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Youth livestock contest sets record for number of competitors

winners pose with plaques

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — A record number of competitors headed to the 2023 4-H Illinois Superior Young Livestock Producers Contest that was held on Aug. 9 in conjunction with the Illinois State Fair. Fifty-eight 4-H members from across Illinois competed in this three-phase competition that challenged the youths’ knowledge of livestock production covering beef, swine, and sheep.

“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,” says Dan Jennings, University of Illinois Extension 4-H livestock educator.

$1,000 scholarships are presented each year to the nine highest-scoring individuals overall. The top nine 4-H youth receiving $1,000 scholarships this year include: Natalie Evans of Morgan County, Ben Wamsley of Christian County, Bayla Crouch of Woodford County, Audrey Curtin of Christian County, Carson Knittnel of McLean County, Isabel Pistorius of Christian County, Hunter Shike of Champaign County, Jay Bliler of Christian County, and Rhett Lehman of Moultrie County.

In the Livestock Management test phase, Hannah Miller of Livingston County, Ellie Drach of Livingston County, and Davis Howell of DeWitt County, sorted themselves to the top and received plaques for their achievements.

In the Livestock Marketing competition, Hayden Beard of Knox County, Ben Wamsley of Christian County, and Audrey Curtin of Christian County received plaques and took home the highest honors.

In the Skillathon phase, Ellie Drach of Livingston County, Hannah Miller of Livingston County, and Bayla Crouch of Woodford County, made up the top three.

This year marked the 27th consecutive year for the Superior Young Livestock Producers Contest, which has provided participating youth the opportunity to compete for over $500,000 in college scholarships since its inception. The purpose of the contest is to create an educational activity that promotes youth development, career development, and personal growth through increased knowledge of the livestock industry.

The Illinois State 4-H program along with the University of Illinois College of ACES would like to extend a special thank you to the CME Group for all their support in providing scholarships to this year’s winners. The Illinois 4-H Foundation also provided support for this contest.

Source: Dan Jennings, 4-H Livestock Educator,

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

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. Illinois Extension is part of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.