presented at the MS State Fair before the start of beef showmanship.  The past overall winning individual/team cannot compete in future 4-H/FFA Replacement Beef Heifer Development Contests.  However, if a team of siblings competes, they can declare one (1) person on that team to receive the awards associated with their final placing.  This designation must be made by final record submission or at check-in of the heifers at the contest site.  To fund this project, sponsorship is sought from industry, county cattlemen’s associations, breed associations, and individuals recognizing the value and importance of this contest.  Your tax-deductible donation can be made to the Mississippi Cattlemen’s Foundation and earmarked for the Heifer Development Project.

Disclaimer: Awards and prizes awarded each year are subject to change without prior notice and are established on a yearly basis based on sponsorships.

Importance of Project

This contest should provide an authentic experience for youth that choose to participate in this contest.  Not only will youth learn valuable information that they can use for a lifetime, but the cattle industry can benefit as young cattlemen and cattlewomen will be educated producers in the future.  These youth can be a positive influence on their own family’s cattle production system and share their insights with other cattle producers around the state, causing adults to think more about their own management decisions too.


The 4-H/FFA Replacement Beef Heifer Development Contest would not be possible without the support of numerous individuals and businesses.  Our 2020-2021 sponsors include: Bob Robinson; American Livestock Insurance; B&B Cattle Co.; Bouie River Beefmasters; Campo Farms; Castle Grove Plantation; Carcass Performance Partners Bull Sale – Ricky & Gay Nicholas; Havard Pest Control; Hearz Your Sign; Jackson Power Train; McDaniel Farms; MG 4M Farms; MERCK Animal Health; Mississippi Ag Company; Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association; Mississippi Simmental/Simbrah Association; Mississippi State University Extension; Red Fox Farm; Southern Producers Heifer Sale Group; and Vowell Farms. 

Previous Contest Winners

2020-2021 Contest

1st – Cheyenne Hughes, Tishomingo County

2nd – Nina Hay, Lauderdale County

3rd – Elizabeth Rone, Panola County

4th – Luke Hay, Lauderdale County

5th – Hannah Buse, Jones County

Finalist – Laney Anderson, Lincoln County

Finalist – Grace Randle, Pontotoc County

Finalist – Dru Prisock, Oktibbeha County

Finalist – Faith Sullivan, Smith County


2019-2020 Contest

1st – Noah Carpenter, Tishomingo County

2nd – Cheyenne Hughes, Tishomingo County

3rd – Hannah Buse, Jones County

4th – Faith Sullivan, Smith County

5th – Luke Hay, Lauderdale County

Finalist – Elizabeth Rone, Panola County

Finalist – Nina Hay, Lauderdale County

Finalist – Adaline Rouse, Jackson County


2018-2019 Contest

1st – Anna Nelson, Walthall County

2nd – Laney Anderson, Lincoln County

3rd – Noah Carpenter, Tishomingo County

4th – Nina Hay, Lauderdale County

5th – Elizabeth Rone, Panola County

Finalist – Hannah Buse, Jones County

Finalist – Taylor Vowell, Leake County

Finalist – Brandt Sowell, Madison County


2017-2018 Contest

1st – Rylie Melancon, Lincoln County

2nd – Mary Beth Ainsworth, Lawrence County

3rd – Olivia Branum, Pearl River County

4th – Marlee Turner, Alcorn County

5th – Laney Anderson, Lincoln County

Finalist – Anna Vowell, Leake County

Finalist – Jenna Fullington, Hinds County

Finalist – Brandt Sowell, Madison County

Finalist – Jace Welborn, Jasper County


2016-2017 Contest

1st – Amelia Buckley, Covington County

2nd – Olivia Branum, Pearl River County

3rd – Trent Howe, Stone County

4th – Anna Vowell, Leake County

5th – Nathan Pulliam, Stone County

Finalist – Colleen Ellzey, Jones County

Finalist – Ashleigh Hickman, Forrest County

Finalist – Claire Posey, Lincoln County

Finalist – Rowdy Anderson, Jones County

Finalist – Meribeth Hales, Lauderdale County

Finalist – Justin Klunk, Pike County (Justin passed away in a tragic accident a few days after completing the contest. He was passionate about trading cattle and enjoyed outdoor activities and the Pike County 4-H Club. He will always be remembered for his excitement for this contest.)


