Isa meets with Evaluator, Barb Vanat to discuss the work she did on her art work

Isa meets with Evaluator, Barb Vanat to discuss the work she did on her artwork

the judge asks questions of a 4-H member during 4-H Dairy Showmanship

the judge asks questions of a 4-H member during 4-H Dairy Showmanship

two white rabbits ready for the show

two white rabbits ready for the show

Kids Keep Growing Through 4-H Evaluations at the Columbia County Fair

Summer for youth may be a break from school schedules but it does not mean a break from learning. This is particularly true for 4-H members across the nation as they apply their free time to learn through 4-H project work as well as other educational activities.

For many 4-H’ers, the summertime county fair is the culmination of their program year, when the results of their knowledge, practice and skills are evaluated and put on display for the public’s benefit. The Columbia County Fair, organized by the Columbia County Agricultural Society, is the local venue for Columbia County 4-H members.

Young people join 4-H for the new experiences in areas that interest them: veterinary science, foods, and nutrition, raising a rabbit, gardening, or learning the market animal business, to name a few. 4-H creates opportunities for youth to develop skills and gain practical knowledge in their interests through observing, doing and living experiences.

In addition, participating in the 4-H activities at the county fair and other events such as public presentations, Cornell Career Explorations Conference, dairy bowl, and animal clinics give youth a way to showcase their knowledge and accomplishments through exhibits, presentations and competition. At such events, caring and trained adults interact with the 4-H member to assess the progress of their work, encourage them to continue to build their skills, and offer appropriate recognition to inspire youth to go further in their endeavors. The purpose of evaluating youth project work is three-fold:

  • 1.To provide opportunities to learn and recognize standards for quality of project work.
  • 2.To provide opportunities for reflection on what youth have learned from project work.
  • 3.To contribute to the growth and development of 4-H members by assessing their accomplishments and awarding recognition for their achievements.

Perhaps you are familiar with the sight of blue, red, white and even rainbow ribbons on 4-H exhibits at the fair. The Danish system is a method of evaluation relative to an ideal for a person’s age and experience. With disabilities, consideration is given to the developmental age of the young person, not his/her chronological age. Youth are not ranked against one another in such judging so the same award can be earned by any number of youth who rank similarly against the ideal for their age and experience.

  • Excellent or Blue: given to those entries/exhibits most nearly meeting the ideal established for the particular class or level of performance.
  • Good or Red: general level of accomplishment for entry/exhibit is less than ideal with enough specific shortcomings identified to cause placing to drop from excellent.
  • Worthy/Fair or White: entry/exhibit was found lacking in some way but shows that effort was given.
  • Rainbow: the award given for all Cloverbud (5-8 yrs) entries or presentations.

The ultimate goal for evaluation of 4-H project work is the development of the individual and to serve as an incentive for greater accomplishment. Please help recognize these young people by enjoying Columbia County’s showcase of 4-H work during the Columbia County Fair. You will see 4-H exhibits in Columbia Hall, the 4-H Chick building and in all of the animal and livestock barns.

Although all of the non-animal 4-H exhibits are evaluated the night before the fair begins, you can see the exhibits and their ribbons on display throughout fair week.

All of the 4-H animal shows take place during the fair so stop by to see these young people at work as they participate in showmanship classes (where the 4-H member shows what they know – how well they have taken care of and prepped their animal for show, how attentive s/he is to the judge, and how well s/he can answer questions from the judge) and conformation classes (where the animal is evaluated on how closely it compares to the best of its breed).

The shows are scheduled as follows: Wednesday, August 28 at 5:30 PM – 4-H Rabbit Show

Thursday, August 29 at 10 AM – 4-H Poultry Show

Thursday, August 29 at 1 PM – 4-H Beef Show

Thursday, August 29 at 5:30 PM – 4-H Swine Show

Friday, August 30 at 10 AM – 4-H Dairy Cattle Show

Friday, August 30 at 3:30 PM – 4-H Goat Show

Saturday, August 31 at 3:30 PM – 4-H Sheep Show

Monday, September 2 at 9 AM – 4-H Master Livestock Showperson Competition

Monday, September 2 at 1:30 PM – 4-H Livestock Sale

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia and Greene Counties provides equal program and employment opportunities. 4-H is the nation’s largest youth development organization, serving more than 6.5 million young people across America. 4-H is the youth development program of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia and Greene Counties. To find out more about our programs contact us at 828-3346 or or visit

(dairy 12) the judge asks questions of a 4-H member during 4-H Dairy Showmanship

(rabbits 4) two white rabbits ready for the show

Last updated August 20, 2019