4-H Livestock Resources

Pictured: Amy Powell assisting two students
Pictured: Amy Powell assisting two students


Livestock skillathons are a great way for youth to share their knowledge of animals and learn in an experiential learning environment. Skillathons can be done in teams or as individuals and there are a variety of topics that can be covered in a skillathon. Some of these (but not all) include anatomy and breeds of an animal, feed used in an animal diet, wholesale and retail cuts of meat derived from an animal, and production and management of animals. Livestock studied in skillathons includes swine, sheep, poultry and beef.

Skillathons are great for youth because they also provide opportunities for problem solving and applied science reasoning. They expose youth to real-life production experiences and problems.

Youth from 9 - 19 can participate and not only do they walk away learning, but they also have fun!

Dairy, Swine, Sheep and Goat Skillathons
@ Iowa State Fair


Wednesday, August 9th at 3:00 PM for Dairy Skillathon at swine barn

Sunday, August 13:

  • 9:00 AM  Swine Skillathon at the swine barn
  • 1:00 PM Sheep Skillathon at the sheep barn

Wednesday, August 16 at 12:30 PM Goat Skillathon at the swine barn

Who: Any youth in 4th - 12th grade as of January 1, 2021

What: Team skillathon

Teams consist of three individuals with one being at the advanced level (4 or more years of showing experience) and one with 3 or fewer years' experience. The remaining individual can have any experience level. All team members do not have to be from the same county. This event is for any youth, they do not have to show at State Fair or own livestock, and do not have to be enrolled in 4-H to compete. The team will work together through five stations to identify feed samples, meat cuts, equipment, and solve real-life situations related to swine, sheep, or goat production.

Awards: Everyone who enters will earn a skillathon t-shirt. Awards for the top five teams will be presented. Champion teams win a belt buckle!

For more information contact: Dr. Amy Powell - ampowell@iastate.edu or (515) 294-3441

2021 State Fair Skillathon Results


Study Materials: also available as Word .docx





Resources are available through CyBox:


State Fair Champions

Carcass Data 

Iowa State Fair Champions Historical Document


Swine Care Videos