Youth gain valuable experiences at Michigan 4-H/FFA Livestock Judging Contest

Michigan youth receive awards for their hard work and dedication to animal evaluation.

A record 160 contestants tested their knowledge by competing in the state livestock judging contest. Photo by Beth Clark.

A record 160 contestants tested their knowledge by competing in the state livestock judging contest. Photo by Beth Clark.

A record 160 Michigan youth completed in the 2015 Michigan 4-H/FFA Livestock Judging Contest, held Thursday, July 16, at the Michigan State University Pavilion in conjunction with the Michigan Livestock Expo (MLE). Contestants judged eight classes including three cattle classes, a class of Boer goats, two sheep classes and two swine classes. Each contestant then answered one set of questions and gave either three sets of oral reasons or answered three additional sets of questions. By participating in the livestock judging contest, contestants enhanced their livestock evaluation and selection skills, as well as improved their communication and decision making skills.

Contestants could compete in any of the five divisions: Junior 4-H, Senior 4-H, Junior High FFA, High School FFA or the MLE Division. The contest also offered a new opportunity this year: a sixth non-competitive division for 4-H Cloverbuds.

Winning the Senior 4-H Team division and having the opportunity to represent Michigan 4-H in Kansas City, Missouri, at the American Royal livestock judging competition is the team from Livingston County, consisting of Jenna Kingsley, Kate Miller, Esther Schmidt and Madison Walz. This team also ranked the highest overall amongst all team divisions and won the second annual Dr. David Hawkins’ Trophy sponsored by the Michigan Cattlemen’s Association, Michigan Pork Producers Association and the Michigan Sheep Breeders Association. Each team member also received a $125 scholarship as part of the Team Building Award program from the Michigan Youth Livestock Scholarship Fund.

In addition to recognizing the top team overall, Michigan 4-H will also allow top placing individual 4-H youth from this event to compete for a place on one of two cross-county teams. One team will judge at the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky, and the other will compete at the Keystone International Livestock Exposition in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The following top-ranking contestants will have the opportunity to compete for one of eight spots to represent Michigan 4-H in Louisville or Harrisburg. Results are as follows:

  1. Alexandria Schut, Kent County
  2. Daniel Flynn, Branch County
  3. Esther Schmidt , Livingston County
  4. Cameron Hayden, Cass County
  5. Victoria Olger, Clinton County
  6. Tucker Gibbons, Livingston County
  7. Madison Walz, Livingston County
  8. Lauren Bickel, Lapeer County
  9. Cassidy Polzin, Washtenaw County
  10. Kollin Johnson, Branch County
  11. Amanda Breuninger, Washtenaw County
  12. Miles Wixom, Allegan County
  13. Ty Cool, St. Joseph County
  14. James Brown, Ottawa County
  15. Kade Shiery, Branch County
  16. Cassie Perrin, Ottawa County
  17. Kate Miller, Livingston County
  18. Brad Chapman, Monroe County

Donations to support travel for the three national 4-H livestock judging teams are still being accepted. Thank you to our 2015 donors for their support: JBS USA, Alvin J. Thelen Memorial Donations, Fifth Third Michigan State Fair, Michigan Youth Livestock Scholarship Fund, L.C. and Jackie Scramlin, Steve and Nancy Thelen and donations in honor of Nancy Thelen’s Retirement. If you are interested in providing support to assist the teams with travel expenses, please contact me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 517-432-1626.

In the Junior 4-H Team division, the top placing team was from Branch County, which consisted of Blane Pish, Karlee Shiery, Tyler Landis and Tyler Neukom. The top-ranking individual in the Junior 4-H division was Peter Sardo II from Oakland County.

Winning the Senior FFA Team division and having the opportunity to represent Michigan FFA at the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Kentucky, is the team from Coopersville FFA, consisting of Darren Kulicamp, Claire Zahm, Cassie Perrin and James Brown. In addition to the team prizes, each team member also received a $125 scholarship as part of the Team Building Award program from the Michigan Youth Livestock Scholarship Fund.

Hopkins FFA members MaKenna Davies, Katrina Tucker, Shannon Veld and Vanessa Veld won the Junior High FFA Team division with Tyler Landis of Homer FFA taking home top honors in the individual Junior FFA competition. In the MLE division, Katy Kesler of Hastings, Michigan, was the top-ranking individual.

A special thank you to all of the contest and award sponsors: Family Farm and Home, Michigan Angus Association, MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Youth Livestock Scholarship Fund, Steve and Nancy Thelen and W. A. Herford and Sons Farm. The event would not have been possible without the generous contribution of classes. Livestock for the contest was provided by the following Michigan farms: Breasbois Farms, Hunt’s Boer Goats, MacNaughton Herefords, MSU Beef Center, MSU Swine Teaching and Research Center, Ridgeview Farm, Scramlin Southdowns, Souva family and Wheaton Hampshires.

Does livestock judging peak your interest? Visit the Michigan 4-H Animal Evaluation page or the Michigan State University Extension website for animal science content. 

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