During a recent visit to the Nebraska Cattlemen's Classic, we learned about a youth livestock judging competition, and what kids learn from it.
We talked with Blaine French, who was the superintendent of the judging event. He also coaches the livestock judging team at the University of Nebraska. "This the livestock judging contest at the Classic," French said. "We have good collegiate representation from all over the country, but we also have the youth from here in Nebraska. They are judging 12 classes of livestock, and then give their reasons. We talked about the Great Plains Livestock Judging Circuit a few weeks ago. This is the first event for the youth to come to, and it's a big one."
The contest helps engage young people in the livestock industry, but it also teaches them a number of skills they are likely to use in any job someday. "Just learning those communication skills, meeting people, and making quick, accurate decisions, and being able to defend those decisions through the reasons room is something they can only benefit from," French said.
Kids who take part in livestock judging not only judge the animals from 1 through 4. But they are also asked to go to a "reasons room" and defend their reasoning as to why they put the livestock in the order they chose. "It's basically a small speech, and it's organized to defend their decisions," French. "It's a good opportunity for students to go in and learn about confidence, and defending the decisions they make. Those skills directly relate to when they get into the workforce."
You can contact Blaine French for more information on the Great Plains Livestock Judging Circuit by finding his email at animalscience.unl.edu.