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4-H Livestock Quiz Bowl: How to Get Involved!

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Publication Number: P3467
View as PDF: P3467.pdf

The Mississippi 4-H Livestock Quiz Bowl competition is a three-part competition for 4-H participants to show off their knowledge about raising and showing different species of livestock. It’s played like Jeopardy, but this clash of the minds is all about agriculture!

Gathering a Team

Finding people who are interested in animal husbandry should not be a hard task if you meet them through your local 4-H club. Being on the 4-H Livestock Quiz Bowl team is a great chance to make new friends, as well as gain more knowledge about many species of livestock. You’ll also have opportunities to travel and network for future careers.

When creating your 4-H Livestock Quiz Bowl team, getting to know your fellow 4-H’ers is key. It is best to develop a team of individuals who specialize in specific species or who have a broad knowledge of all species. Each person can be responsible for learning information on certain species, but diversifying allows your team to be knowledgeable about all species in the contest.

The team will need a coach, which is a simple yet demanding job. The coach’s main role is to encourage studying and quiz the team to help them practice answering in a timely manner. A team needs a mentor who is knowledgeable about livestock and understands what it takes to motivate, direct, and establish a successful team. Knowing where to find material to study and maintaining a regular practice schedule with the team are also important.

Preparing for 4-H Livestock Quiz Bowl

If you are interested in 4-H Livestock Quiz Bowl, contact your local Extension agent for resources. They will help you find contest resources and may be able to connect you with other 4-H’ers to form a team. They also may have connections with local livestock producers who are well versed in the current topics surrounding the livestock industry and would be great study sources.

The main thing to practice when preparing for any quiz bowl competition is how to answer questions quickly. You can use books, flashcards, study apps, or online sample questions to prepare for quiz bowl. Find a study partner and take turns quizzing each other and responding to questions as quickly as possible. If you spread small study sessions throughout the day or week, you will better retain the information. Car rides are a great time to sneak in small study sessions.

Once you have created your team and started to study or practice together, you should practice both toss-up round and team questions.

Toss-up Round

When preparing for the toss-up round, learn to recognize key words in the practice questions that you can link to the answer you’ve memorized. This will allow you to rapid-fire the answer as soon as the moderator is done asking a question.

Consider the following question as an example: “The lack of what vitamin causes rickets in both livestock and humans?” The word “rickets” should be linked to “vitamin D” in your mind. When you learn to associate words and subject content in this manner, you will always be ready to answer these fast-paced questions.

Remember that if a buzzer interrupts the moderator, they will stop reading mid-question. Sometimes it is best to allow the moderator to finish reading the entire question, even if your hand is itching to activate the buzzer—but this is all part of the game!

Team Questions

Another important aspect of preparing as a team is choosing a team captain. The team captain should be knowledgeable of the livestock industry because, if the team fails to produce an answer for team-related questions, it will be his or her responsibility to make an educated guess. While working to strengthen your team’s quiz bowl skills, members should familiarize themselves with how the team captain compiles responses to team questions.

Working together to time yourselves on team questions is a good group exercise. The more repetition your team can experience before the contest may translate into better play during the contest.

Study Materials

Gathering quality study materials for you and your entire team is an important part of quiz bowl preparation. It is important to know the basics of livestock, but you also need to be well-versed in current events in the beef, sheep, goat, swine, rabbit, and dairy industries.

The main contest resources can be found in the Mississippi 4-H Project Handbook under the Livestock Quiz Bowl Contest Rules. To find questions related to this contest, follow these links:

Cornell University sample questions

University of Illinois Extension Livestock E-Quiz

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Livestock Quiz Bowl

Purdue sample questions

Here are a few links for national organizations in the livestock industry:

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

American Sheep Industry Association

American Goat Federation

National Pork Board

American Rabbit Breeders Association

National Dairy Council

Contest Operations

All teams in 4-H Livestock Quiz Bowl draw a random number to create a contest bracket for the competition. A bye system will be used if an odd number of teams are enrolled. Each match between teams will be composed of these three phases:

  • Part One: One-on-One Questions. This primary phase of each match is comprised of eight questions. Members of each team are arranged in seats 1, 2, 3, and 4. Each question is addressed to contestants of the same seat number. The first person in each seat to buzz in and be confirmed by the moderator answers the question. Teammates are not allowed to give or receive help during this phase. Answers must be started within 5 seconds of the question being read. One point is awarded for each correct answer. If an answer is incomplete, incorrect, or the contestant does not answer within 5 seconds of being recognized by the moderator, there is a 1-point deduction.
  • Part Two: Unit Questions. This secondary phase of the competition includes 10 questions. Teams are asked five questions in an alternating order. The entire team can discuss the answer to the question, but only the team captain is allowed to give the answer. As in the previous portion of the competition, you have 10 seconds to answer the question. If any team member other than the captain answers the question or speaks at all after the 10 seconds, no points will be awarded. The captain can defer a question to a team member but must alert the moderator. During this round, correct answers are worth 1 point and there are no deductions for wrong answers.
  • Part Three: Toss-up Round/Bonus Round. The third and final phase of the quiz bowl includes 16 questions that are composed of toss-up and bonus questions.
    • Toss-up Questions: Any member of either team that buzzes in first can answer these questions. The first to buzz in will be acknowledged by the moderator and have 5 seconds to begin answering the question. If they fail to answer in a timely manner, they will lose 1 point. Every fourth question will include a bonus question that is awarded to the team that correctly answers the toss-up question.
    • Bonus Questions: Bonus questions are worth 3 points each. These work the same as toss-up questions, with the exception that the team captain must answer unless he or she chooses to defer the question to another team member. Answers must be given within 10 seconds after the question is read. If the wrong answer is given, the bonus question will not be offered to the opposing team. Incorrect or incomplete answers to bonus questions are not penalized.
  • Team Participation Bonus Points. To promote full team participation, bonus points will be allotted to teams when each team member answers an individual question correctly other than bonus questions. This team bonus is worth 2 points to all teams that qualify and will be awarded for individual correct answers given in phases 1 and 3. No team participation bonus points will be given during phase 2 or a sudden-death tiebreaker round. Bonus points may be awarded more than once within a phase of the quiz bowl competition, provided the team repeats the process specified to receive these bonus points.
    • Each member of the team seated at the time must have answered a question correctly to gain these team participation bonus points. If an alternate comes in at any point, even if the member they are replacing has answered a question correctly, the alternate must also answer a question correctly before any bonus points will be awarded to the team.
    • No team participation bonus points will be awarded with a member’s second correct response until the first team bonus has been given already. Each time team bonus points are awarded, the team members may begin accumulating credits for the next team participation bonus.
  • Ties. In the case of a tie at the end of a match, the moderator will read supplementary toss-up questions. These questions will be read until the tie is broken in a sudden-death round. The same rules for the toss-up phase will apply during the sudden-death round and will follow normal game play until one team claims the match.

4-H Livestock Quiz Bowl will closely follow the rules for the national contest held at the Western National Roundup.


4-H Livestock Quiz Bowl is a great way for 4-H’ers to learn about different types of livestock while making friends with similar interests. 4-H Livestock Quiz Bowl creates an opportunity for you to build leadership skills, practice working as part of a team, explore the livestock industry, and possibly find a future career. Reach out to your local Extension agent to get involved!

Publication 3467 (POD-08-23)

By Carter Clark, MS student; Alicia Gilmore, MS student; Casey Moss, undergraduate student worker; Kirsten Midkiff, MS student; and Dean Jousan, PhD, Extension Professor, Animal and Dairy Sciences, and Extension 4-H Livestock Specialist.

Department: Animal & Dairy Science
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