NDSU Extension - Morton County


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February 12, 2018 Livestock Judging & Life Skills

We are in the midst of Livestock Judging season for North Dakota 4-H. The teams have been working hard and as you will see in the results listed below, it has paid off. The reason I wanted to share about Livestock Judging is because it is one of the reasons I am an Extension Agent and I believe it, along with other agriculture related judging activities, has enormous value to our agriculture industry here in North Dakota. I hope that after you read this, you too will see the value. And when you see the team participants, I encourage you to give them a high five or a pat on the back for the outstanding job they are doing representing Morton County. These youth are the future leaders in agriculture.

Receiving first place at State events, which results in earning a trip to the National Contest at the senior level, is always a goal for teams competing, but there is much more to be gained from participating in judging contests and other 4-H competitive events. Listed below are just a few of the many life skills participants can acquire. For timely purposes, I have used livestock judging for my examples.

  • Critical Thinking. Participants have to analyze the class in detail and organize their thoughts to call to mind all of the material that was taught in practices in order to choose the correct placing.
  • Decision Making. Participants have to make decisions about the classes in a timely manner in order to complete their note taking for reasons.
  • Self-Discipline. Participants have to practice self-discipline in order to memorize reasons and improve scores.
  • Communication. Participants practice communication skills by speaking in front of a judge.
  • Marketable Skills. Livestock judging gives them the basics of livestock selection which can lead to many different careers in agriculture.

These are just a few of the valuable life skills 4-H has to offer, a great reason to join if you are not already a member.

The following words of wisdom were written by some of the junior livestock judgers on our trip to Fargo.

                       “Livestock judging is a great experience for all people. For those involved in the agricultural industry, it can help you select and purchase the best fitting livestock for your operation. For those not going into the agricultural industry, it helps improve your social, memorization, and communication skills. For those who don’t know, livestock judging includes selecting animals from top to bottom from a class of 4, and memorizing reasons why you placed them in that order. The animals include: cattle, sheep, swine, and (sometimes) goats. Our dream is to one day go to the national contest. Our coaches always challenge and inspire us to push us to be the very best that we can be. So we hope that one day we can fulfill our dream of going to the national contest. We hope that after this, we will be a part of the agriculture industry, running our own ranching operations and feeding the world. We encourage those not involved in livestock judging to join because of all of the great skills and opportunities.”

This year, we have 10 junior and 4 senior 4-Her’s in the Morton County livestock judging program. We have participated at two contests so far including Napoleon and the NDSU Saddle and Sirloin Little “I” Contest in Fargo. At Napoleon the juniors placed 1st as a team with Ty MacDonald placing 2nd, Medora Ellingson placing 4th, Clayton Marohl placing 6th and Cassidy Strommen placing 16th. Others participating included Justin Bonogofsky, Grant Hauge, Cooper Strommen, Cecilia Marohl, and Sheridan Ellingson.  The Senior team placed 4th. Competing were Jacy Hauge who placed 3rd, Tyrel Clarys who placed 7th, and Allison Smith who placed 16th

The Little “I” contest was another success for the junior 4-H team, placing 2nd overall. The team took 1st in reasons, 1st in swine, 3rd in beef, 5th in sheep, and 5th in placings. Overall individually, Medora placed 7th, Ty 10th, Cassidy 17th, and Grant 28th. Also in reasons Ty was 4th and Medora was 5th. In beef, Medora placed 3rd, and Ty placed 8th. In Swine Cassidy took 5th place and Medora took 6th. Others participating in Little “I” were Justin, Clayton, Cooper, and Karsten Peterson.

 We will participate in the West River Judging Contest in Beulah and the 4-H State Livestock Judging Contest in Fargo in the coming weeks.  The 4-Her’s have been working hard, and we are very proud of their accomplishments. Their future in livestock judging is bright.



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