Illinois 4-H youth put their dairy knowledge to the test

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Illinois 4-H youth put their dairy knowledge to the test at the 2021 Illinois State 4-H Dairy Judging Contest at the Illinois State Fair in August. It may be a contest, but the true benefit of the Illinois 4-H State Dairy Judging Contest is that it teaches youth what it takes to raise profitable dairy production herds.

“It is important for young dairy breeders to understand how the knowledge they test for really translates into livestock and herd health,” says Dan Jennings, University of Illinois Extension 4-H animal science educator. “The knowledge they gain can really translate into future profitable of dairy herds.”

Youth 14 years and older competed as part of the Senior Division with youth under 13 competing in the Junior Division. 

In the senior division, top rankings went to Nevin Erbsen, Carroll County, first; Delana Erbsen, Carroll County, second; Shana Lueking, Clinton County, third; Jacob Raber, Livingston County, fourth; Gage Wendling, Effingham County, fifth; Magen Busker, Stephenson County, sixth; Ella Gunderson, Carroll County, seventh; Amanda Niemann, Montgomery County, eighth; Ben Bremmer, Stephenson County, ninth; and AJ Lenkaitis, Saline County, tenth.

In the junior division, top rankings went to Drew Lueking, Clinton County, first; Ethan Marcoot, Bond County, second; Abby Yoder, Rock Island County, third; Alaina Dinderman, Stephenson County, fourth; Kendall O’Connor, McLean County, fifth; Peyton Olbrich, McHenry County, sixth; Bria Olbrich, McHenry County, seventh; Kelly O’Connor, McLean County, eighth; Elena Olbrich, McHenry County, ninth; and August Michels, Richland County, tenth.

Delana Erbsen of Carroll County, Nevin Erbsen of Carroll County, and Jacob Raber of Livingston County represented Illinois at the National 4-H Dairy Judging Contest.

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.