Nebraska 4-H Fed Steer Challenge wraps up third year

Nebraska 4-H Fed Steer Challenge
The Nebraska 4-H Fed Steer Challenge, now in its third year, cultivates the next generation of leaders in the livestock industry. Pictured from left to right are: Skyler Summers (Buffalo County), Brianna Buseman (Youth Meat Science Educator, UNL), Noah Summers (Buffalo County), Bryan Reiling (Associate Professor, UNL Animal Science), Kale Smydra (Howard County), Parker Walahoski (Dawson County), Emily Miller (Cheyenne County), Lydia Fitzke (Adams County), Judge Matt Printz, Conner Snyder (Frontier County), Christien Kuykendall (Red Willow County), Donald Rohr (Frontier County), Nickolas Rohr (Frontier County), Lacey Schmidt (Thayer County), Cassidy Jacobson (JBS), Alexa Tollman (Dawes County), Ashley Benes (4-H Youth Development Coordinator, Nebraska 4-H), and Callee Carman (Buffalo County).

January 6, 2022

Lincoln, Neb. —Nebraska 4-H, in collaboration with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Department of Animal Science, offered the third year of the Nebraska 4-H Fed Steer Challenge in 2021. 

The Fed Steer Challenge cultivates the next generation of leaders in the Nebraska cattle industry by providing youth opportunities. This challenge enhances the educational value of traditional   4-H beef projects and provides affordable options to reward production merit and market animal carcass value; accurate and complete record keeping practices; industry and research knowledge; and producer engagement with the 4-H member.  

The program has seen positive participant outcomes, engaging 25 youth from 19 different Nebraska counties. These youth selected, purchased, exhibited, harvested, and analyzed carcass data on a steer while networking with industry professionals. Additionally, working as a learning cohort, they participated in monthly educational opportunities led by industry professionals and Animal Science faculty.  

“I found it valuable to interact with other cattlemen. I interacted with different cattlemen and woman through the state. I also learned what to do different next time I feed a market animal for profit.” said one participant.  

“I have learned a lot about feeding and what each ingredient is doing for my animal.” 

Alongside these youth, large crowds at the Nebraska State Fair receive expert instruction from a commercial cattle buyer about sorting and evaluating steers. This exemplifies real-world industry standards of carcass merit, grade-ability, and finish. Unanimously, the youth participants agree the Fed Steer Challenge helped them gain valuable knowledge regarding the beef industry - namely, how to feed a market animal more efficiently. Because of their program involvement, these youth plan to stay in the cattle industry to become future beef industry advocates. 

The 2021 Nebraska participants included: Lacey Schmidt (Thayer County), Lydia Fitzke (Adams County), Kale Smydra (Howard County), Callee Carman (Buffalo County), Donald Rohr (Frontier County), Nickolas Rohr (Frontier County), Alexa Tollman (Dawes County), Emily Miller (Cheyenne County), Conner Snyder (Frontier County), Skyler Summers (Buffalo County), Noah Summers (Buffalo County), Parker Walahoski (Dawson County), and Christien Kuykendall (Red Willow County).  

Winners in each category were:  

Growth Performance:  

  • First Place: Donald Rohr, Frontier County 
  • Second Place: Nickolas Rohr, Frontier County 
  • Third Place: Skylar Summers, Buffalo County 

Record Book:  

  • First Place: Kale Smydra, Howard County 
  • Second Place: Conner Snyder, Frontier County 
  • Third Place: Donald Rohr, Frontier County 

Interview/Showcase Presentation: 

  • First Place: Noah Summers, Buffalo County 
  • Second Place: Lacey Schmidt, Thayer County 
  • Third Place: Parker Walahoski, Dawson County 

State Fair: 

  • First Place: Alexa Tollman, Dawes County 
  • Second Place: Noah Summers, Buffalo County 
  • Third Place: Skylar Summers, Buffalo County 

Overall Winners:  

  • First Place: Donald Rohr, Frontier County  
  • Second Place: Noah Summers, Buffalo County 
  • Third Place: Conner Snyder, Frontier County 
  • Fourth Place: Kale Smydra, Howard County 
  • Fifth Place: Skylar Summers, Buffalo County 


The participants for 2022  Nebraska 4-H Fed Steer Challenge have recently been selected and include: Claire Ahrens (Sherman County), Lilee Chevalier (Lancaster County), Leah Christen (Pawnee County), Justice Currie (Pawnee County), Mia Gerdes (Nemaha County), Ava Gerdes (Nemaha County), Braden Gerdes (Nemaha County), Abigail Gorecki (Buffalo County), Nathan Gorecki (Buffalo County), Eldon Haack (Franklin County), Jaleigh Hallstead (Cuming County), Madison Hirschman (Howard County), Christien Kuykendall (Red Willow County), Cassidy Maricle (Boone County), Faith Miller (Dawes County), Kailey Nicklas (Kimball County), Klaira Rasmussen (Howard County), Nickolas Rohr (Frontier County), Kayla Rupe (Harlan County), Conner Snyder (Frontier County), Treygan Srajhans (Fillmore County), Noah Summers (Buffalo County), and Skylar Summers (Buffalo County).  

To learn more about the fed steer challenge, visit:  

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Nebraska Extension | Beef cattle