Livestock judging team gets refresher course at boot camp

Friday, January 10, 2020
Mattie Kate Walker, a member of Carroll County Extension Service’s junior livestock judging team, participates in a boot camp training session Friday in Fayetteville.
Courtesy of Savannah Cole

By Haley Schichtl

Carroll County Extension Service’s junior livestock judging team attended a boot camp training Friday at the Pauline Whitaker Animal Science Center in Fayetteville.

“It was a refresher of all the activities they partake in,” said 4-H program assistant Savannah Cole. “They judged sheep, goats, hogs and cattle.”

Cole said judging livestock includes judging the animals there against each other as well as against the “ideal” animal in the species. The students take notes on the pros and cons of the livestock and then present them to the professionals in the field.

“Participating on livestock judging teams offers many benefits to 4-H members. They are exposed to teamwork, effective communication skills and analytical thinking,” Cole said. “Team members also build self-confidence as they become comfortable with public speaking and analyzing quickly.”

The junior livestock judging team consists of members from different schools in Carroll County as well as homeschooled students, Cole said.

Janeal Yancey, animal science program technician at the University of Arkansas, said the bootcamp was not a competition, but just a way for the students to practice judging livestock.

“We wanted to give our 4-H kids a chance to look at some livestock,” Yancey said. “We placed all the classes and gave them all cuts, but we also left it really open-ended so they could still work with their coaches in their own counties.”Yancey said the boot camp had about 63 participants from five counties, who ranged in age from about 6 to 19.

Yancey presented the event along with Denise Trotter from Washington County’s 4-H and Pauline Whitaker Center director Darren Bignar.

Yancey said the center will host a placing contest at the end of February and a three-day livestock judging camp in the summer.

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