State & Regional 4-H Programs

Animal Crackers

Animal Crackers

The annual Animal Crackers program provides New York youth with fun, hands-on, science-oriented learning experiences on Animal Science topics. This workshop is for 4-H members interested in learning more about their favorite livestock, companion or pet animal species; emphasis on different species groupings and activities varies annually. Participants will learn about different aspects of animal care, interact and exchange information with faculty, staff, students, professional producers, industry experts, and more, utilizing the unique facilities of Cornell University. Hands-on workshops are planned for each species group.

When/Where: This Saturday workshop is held every May on the Cornell campus (Morrison Hall – 507 Tower Rd, Ithaca, NY 14853).

Who: The program is geared to 4-H members involved in animal science projects. Youth are strongly encouraged to attend with their parents or chaperones. Suggested age range is 9-12, however, all youth 9 and up are welcome.

Why: This is a unique opportunity for youth to experience hands-on activities in a university setting, explore career options in animal science, and expand their knowledge through scientific inquiry.

Registration: Contact the 4-H office to register.

Participants must bring their own lunch and drinks. The closest place to purchase food is a 5 minute drive from campus.

Career Explorations

Career Explorations

Teens don’t miss this! The 4-H Career Explorations Conference is a hands-on introduction into exciting careers and Cornell University! Get a head start on finding your future career today by attending! Career Exploration is made up of two programs: University U (for those entering 8 & 9 grade) and Focus for Teens (those entering 10 & 12 grade). Teens should choose the grade appropriate program(s) they are most interested in exploring.

University U: Participants will be introduced to campus admissions, tour campus, and participate in six different departmental workshops. Topics are Animal Science, Art, Mapping, Math, Physics, and Weather.

Focus For Teens: Spend 3 days with a specific university department. Topics are Animal Science, Astronomy, Engineering, Fiber Science, Food Science, Geospatial, Forestry, Green Jobs, and Vet Science.

Eligibility: Any New York state teen. Participants are not required to be 4-H members. See specific age requirements for each program above. Grade levels include grade equivalents for home school students.

To receive a registration packet stop by the 4-H office or visit the events webpage at Please submit your registration paperwork and payment to the 4-H office. All registrations must be submitted electronically by the 4-H office. Registration must be received by April 10, first come, first served when paid. Contact the 4-H office with any questions. 

Beginning Dairy Leader Program

"Helping Young People Explore Post-Secondary Agricultural Education and Career Opportunities"

The Beginning DAIRY LEADER program gives high school participants the opportunity to explore post-secondary agricultural education and career opportunities in a networking environment through interaction with faculty and students, college planning, and personal development.

Program Cost: $100


  • High school students entering at least their sophomore year. High school graduates are not eligible.
  • Have potential interest in dairy industry careers.
  • Have an interest in pursuing post-secondary education in agriculture.
  • Can reasonably commit to one Saturday program in November of current year and February, March, April, and June of the following year.

Students can apply for both the Junior DAIRY LEADER and the Beginning DAIRY LEADER program in the same year, however, students cannot participate in both programs in the same year.

Application: Please complete the personal information form and answer the written essay question. Contact information for one personal reference, other than a family member, must be submitted with this application. Attach extra pages when completing the essay question. 30 applicants will be evaluated and selected based on application essay, interest and personal reference.

Junior Dairy Leader Program

Application deadline is June 30 of the current year. The eligibility requirements are as follows:

  • At least 16 but not more than 19 years of age by August of the current year and at least starting their junior year in high school in the fall in which the program begins.
  • Have potential interest in dairy industry careers.
  • Can reasonably commit to the program from September of the current year to August of the following year
  • Are not exhibiting animals at the World Dairy Expo during the current year.
  • Are not participating in the National Dairy Cattle Judging Contest during the current year.

The committee will select 25-27 of the top applicants by evaluating the quality of written applications, strengths portrayed in letters of recommendation, and personal qualities highlighted in a written essay.

Each delegate will be required to evaluate how dairy industry conferences, workshops, and agricultural tours have enhanced the development of their career opportunities in the dairy industry. These reports will be compiled and delivered in an oral presentation to program sponsors, local extension groups, NYS 4-H representatives, dairy industry leaders, agriservice professionals, and future dairy interested youth.

A completed application, including letters of recommendation must be submitted by June 30 of the current year to:

Debbie Grusenmeyer
Cornell University
272 Morrison Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853

Junior Dairy Leader Written Application
Junior Dairy Leader Program

Junior Livestock Show

Junior Livestock Show

Good old summer fun makes the Junior Livestock Show a true celebration of youth in agriculture. More than 300 youth from ages 8 to 18 present the dairy cows, beef, sheep, goats, and swine they own, care for, and have prepared for this competition. The event tests the skills of youth handlers ages eight to eighteen who present animals that they own, care for, and have prepared for competition. If you have never been to this grand event, with youth from nine counties, please visit and cheer these kids on!

Admission to the show is free and the public is welcome to attend.

Since 1947, The Farmers’ Museum has collaborated with the Cooperative Extension’s 4-H program to produce the show, which is the second largest youth competition in New York State.

For more information about the Junior Livestock Show, contact Meg at (607) 547-1452. On Monday and Tuesday, summer camps and area youth groups are invited to take a tour of the showground and participate in a take-home craft. Reservations are requested, please call (607) 547-1461.

Chobani Company is offering Scholarships to youth participating in the show. The application is an essay. Information will be in the Show books.

4-H members (age 8 and in 3rd grade by January 1) enrolled in beef, sheet, dairy, goat, or swine. 4-H projects should receive a Farmers’ Museum Junior Livestock Show book. If you don’t receive your show book by May 15, contact the 4-H office at (518) 234-4303.

Horse Bowl

Dairy Quiz Bowl

State Hippology Contest

The term “Hippology” comes from the Greek “hippo”, meaning horse, and “ology”, meaning “the study of”. The primary objective of the NYS 4-H Hippology contest is to provide an opportunity for youth participating in 4-H to demonstrate their knowledge of and reasoning ability in equine science and management in a friendly and fair competitive setting. Enrollment in a NYS 4-H Horse Projects is recommended but NOT required. This contest is meant to be a rewarding and educational experience.

Agri-Business Conference Conference

This career exploration conference is open to all youth ages 14 and over who wish to become more aware of opportunities with agriculture and also the academic requirements for professional positions available in the various agri-businesses. The conference is co-sponsored by NYS 4-H, the State University of New York (SUNY) at Cobleskill and the NYS Farm Bureau Foundation for Education. 

Equine Extravaganza

Come join us for a fun filled educational day that is intended to broaden the 4-H youths knowledge within the horse project and provide more insight into Hippology. 

4-H STEM Challenge

The 4‑H STEM Challenge, formerly known as 4‑H National Youth Science Day (4‑H NYSD), is an annual initiative to inspire kids everywhere to take an interest in science, technology, engineering and math through hands-on learning.

Last updated August 25, 2020