Brookings, S.D. -Beginning with the 2012 - 2013 4-H program year, South Dakota 4-H is implementing a DNA sample process for all Market Animals intended for 4-H Division competitions at the South Dakota State Fair, says Rod Geppert, SDSU Extension 4-H Livestock Show Management Coordinator.
"This is a critical requirement that will be implemented during the upcoming 4-HGreen Tag and Weigh-In events in your area," Geppert said.
Geppert explains that this new requirement has been added to ensure the integrity of the SD 4-H Livestock Program.
"We realize that this is an additional cost for 4-H families and may cause some financial burden; however, several surrounding states have gone to this process and we must make this change to ensure the integrity of the SD 4-H Livestock Program," he said.
Market Animals without a DNA sample on file will be rejected from entering 4-H Division competitions at the South State Fair, regardless of the youth's ribbon placing at a County Fair or 4-H Achievement Days.
So how will this new rule work? Geppert explains that during a County 4-H Weigh-In, 4-H members must Green Tag and have a DNA hair sample taken of all market animals they could possibly exhibit at the State Fair. Only animals that were DNA sampled by the ownership deadlines will be allowed to enter the 4-H Division livestock competitions at the State Fair; with the exception of some swine operations with 4-H market hogs, which will only be weighed, tagged and DNA sampled on an exhibitors' farm if the animals reside on a premise with a high level of bio-security or health status. Otherwise, all other market swine will be processed at the official county weigh-in.
The 2013 4-H DNA sample fee is $6 per head and covers the expense of materials and handling.
4-H families must pay the per head fee to the County Extension Office at the time the market animal is weighed, green tagged and the DNA sampled.
"It is very important that 4-H'ers and their families decide at their county's weigh in, which market animals have the potential for 4-H Division Livestock competitions at the South Dakota State Fair," Geppert said.
To implement the DNA sampling process of market animals, South Dakota 4-H has partnered with AK-SAR-BEN to process the DNA samples and paperwork.
4-H members should be aware that this DNA process also gives privilege to nominate the animals for the AK-SAR-BEN Livestock Show with the same DNA sample. Members should plan to participate in DNA sample training with AK-SAR-BEN and SDSU Extension staff or take the training online via iGrow before arriving to your County's weigh-in event.
During the State Fair, all grand and reserve champions, plus division champions and reserves will have a DNA sample taken which South Dakota 4-H will submit to AK-SAR-BEN after the State Fair for DNA testing/matching. In addition, South Dakota 4-H will take random DNA samples during the weigh-in/check-in for 4-H Division Market Animal competitions at the State Fair.

4-H Livestock Ownership Verification Affidavits
South Dakota 4-H is in the process of adding the 2013 Livestock Ownership Verification Affidavits to 4HOnline. Hard copies of completed affidavits, registration papers, etc., will still be required; however, those documents can be scanned and uploaded to 4HOnline and linked to the 4-H youth member. We plan to leverage 4HOnline to access documentation electronically during the 4-H Division check in processes at the State Fair.
For more information, contact Rod Geppert at 605-773-8120 or