2015-2016 Contest

1st – Rustin Anderson, Jones County

2nd – Claire Harris, Scott County

3rd – Olivia Branum, Pearl River County

4th – Danielle Solomon, Marion County

5th – Amelia Buckley, Covington County

Finalist – Will Watts, Lincoln County

Finalist – Macey Nelson, Pike County

Finalist – Kalyn Smith, Leake County

Finalist – Emma O’Neal, Tate County

Finalist – Colt Prisock, Oktibbeha County

Finalist – Justin Klunk, Pike County

Finalist – Meribeth Hales, Lauderdale County


2014-2015 Contest

1st – Emily Vowell, Smith County

2nd – Danielle Solomon, Marion County

3rd – Justin Klunk, Pike County

4th – Colt Prisock, Oktibbeha County

5th – Emma O’Neal, Tate County


2013-2014 Contest

1st – Jonah Bankston, Pike County

2nd – Katlyn Harris, Scott County

3rd – Emily Vowell, Smith County

4th – J.T. Prisock, Oktibbeha County

5th – Colt Prisock, Oktibbeha County


2012-2013 Contest

1st – Will Gibson, Newton County

2nd – Cameron Crawford, Pike County

3rd – Cheyenne Ladner, Pearl River County

4th – Natalie McCormick, Pearl River County

5th – J.T. Prisock, Oktibbeha County

6th – Jacob Manning, Forrest County


2011-2012 Contest

1st – Jimmy Stewart, Stone County

2nd – Will Gibson, Newton County

3rd – Lane Gandy, Covington County

4th – Jacob Stewart, Stone County

5th – Cameron Crawford, Pike County

6th – Josh Vowell, Smith County

7th – Chip Gibson, Lee County


2010-2011 Contest

1st – Jessica Smith, Pearl River County

2nd – Corrine Jackson, Webster County

3rd – Jimmy Stewart, Stone County

4th – Josh Vowell, Smith County

5th – Morgan Lane, Stone County

6th – Morgan Howe, Stone County


2009-2010 Contest

1st – Arizona Parden, Stone County

2nd – Josh Vowell, Smith County

3rd – Corrine Jackson, Webster County

4th – Tyler Neal, Scott County

5th – Ty Ladner, Pearl River County

6th – Daniel Wicker, Franklin County


2008-2009 Contest

1st – Michael Buckley, Covington County

2nd – Alan Smith, Pearl River County

3rd – Chelsea Adams, Marion County

4th – Bonnie Tartt, Lauderdale County

5th – Garrett Bond, Stone County

6th – Cody Maske, Newton County

7th – Wes Herrington, Jones County

8th – J.J. Hitt, Calhoun County

9th – Matthew Baxter, Stone County

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Two young women display a lamb in a show ring.
Filed Under: 4-H, 4-H Livestock Program, Youth Livestock February 11, 2022

JACKSON, Miss. -- Lily and Emma Grace Putnam raised their Mississippi-bred reserve champion lamb in their Sunflower County pasture, which they recently finished fencing in with the help of loans and grants.

“We have always had the land and have been pasturing it in piece by piece as we’ve been able to, but we needed to complete the fencing this year so we could finish breeding our ewes,” said Lily Putnam, a Sunflower County 4-H’er based in Sunflower County. “The loan was helpful to me because we used it to buy equipment to get ready for lambing and start a breeding business.”

A goat stands in front of a fence.
Filed Under: 4-H, 4-H Livestock Program, Youth Livestock, Agriculture, Agri-business, Goats and Sheep June 10, 2021

Dairy goats make up a niche market of the Mississippi livestock industry, but their popularity is growing across the state. Interest has grown among 4-H livestock program members, people who participate in various other showmanship contests and people who want goat milk products.

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Filed Under: 4-H Livestock Program, Youth Livestock, Volunteers, Youth Projects, Agriculture, Livestock February 8, 2019

 The Dixie National Sale of Junior Champions began in 1969 as a conversation between two Mississippi State University livestock specialists dedicated to building better youth through livestock programs.

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Filed Under: Youth Livestock, Dairy October 19, 2018

On a rainy day in early autumn, hundreds of people packed into the Mississippi State University Joe Bearden Dairy Center to learn where their milk, butter, yogurt, and ice cream come from. (File Photo by Kat Lawrence)

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Season 39 Show #19

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Thursday, June 25, 2015 - 7:00pm


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Thursday, November 14, 2019 - 7:00am
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Associate Extension Professor
Extension 4-H Livestock Specialist

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