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Superior Young Producer Scholarship

The Superior Young Producer Scholarship Program is funded through generous annual support and supplemented by the Superior Young Producer Endowment held at the Illinois 4-H Foundation. The contest promotes youth development, career development, and personal growth through increased knowledge of the livestock industry. Three overall winners in dairy and nine overall winners in the combined contest featuring swine, cattle, and sheep each receive $1,000 scholarships. More than $500,000 in college scholarships have been awarded to winners of the annual contest since its beginning.

2020 Beef, Sheep, Swine Winners

URBANA, Ill. – Nine 4-H members each received a $1,000 college scholarship for their excellence in livestock management as winners of the Illinois 4-H Superior Young Producer Award program held Sept. 19 in Springfield. The contest was held in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Agriculture Junior Livestock Expo.

In its 24th year, more than $500,000 has been awarded to youth who have extended their knowledge in animal breeding, health and disease management, animal nutrition, food safety, and herd management. The scholarships are provided by the Illinois 4-H Foundation through support by the CME Group of Chicago.

Winners include Delaney Hemann, Madison County; Skye Schumaker, McLean County; Drew Mickey, Christian County; Emily Friese, Livingston County; Katelyn Engel, Knox County; Ty Drach, Livingston County; Sara Smallwood, Clark County; Ty Knodle, Montgomery County; and Garrett Rhode, McLean County.

The contest involves three separate divisions: livestock management, skill-a-thon, and livestock marketing. Winners in each division include: Ty Drach, Sara Smallwood, and Drew Mickey in livestock management; Katelyn Engel, Emily Friesel, and Ty Knodle in the skill-a-thon; and Emily Friese, Lilie Perry, and Drew Mickey in marketing.

Dan Jennings, University of Illinois Extension state 4-H animal science specialist, says, “This contest provides youth an opportunity to showcase their knowledge of the industry while competing for valuable scholarships to help them pursue their career goals.”

2020 Dairy Winners

URBANA, Ill. – Three Illinois 4-H members have received a $1,000 college scholarship for their excellence in the 4-H dairy cattle project area. Delana Erbsen and Payton Erbsen, both of Carroll County, and Wyatt Zehr of Livingston County, were awarded the scholarship for their top placing in the 2020 Superior Young Dairy Producer Contest held Sept. 19 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. 

The scholarships were provided by the Illinois 4-H Foundation through a gift by Prairie Farms Dairy. The contest promotes youth development, career development, and personal growth through increased knowledge of the dairy industry.

Feeding a growing population needs youth who understand all aspects of the agricultural livestock industry. The 4-H dairy scholarship program, in its 25th year in Illinois, rewards youth who have extended their education beyond the show ring, mastering knowledge in animal breeding, health and disease management, animal nutrition, food safety, and herd management.

“This contest complements 4-H work by inspiring personal growth and career development in animal science,” said Dan Jennings, University of Illinois Extension 4-H animal science educator. Eleven youth participated in the dairy contest. A separate contest is held for youth involved in beef cattle, sheep, and swine.

Youth compete in three phases. The first phase tests the members' cattle management knowledge related to nutrition, herd health, reproduction, and marketing. Phase one winners were Delana and Payton Erbsen and Shana Lueking, Clinton County.

In the skill-a-thon phase, participants identify dairy feeds, evaluate pedigrees, and identify dairy equipment. Division winners are Hannah Albert of Bond County, Wyatt Zehr of Livingston County, and Riley Walden of Shelby County.                                    

During the third phase, youth evaluate movement and body condition of dairy cattle. Top finishers are Delana Erbsen, Shana Lueking, and Wyatt Zehr.