The purpose of the Sandhills Production class is to encourage youth to understand and implement the production side of a beef project. It is intended to motivate members to become involved in the cow/calf industry that is prevalent in the Sandhills. Youth will have an understanding of the industry that is important to Nebraska’s economy. 4-Hers will understand and implement a record keeping system and be able to communicate key elements of raising cattle in the Sandhills and the production practices unique to the Sandhills area. Through this project youth will be motivated, upon completing their educational career, to live and produce cattle in the Sandhills.

To participate in the Sandhills Production class, 4-Hers must be enrolled in the breeding heifer project and complete the Nebraska4-H and FFA Breeding Beef Ownership Affidavit. Members must follow project enrollment, affidavit and Quality Assurance submission deadlines.

This is a progressive project. To start, 4-Hers will exhibit either a breeding heifer calf or a yearling heifer. The following year, the heifer would either be shown as a yearling or as a cow/calf pair. 4-Hers will continue exhibiting a cow/calf pair or exhibit that cow’s progeny as a yearling.

Cattle will be shown based on age of the project and include Fall and Spring born cattle:

  • Calf
  • Yearling
  • Cow/Calf pair

If a showing a pair, 4-Hers have the option of showing the calf in the Stocker Feeder class or in the Sandhills Production calf class. If the exhibitor chooses to show the calf as a Stocker Feeder, it cannot show as a calf in Sandhills Production (see chart at

4-Hers may begin this project at any time during their 4-H career. A monetary award will be given for the cumulative participation in the Sandhills Production class and will be awarded when the member completes his or her last year of 4-H. Youth must maintain their 4-H enrollment every eligible year to receive their monetary award.

4-Hers will be equally judged and rewarded on three components at County Fair:

  • Ranch Plan – 1/3 of total points
  • Live cattle evaluation by county fair judge – 1/3 of total points
  • Personal interview – 1/3 of total points

The Ranch Plan is turned in for review during Check-In at the County Fair. Interview times will be assigned and take place during the Cherry County Fair.

Points will be awarded as follows:

  •  75-99 points – Purple
  • 50 to 74 points – Blue
  • 25 to 49 points – Red
  • 0 to 24 points – White

Monetary awards will be given at the completion of the member’s 4-H career. Each year’s award and number of years of participation based on the above point system will be given. 4-Hers will not be paid for more than three projects per year. However, more projects may be exhibited.

  • Purple – $75
  • Blue – $50
  • Red – $25
  • White – $0

 A signed contract explaining the ownership must be included in the Ranch Plan if the animal is owned by someone other than the 4-H member or immediate family.

A guideline of what the Sandhills Production Ranch Plan (record book) should include is below. 4-Hers are encouraged to include additional information that is important to their project.

  • Genetics/Pedigree: Pedigree if registered. Breed(s) of heifer.
  • Breeding Plan: What is it or will it be bred to? Natural, Embryo, or A.I.
  • Financial Statement: Cost associated with project, money borrowed and interest, projected income, etc.
  • Nutritional Program: What did your animal eat? Include range, hay, supplements, protein.
  • Veterinary Practices: Vaccinations, health program, parasite control.
  • Summarize project with what you have learned and future goals.

4-Hers experiencing a hardship (i.e. death) with their animal are encouraged to complete their project. Their Ranch Plan must be submitted and interview take place to be awarded points for the year.