Illinois 4-H members got to showcase their judging talents at the University of Illinois campus earlier in June. The 2022 State Livestock Judging Contest was held on June 20th. Instead of leading animals, members were acting as the judge, evaluating groupings of cattle, hogs, and sheep against a standard for breed characteristics, physical conformation, and structure, and gain efficiency. Dan Jennings, U of I Extension 4-H animal science educator, says that the contest is a way for members to learn what gets evaluated to take it back to their own animals.
While the focus of the program is on livestock, members learn and develop many skills throughout the program. Team coaches help teach technical judging skills and positive youth development. For any youth considering getting into livestock judging events or new to the field, One 4-H member says to go for it. Morgan Richardson, of Boone County, says, as long as you have been involved in the livestock industry, that it’s a great opportunity and the people you meet is well worth it.
Members of the State 4-H livestock team will advance to a national competition at the North American International Livestock Expo taking place in November. Members of that team will be selected in additional tryouts this summer.
Local top 10 individuals for the Junior Division Top 10 include Mabrey Shick from Dewitt County and Payton May and Brant Hedden from Christian County. Senior Division Top 10 individuals include first-place winner Waylon Paulek, Cole Paulek, and Audrey Curtin all from Christian County. Christian County also took #1 in the Senior Division High Team Overall.
The Illinois 4-H Foundation along with the Illinois Farm Bureau continues to support livestock judging teams participating in the national competition. For more information visit the U of I Extension Facebook page.