S.D. 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest

Farm Forum

Article by Andrea Paulson with contributions from Megan Nielson.

Participation in the South Dakota State 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest gives youth an opportunity to gain knowledge about the dairy cattle project area while developing life skills they can carry into the future. Youth contestants learn how to make decisions in a timely manner, the importance of note taking and critical observation skills relative to the industry. These abilities enable youth to communicate their decisions accurately and effectively through presenting oral reasons.

The 2013 South Dakota State 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest will occur during the South Dakota State Fair in the Open Class Dairy Barn and is scheduled to take place on Sunday, September 1, 2013. Registration begins at 12:30 p.m. with the contest starting at 1:00 p.m. While competing in the contest, youth have 12 minutes to evaluate each class, mark their placings, and take notes. At the state contest, youth receive scores based on the completion of a skill problem, class evaluation, and check type or oral reasons.

The skill problem evaluates participants on general knowledge of dairy cattle. The beginner skill problem tests youth on the parts of a dairy animal, breed descriptions and score card material. Junior and senior skill problems are based on oral reasons terminology, judging criteria, Dairy Herd Information Association (DHIA) terminology and linear evaluations.

Reasons classes help 4-H contestants develop decision making and evaluation skills when judging. Check reasons and oral reasons test judgers on their ability to remember a class, as well as evaluate contestants on attention to detail while judging. Oral reasons assess junior and senior contestants on their knowledge of dairy cattle terminology and ability to reason their placing and their organizational skills. These skills ultimately strengthen each contestant’s communication abilities.

Awards are given to top individuals and teams in the three age divisions; beginner, junior, and senior. Youth who excel at reasons are also recognized. A special thank you goes to the Midwest Dairy Association for their continued support and generosity of sponsoring the 2013 State Contest Awards. Top award winners in the senior age division also receive the opportunity to travel to and compete in the National Dairy Judging Contest. The national contest, held in conjunction with the World Dairy Expo, takes place annually in Madison, Wisconsin.

The State 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest helps youth develop skills they can carry into future careers within not only the dairy industry, but many others as well. The challenges of time management, attention to detail and effective communication are critical aspects of this event. The Dairy Cattle Judging Contest allows for improvement and strengthening of life-long skills for today’s youth. To learn more about how to enter the State Contest reference the 2013 South Dakota State Fair 4-H Division Handbook.