The South Carolina Dairy Heifer Project began in 1974 and is one of the oldest 4-H projects of its kind in the Nation. This project was designed to provide youth in South Carolina an opportunity to raise a dairy heifer and experience the dairy industry, and then sell their heifer at the South Carolina Dairy Heifer Project Bred Heifer Sale. Throughout the years, thousands of South Carolina youth have taken part in 4-H dairy work. These 4-H and Dairy Heifer Project alumni can be found in all “walks of life.” Many are outstanding farmers and leaders of the dairy industry, while others are doctors, veterinarians, and teachers. In nearly every case, these people look back on this 4-H dairy experience as an outstanding part of their youth.
As the dairy industry has changed and evolved over the years, so has the South Carolina Dairy Heifer Project. Due to COVID restrictions, the 2020 Bred Heifer Sale was held online for the first time with great success. Due to that success, the sale has been permanently moved to an online format and the event dates have been adjusted to better suit the needs of the dairy industry. Through all the changes, the South Carolina Dairy Heifer Project has continued to thrive and reach youth across the state. Thirty-seven heifers are currently in project and under the care of 4-H youth and eighteen of those youth are from York County.
The 4-H and FFA dairy project members exhibit their dairy project animals at fairs, shows, and events in nearly every region of the state. Millions of people have seen or learned about 4-H and FFA through these youth dairy exhibits at the many fairs and events in South Carolina. This offers a tremendous opportunity for 4-H, FFA, Clemson Cooperative Extension, and the dairy industry to educate and inform the public about the dairy industry and youth dairy programs. Many thanks go out to the industry for the support of the program. Heifers for the project come from project alumni and producers across the Southeast who have seen the impact the project has had and is continuing to have on our youth.
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