Livestock Judging: The Surprising Benefits

livestock judgingWith the arrival of spring and the weather warming up, people are looking for fun things to do outdoors. One of the things that is a staple of spring are county fairs. Walk into any county fair, and you’ll be surrounded by great food, fun activities, a lot of people, and livestock. Livestock competitions are one of the main components of county fairs, and while not everyone gets into them, it’s a great opportunity for people who are experienced in working with livestock to connect with one another. Livestock competitions allow people to display their hard work in raising animals that are the best of their class. It gives people a sense of pride if their animal is judged well and a drive to prepare well and do better before the next competition. People love the thrill of competition, and livestock shows provide a unique source of competition.

The animals in livestock competitions have to be judged, and they’re judged based on a specific set of criteria in a short amount of time. This requires a person or a team of people who are experts in making quick and informed evaluations of animals. Livestock judging is vital to any livestock competition. It’s a role that requires a lot skill, but it can also be a lot of fun for those who do it. In fact, love for the profession is what drives many people to do it. Livestock judging, as it is with any competition judge, is about making informed decisions and making evaluations with integrity. Livestock judging is something that a lot of young people have taken an interest in, and there are many benefits that are involved in young people participating in livestock judging.

The Benefits of Livestock Judging

Livestock judging gives young people many valuable opportunities to develop skills that will help them for the rest of their lives. They’ll be able to apply the skills they learn as a livestock judge to any number of different professional situations they encounter later on in life, and for this reason, it is something parents should consider encouraging their kids to participate in.

Strong Decision Making Skills

Many of the best professions in the world are full of people with leadership capabilities. These are people who have the ability to make important decisions and contribute to moving an organization forward. Good decision making is one of the most important skills for anyone to have, and yet the ability to make good decisions rarely comes naturally. Instead, for many people good decision making is a skill that has to be developed through intentional practice. Livestock judging provides a rare opportunity to develop strong decision making skills, and the skill a young person learns while judging livestock will transfer well into a number of professions when they are older.

Livestock judges make an evaluation of the characteristics of an animal by comparing it to the other animals in a livestock competition, as well as comparing it to the ideal animal in a particular class of animal. In a livestock competition, four animals will be presented in a class. There are typically 12 classes of animals presented in a competition, and these classes consist of breeding and market cattle, breeding and market sheep, and breeding and market hogs. The livestock judge will rank each of the animals in a class by numbering them 1 through 4. The purpose of the rankings is to number the animals from least desirable to most desirable for the animal’s intended use. The judge has fifteen minutes for each class to make their observations and take notes before making their decision on how to rank the animals.

The rankings that the judge assigns aren’t based merely on the opinion of the judge, but upon careful criteria. The livestock judge must have an impressive knowledge of all the species and breeds of animals in the competition, as well as the markets that control the production of the animals. For each animal, the judge must be knowledgeable of the ideal animal they will be comparing the animal to and be able to make an accurate comparison of the animals to one another. Not only does the judge have to make an informed decision on the rankings of the animals, they also have to be able to communicate the reasoning for their decision.

The level of pressure a livestock judge experiences to make a decision in such a short time as well as basing that decision upon extensive knowledge and careful criteria helps the judge to develop the ability to make quick decisions. The great thing about livestock judging is that the judges are learning to apply a decision making process that, when properly followed, will produce an informed and healthy decision. They learn how to gather important information related to the decision they have to make and how to apply that information. When a person begins judging for the first time, they are likely to be highly nervous and struggle with their decisions. With repeated practice, however, they gain confidence in their decision making ability, and others gain confidence in them as well as they see the judge making well-informed and accurate rankings.

Communicating Clearly

Not only are strong decision making skills vitally important in today’s world of work, the ability to communicate well concerning those decisions is also vitally important. In almost any business in the world, the ability to communicate your thoughts in a clear, concise, and convincing manner is likely to help you go far. Livestock judging provides young people with the ability to develop their communication skills alongside their decision making skills. The judge makes a decision on each class of how the animals should be ranked from 1 to 4, but no one is required to just trust the decision of the judge without question, and this is a good thing. After the livestock judge announces their rankings within the class, they are then required to give oral reasons for their rankings. This is to show that they accurately applied their decision making process to arrive at a fair and informed decision. The job of the livestock judge at this point is to convince those that are there that the decision they made about how to rank the animals was the correct decision to make.

This requirement of thinking through the reasoning for their decisions and being able to formulate their reasoning into a verbal declaration helps them to develop important public speaking skills. When it comes to public speaking, there are people who get up and start speaking without much prior thought, and there are those that can quickly think through what they want to say and deliver a convincing verbal presentation that impresses and moves their audience. Livestock judging trains young people to be the second kind of communicator. The ability to think quickly and communicate clearly is a valuable skill that will surely help them later on in whatever profession they choose. For more information about communicating publicly, this course on Udemy teaches you how to organize your thoughts and communicate them clearly.

Developing Character

Though there are exceptions, people who have character tend to be more successful in life and in their professions. In this case, character means the ability to be trusted, to make decisions with integrity, and to exercise the personal leadership required to stay organized and motivated to work hard. Livestock judges are depended upon to make their decisions with integrity, and they have to exercise personal leadership. Because they know that trust is important, they strive to do their best to maintain the trust that people place in them. Livestock judging helps young people to develop the character that will be important to their future success.

Meeting New People

Livestock judging often involves travelling to different locations for livestock competitions, and this presents new opportunities to meet new people with each new competition you judge. Having new opportunities to meet people allows you to connect with others who share your interests. Young people can make life-long friends from livestock judging, and the ability to network is an important skill that will help them later on in their professional life. People often succeed in part based on the connections they are able to make with important people, so livestock judging is great practice at professional networking. For more information on professional networking, this course on Udemy simplifies the professional networking process.

Building Confidence

The whole process of judging a livestock competition requires a great deal of skill and integrity on the part of the livestock judge. With an increasing amount of livestock competitions that the livestock judge is involved in, their skills will continue to improve. This improvement of skills will naturally result in increased confidence. There’s nothing like the feeling of knowing what you’re doing and being confident in your ability to do it, and this is a skill that will help young people to strive for more and perform well under pressure in the professional world. Self-confidence is important to increasing success in the professional world, and this course on Udemy will help you to boost your confidence.

Becoming a Livestock Judge

As you can see, livestock judging brings with it a lot of developmental benefits, and it can be a lot of fun. Young people who want to get started in livestock judging can being developing their skills in FFA (Future Farmers of America) or 4-H clubs. There are also a number of collegiate programs for aspiring livestock judges to check out. It’s important to get to know people in the livestock industry and learn from everyone you can. An attitude of respect and genuine honesty can get you a long way with people, and that’s especially true in the livestock community. By developing good relationships with people already involved in the livestock industry, you’ll be availing yourself of potential word-of-mouth referrals that could possibly get you the jobs you need to be developing your skills and reputation as a livestock judge. Part of making yourself known in the livestock community is participating in as many events as possible, and this means events where you’re not judging. You could enter your own animals into a competition or participate in breed association activities. Every activity you involve yourself in, you’re making yourself known as someone who knows the livestock community. The skills you gain as a livestock judge are all about making yourself an indispensable member of a professional team. This course on Udemy helps you to be intentional about your personal development.