FAYETTEVILLE -- The annual Livestock Judging Camp brought lessons about priorities in livestock selection, current industry trends and communication skills to two dozen Arkansas students from across the state this June, with hopes of cultivating a new generation of experts.
The camp, held in Fayetteville and hosted by the department of animal science for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, is intended to not only increase participants’ knowledge of livestock, but help them to articulate what they see, said Bryan Kutz, Division of Agriculture instructor and youth extension specialist.
“We hope this camp can help improve their livestock skills for future competitions with FFA or 4-H,” Kutz said.
Participants, ranging in age from 9-17, were divided into groups based on their knowledge level and experience. The students learned about sheep, cattle, hogs and goats, as well as key terminology that accompanies each species and how to best explain the basis for their judging assessments.
While the three-day camp, held June 26-28, was intensely focused on the curricula of livestock judging, the event allowed participants to blow off steam as well, with diversions including an evening at the Altitude Trampoline Park in Fayetteville.
As the camp drew to a close, students were tested on what they had learned during a judging contest consisting of six classes with three sets of oral presentations. The camp concluded with an awards ceremony that divided into beginner, intermediate and advanced categories.
In the beginner group, Chloie Thomas of Farmington won first place, Jewels Stewart of Judsonia placed second and Rylie Bignar of Prairie Grove came in third.
In the intermediate group, Madalyn Johnson of Judsonia won first place, Abi Kelly of Fayetteville placed second and Sutton Nelson of Hermitage came in third.
In the advanced group Braden Harrod of Hermitage won first place, Selby Best of Hermitage placed second and Erica Corker of Warren came in third.