Written by:  Raleigh Dawson, Franklin County 4-H Agent

The Georgia 4-H State Livestock Judging contest was held last Saturday, March 23rd, at the University of Georgia Livestock Arena in Athens. Competitors from all over the state gathered to judge classes of cattle, hogs, sheep, and goats. In a livestock judging contest each class is composed of four animals, which the participants rank from best to worst. The objective of this part of the contest is to evaluate the animals’ compositional integrity and production ability relative to the others. Some classes are based strictly on the animal’s phenotype, or physical appearance, while others incorporate production based scenarios and add performance data in the form of expected progeny differences (EPD’s). After ranking the classes, students prepare oral reasons. In short, oral reasons allow the student to defend their placement of the class to the judge. Experiential learning opportunities like the state livestock competition provide 4-H members the opportunity to develop valuable skills that they will use throughout their lives. The process of livestock judging exercises critical thinking, reasoning, and public speaking skills.

This year the following students competed at the state contest on Saturday, Merrit Eavenson, Makenzie Godwin, Sydney Allen, and Savanah Teate. Together their team placed 5th in the state.  Merrit Eavenson was recognized as 6th high individual and placed 4th overall in oral reasons. In addition to recognizing the team, the extension office would also like to thank our volunteer coach Mr. Will Cabe. His time, knowledge, dedication, and passion for teaching youth is appreciated by so many. To summarize this experience flawlessly Merrit Eavenson said, “Through livestock judging I have gained confidence and knowledge that is not only preparing me for my future in this industry, but also in day to day life.”

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