Local 4-H members excel in virtual contests
By Haley Schichtl
Three Carroll County 4-H members competed in a virtual state livestock judging contest, and all three placed in the top 10 in their divisions.
Matti Kate Walker took third place in the senior division, Cheyenne Dawson came in eighth in the junior division, and Jaci Whitmore tied for 10th place in the junior division.
The girls competed with more 50 individuals competing in each division.
Carroll County Extension agent Olivia Foster said the kids evaluate 12 classes of four different species: cattle, lambs, goats and hogs.
“It was held online on livestockjuding.com, and kids around the state were able to log in and participate,” Foster said. “They had one day to do so; it was open from 8 that morning to midnight.”
Walker said judging livestock online is more difficult than judging them in person.
“With the market classes in person, you’re able to touch the animals, feel the muscles and structure of them. Online, you’re not able to do that,” Walker said. “I think that was my main challenge.”
She said she has virtual practices classes with her coach.
“We go through and look at different species and we can get used to judging them online,” Walker said.
Walker said this is her eighth year in 4-H and her third year judging livestock. She is also president of the Team Leadership Club, and she shows goats and pigs.
“Unfortunately, we did not have enough kids to make up a complete team in either division, but individually, we did really well,” Foster said. “Matti Kate is in the senior division for the very first time. She just turned 14, so for her to finish third was really impressive.”
Duncan Patterson, who is a member of the Berryville Grandview 4-H club, placed first in the junior division of the Ozark district in a virtual food plot contest.
“All the participants are provided a bag of seed so it’s uniform across the board, and then he actually had to do soil testing, select a plot site and develop his plot site,” Foster said. “You send in a packet of information and a video of yourself out in the plot, as well as pictures.”
Patterson said he picked out the area on his family farm in July 2019, and planted the seeds in August.
“I had to take a soil sample from different spots. I had to fix the fence to make sure my dairy cows and horses couldn’t get into my food plot,” Patterson said. “I plowed the land and applied fertilizer ... used the soil test to know what fertilizer I needed to spread. I had to monitor how much rainfall we received.”
Patterson said he is also in the 4-H poultry chain and shows rabbits and dairy heifers.
“Neither one of those competitions is something that can just be picked up and be competitive in,” Foster said. “Those kids have put in a lot of work in order to be successful. This was Duncan’s first year to compete in food plot, and that’s a really competitive contest.”