The 4-H mission in New York State is to connect youth to hands-on learning opportunities that help them grow into competent, caring, contributing members of society. Youth from rural, suburban, and urban areas of the state come together to participate in the Animal Science programs. These programs include hands-on opportunities to learn to responsibly care for, feed, train, and show different species of animals, as well as academic knowledge in biology, physiology, agriculture and production systems, veterinary medicine, and nutrition. Youth from diverse backgrounds learn to work together, gain confidence, and leadership skills in these programs. Graduates of youth Animal Science programs have marketable skills that help them get jobs, apply to colleges, and succeed in life.

The New York State Animal Science 4-H programs are run out of the Cornell University Department of Animal Science in Ithaca, NY. There are youth extension programs for both livestock species, such as dairy, horses, and goats, as well as companion species, such as dogs and rabbits. Youth have opportunities to learn with other youth from across the state during various programs and showcase their animals and knowledge at state level contests including at the Great New York State Fair! Resources on this site will help youth and their parents connect with their local CCE/4-H educators, learn about different species program areas and competitions, and find study materials. Educators will find program and species resources, contest rules, and information on applying for grants for youth in their county.

boy with pig

Youth have opportunities to work with livestock species in the 4-h programs. There are county and state level shows, as well as educational opportunities and competitions.
Livestock species include: beef, dairy, goat, horse, poultry, sheep, and swine.

4-H youth and educator with rabbits

Companion animal species are very approachable projects for 4-Hers. They are often already part of the family!
Companion animal species program areas include dog, pets, and rabbit/cavy.

Girls wrapping legs of horse model

State level hands-on educational programs allow youth from all over the state to form connections and try new things. Animal Crackers and Dairy Discovery happen one weekend each spring, while Career Explorations and Junior and Beginning Dairy Leaders are longer programs that give youth a more in-depth opportunity to make life long friends and learn new skills. County educators looking to start local programs in Vet Science or Science and Technology can find resources here.

youth on stairs with ribbons

4-H Youth get many opportunities to showcase their knowledge and hard work! Contests in horse, dairy, and livestock judging, horse and dairy quiz bowl, dog and livestock skillathon, and many more allow youth to practice public speaking, use practical knowledge, and gain confidence in their skills. There are opportunities for local, as well as state and national level participation in these events.

Block and Bridle at New York State Fair

There are many opportunities for 4-H Youth to participate in the Great New York State Fair! They can show animals, participate in hands-on demonstrations, and compete in different contests.

4-H Animal Science in the News

areal shot of 4-H youth standing in a 4-H configuration



In this episode of “ Extension Out Loud ,” a podcast by Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE),  Andy Turner , director of  New York State 4-H Youth Development , shares how the program’s holistic, positive youth development approach is designed to...
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension

Upcoming Youth Animal Science Events