My National 4-H Dairy Conference Experience

By Marcus Roberts, Idaho

In 2014, I was able to participate in the National 4-H Dairy Conference held in Madison, Wis. Before attending the conference I had limited knowledge of the dairy industry and why it was important. This conference increased my knowledge of the dairy industry helped me become a better leader, and allowed me to create new friendships.

I started the conference by meeting youth delegates from other U.S. states and Canadian provinces. Throughout the conference, I participated in many events that focused on meeting new people including a pin exchange, dances, games and other activities.

Throughout the week, youth delegates go on many tours and attend seminars about different aspects of the dairy industry. These include how to extract semen, writing and publishing dairy literature, small and large dairy farm operations, dairy history, and business practices. In addition, seminars focused on dairy careers were offered. I also heard many guest speakers who teach us about dairy advocacy and attended World Dairy Expo.

At the conference, the National 4-H Dairy Conference planning committee opened two spots for youth delegates to be on the committee. I filled out an application and had an interview with members of the planning committee. A week after the conference, the chairman, Gary Fredericks, called told me I had been chosen to be a youth delegate on the committee.

As part of the National 4-H Dairy Conference Committee I was expected to participate in monthly conference calls and help plan and give input at planning meetings. At the 2015 conference I helped prepare bags to be handed out at the conference, gave an introductory speech and shared a YouTube video I created showcasing the 2014 National 4-H Dairy Conference. I made myself available to the youth delegates and helped them with questions or concerns they had. I gave input and feedback to the planning committee in the process of choosing youth delegates for the 2016 conference.

The National 4-H Dairy conference developed my leadership abilities. It also built my social skills and made me more confident. The dairy conference helped me learn more about the dairy industry and the many career areas it encompasses.



Conference is just around the corner

With less than a week to go before delegates begin arriving in Madison, the planning committee wanted to share a few reminders to help your trip go more smoothly:

  1. There is a home football game on Saturday. Due to that, check-in may be slower than normal. The Lowell staff will work as quickly as they can to get you into your assigned rooms. Your patience is always appreciated.
  2. Registration for the conference will take place in the Upper Lobby. When you check-in your state, you can also drop off your items for the speaker gift bags.
  3. Pin exchange will take place on Sunday evening. Remember to bring pins so that all delegates can participate!
  4. Have fun! We can’t wait to see you in Madison!

Handbooks have everything you need to know…

The recently launched National 4-H Dairy Conference website details nearly everything you need to know for your trip to Madison this fall. But, if there’s something else you’re looking for, the Participant and Coordinator handbooks provide a wealth of information.

The Expectation Statement for Adults, Youth Code of Conduct, Field Trip Authorization, and the Registration and Lodging Reservation forms are all included within the “Delegate and Adult Advisor Registration Materials and Handbook.”

Links to both handbooks and the necessary forms are provided below. FORMS MUST BE RETURNED TO CALS CONFERENCE SERVICES BY AUGUST 29, 2015. Online registration will open July 15.

Registration and Lodging – Registration and Lodging

Payment Form – Payment Form

Adult Expectation Form – Adult Expectation Form

Youth Expectation of Conduct Form – YouthConduct

Field Trip Authorization – Field Trip Authorization



We look forward to seeing you in Madison!


Welcome to Madison, Wis.

Nearly 200 youth from 4-H dairy projects around the U.S. and Canada congregate in Madison for the National 4-H Dairy Conference held annually in conjunction with World Dairy Expo. Participants learn about production, processing, marketing and use of dairy products, and develop a broader understanding of careers available in dairy production, biotechnology, genetics, marketing and other selected areas. The conference consists of participatory workshops on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, speakers, tours and visiting the World Dairy Expo.

Who should attend?
Youth who have been a 4-H dairy project member for at least three years and are between the ages of 15 and 18 as of January 1, 2015 are encouraged to join us in Madison this fall. Attendees may not exhibit animals at World Dairy Expo or participate in National 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest while at National 4-H Dairy Conference.

Eligibility/Basis of Selection: Youth Delegates should be selected from outstanding 4-H Dairy Program members who:
* Have participated at least three years in the 4-H Dairy Program, including the current year.
* Are at least 15 but not more than 18 years of age before January 1, 2015.
* Have outstanding records of 4-H Dairy accomplishments.
* Have abilities and talents, which will enable them to make a real contribution to the conference.
* Have an interest in the production, marketing, processing and use of dairy products.
* Are capable of bringing the inspiration and information back to their state and passing it on to others through talks, reports, news stories, etc.
* Have not attended National 4-H Dairy Conference more than two times as a youth participant.
* Are not exhibiting dairy animals at this year’s World Dairy Expo.
* Are not participating in this year’s National 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest.

Basis of Selection–Adult Leaders and Chaperones must be willing to:
* Participate fully in the program.
* Ensure their delegates participate fully in the program and attend all scheduled events.
* Guide their delegation through the day’s scheduled events.
* Meet each day with their delegation.
* Help their delegation discuss the programs they attend.
* Supervise and discipline any delegates as needed.

Chaperone requirements: Every delegate must be assigned to a chaperone of the same gender. If your state or province cannot provide the required chaperone(s), please contact Wisconsin 4‑H for assistance in identifying another state or province that can help with your chaperone needs.

When? September 27 to September  30, 2015

Where? The University of Wisconsin- Madison Campus’ Lowell Center

Cost: The total cost is approximately $300. Local 4-H program may support partial registration. The remainder is the responsibility of the delegate.

How can I sign up to be a youth delegate?
States and provinces send delegations of youth to the National 4-H Dairy Conference. Individual 4-H members should contact your state dairy youth specialist to find out how you can be a part of your state’s delegation. Your club leader or county 4-H agent can help you find the right person to contact. For more details on who is eligible to attend Click here to see the registration information.

The purpose of this outstanding educational program is to:
* Provide a means by which various individuals and groups interested in the dairy industry and youth can cooperate to achieve educational objectives based on the developmental needs of youth.
* Promote and sponsor an educational program which will provide a better understanding of the operations involved in the production, processing, marketing and use of dairy products, as well as related areas.
* Provide a broader understanding of careers available in dairy production, processing, marketing and other selected areas.

Since its beginning in 1955, approximately 11,000 young people have attended the National 4-H Dairy Conference. This year the tradition continues as 4-H youth from 30 states and provinces meet for educational tours and seminars as well as networking opportunities with national leaders in the dairy industry and with youth from around the U.S.A. and Canada that share similar interests.

The National 4-H Dairy Conference is sponsored and presented by University of Wisconsin-Extension 4-H Youth Development, Cooperating Friends of 4-H and the Dairy Industry, World Dairy Expo, and the National 4-H Dairy Conference Planning Committee.