Prairie Farms awards $3,000 in 4-H scholarships

youth winners of the Superior Young Dairy Producer contest
Three Illinois 4-H members were awarded $1,000 scholarships by the Illinois 4-H Foundation for their top finishes in the Illinois 4-H Superior Young Dairy Producers Award Contest. Pictured, left to right: Delana Erbsen, Wyatt Zehr, and Payton Erbsen.

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 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. More than $500,000 in college scholarships have been awarded to winners of the annual contest since its beginning.

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.

SOURCEDerek Nolan, Dairy Specialist, Illinois Extension
SOURCE: Dan Jennings, 4-H Animal Science Specialist, Illinois Extension
WRITER: Judy Mae Bingman, Communications and Marketing Manager, Illinois Extension

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