MADISON, Wis. – An Illinois 4-H team placed eighth in the National 4-H Dairy Judging Contest held Sept. 27 in Madison, Wis. as part of the World Dairy Expo. Members of the team include Delana Erbsen of Carroll County, Nevin Erbsen of Carroll County, and Jacob Raber of Livingston County.  

""Youth in dress clothes hold yellow ribbons
Pictured (left to right): Wendy Erbsen, coach; Delana Erbsen, Carroll County; Nevin Erbsen, Carroll County; Jacob Raber, Livingston County; and Derek Nolan, Coach, University of Illinois.

Youth compete at the state level by demonstrating their knowledge of the dairy industry by ranking classes of dairy cattle before advancing to national competition.

“This is a great national competition opportunity for youth,” says Dan Jennings, University of Illinois Extension 4-H youth development animal science educator. “This is a great time to network with 4-H youth from across the country and an important opportunity to build youth self-confidence and self-esteem.”

Illinois 4-H placed second in Holsteins, sixth in Ayrshires, seventh in Guernseys, and sixth in Jerseys.

Individual team members also had ranked with individual accomplishments. Delana Erbsen took home All-American honors, placing as the 10th highest individual with a seventh place rank in Ayrshires and fourth place rank in Holsteins. Nevin Erbsen was the ninth highest individual for the Holstein breed.

All three team members also placed in the top 25 for individual placings scores with Delana placing ninth, Nevin Erbsen placing 17th, and Jacob Raber placing 24th.

While the competition measures knowledge, youth develop other skills as well.

“These events really drive positive youth development,” says Jennings. “They gain social skills through interacting with their peers while learning the value of hard work that helps drive self-esteem.”

The team was coached by Derek Nolan, Extension 4-H dairy program coordinator, and Wendy Erbsen. The Illinois 4-H Foundation provides support for this program.

Source: Dan Jennings, 4-H animal science educator,

Writer: Carissa Nelson, 4-H Media Communications Manager,

About Illinois 4-H: Illinois 4-H is the flagship youth development program of University of Illinois Extension and administered through the College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences. 4-H grows true leaders, youth who are empowered for life today and prepared for a career tomorrow. The hands-on approach in 4-H gives young people guidance, tools, and encouragement, and then puts them in the driver’s seat to make great things happen. Independent research confirms the unparalleled impact of the 4-H experience, demonstrating that young people are four times more likely to contribute to their communities; two times more likely to make healthier choices; two times more likely to be civically active; and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs. 

About Extension:  Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.