4-H

This summer, Gordon County 4-H’ers took part in three different judging contests: dairy cattle, livestock and poultry. Originally scheduled for the spring, these contests were rescheduled and held virtually this summer.

Dairy cattle judging

Twenty-one youth participated in the 2020 Georgia 4-H State Dairy Judging Contest on July 14.

“Though not an ideal way to view cattle, this tremendous group of young people took it all in stride,” said Jillian Bohlen, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension dairy specialist and professor of animal and dairy science at UGA. “Sorting through five classes of animals, each competitor worked diligently to find those that best fit the ideal for dairy cattle. Our senior competitors excelled in their justification of placings in reasons that were among the best, collectively, I have heard. I applaud each youth member that competed on their dedication to this program and their work in the contest. I would also like to thank Dr. Bill Graves, professor emeritus, for his assistance in officiating the contest.”

The annual evaluation competition is a major event for the Georgia 4-H Livestock Program. Youth participating in the Dairy Judging Program acquire a better knowledge of dairy-related topics and learn to demonstrate their knowledge in a competitive environment. The contest also encourages youth to enhance their skills in decision-making, critical thinking, problem solving and social skills as a team member.

In the virtual format, senior participants, from ninth through 12th grade, reviewed videos to place five classes of cows and heifers into specific classes and submitted two videos providing reasoning for their placings. Junior participants, grades four through eight, reviewed five videos for placement.

The youth competed individually for high individual and as a team through the combination of the top county individuals. Participating from Gordon County were Wes Brown, Seth Carr, Joshua Carr and Breana Manning.

Livestock judging

43 youth participated at the 2020 Georgia 4-H State Livestock Judging Contest on June 20, 2020. This evaluation competition is a major event for the Georgia 4-H Livestock Program. Youth participating in the Livestock Judging Program acquire a better knowledge of livestock through learning to identify types, grades, breeds and classes of livestock as well as develop skills in animal science and profitable farming. The contest also encourages youth to enhance their skills in decision-making, critical thinking and problem solving.

“While this year’s State 4-H Livestock Judging Contest was not held in a traditional manner, we still felt the need to provide this opportunity to Georgia 4-H’ers,” said Sarah Loughridge, University of Georgia Animal and Dairy Science Youth Extension Livestock Coordinator. “Livestock judging not only teaches evaluation skills, but also necessary decision making and soft skills desired by employers.”

The main components of the contest include judging classes of livestock, such as market or breeding-beef cattle, swine, sheep and/or meat goats as well as justifying their decisions through oral reasons and question sets. In the virtual format, Senior participants, from ninth through 12th grade, will review videos to place the different livestock into specific classes, answer a set of questions on a designated class and submit three videos providing reasoning for their placings. Junior participants, grades forth through eighth grade, will review videos for placement as well as answer question sets for two classes selected throughout the contest.

The youth compete individually for high individual and as a team through the combination of the top county individuals. Participating from Gordon County were:

♦ Junior Team — winning 2nd place in the contest: Wes Brown; Seth Carr — 5th place in swine, 4th place in sheep and goats and5th place in reasons and questions; Ally Jo Cook; Henry Duggin; Lowry Duggin — 3rd place in sheep and meat goats; Kylie Hurd -2nd place individual overall, 1st place in cattle and 1st place in reasons and questions; Caroline Jenkins; Hannah Jones; and Matthew Worley — 5th place in sheep and goats

♦ Senior Team: Breana Manning; Brent McDaniel; Hannah McElrath — 5th place in swine; Rebekah McElrath — 5th in sheep and meat goats; Hunter Petty — 3rd place individual overall, 4th place in cattle, 3rd place in swine and 5th place in reasons and questions; Gabrielle Ralston — 1st place in cattle, 3rd place in swine and 3rd place in reasons and questions; Jazmine Ralston — 5th place in cattle, 4th place in swine and 2nd place in reasons and questions; and Bryson Smith

Poultry judging

Eighty youth participated in the online 2020 Georgia 4-H state poultry judging contest hosted on July 6, 2020 in collaboration with the University of Georgia Poultry Science Department.

This evaluation competition is a culmination of many months and sometimes years of studying Georgia’s top agricultural industry. The event provides youth an opportunity to learn and understand the standards used in poultry and egg production. In addition, they learn the importance of marketing to the public and how to apply those learned skills in a realistic decision-making process. The poultry judging program teaches animal husbandry fundamentals as well as life skills including critical thinking, teamwork and oral communication.

“The virtual judging format this year, while a bit more challenging, is still a great way for us, as a university, to interact with Georgia youth interested in agriculture and, specifically, poultry,” said Casey Ritz, UGA poultry science professor and Extension coordinator. “Unique opportunities such as these will hopefully be remembered by our youth and help to shape their futures. Even in trying times as we have, these events give us the opportunity to share with students the great programs and events available to them here at the UGA Department of Poultry Science.”

In the virtual format, senior participants in grades nine through 12 evaluated classes through a PowerPoint presentation and online test of their evaluation skills. This contest includes nine classes for youth to apply egg and carcass grading as well as place live bird classes based on egg-laying productivity. In addition, participants must justify their decisions through oral reasons.

Participating from Gordon County were: Joshua Carr, Breana Manning, Hannah McElrath, Rebekah McElrath and Jazmine Ralston.

For more information about any of these contests or to join 4-H, contact the Gordon County Extension/4-H Office at 706-629-8685.

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