Youth interested in livestock evaluation can participate in a national, virtual Nebraska livestock judging camp on June 16-18.
Daily Zoom sessions from 10 a.m. to noon C.T. will be open to any age of youth, from anywhere in the U.S., said Doug Smith, animal science professor and livestock judging coach at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis.
“Since our traditional on-campus livestock judging and animal science field days in Curtis and Lincoln were canceled due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, we came up with another way to stay connected with Nebraska youth,” explained Smith.
“We will start with beef cattle on the first morning, followed by sheep and goats on Wednesday, and conclude with swine on Thursday,” he said.
Topics will include EPD’s for cattle, note-taking, priority traits for market and breeding animals, terminology and phrases to use in reasons, and evaluation of practice classes.
Youth can gain not only from evaluation and placings but by written reasons e-mailed each afternoon for individual review and feedback.
Blaine French, livestock judging coach and youth educator at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is co-coordinator of the virtual camp.
“We’re just really excited to be able to offer this opportunity to the youth of Nebraska and elsewhere,” said French, who splits his work in UNL animal science at the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources with Nebraska Extension.
“This will be a unique way for students to have some interaction with Nebraska coaches as well as practice before their 4-H and State FFA contests this summer,” French added.
NCTA interim dean Kelly Bruns, a former livestock judging coach and animal science professor for 18 years, helped Smith and French with virtual camp logistics and filming livestock.
Much of that video was compiled with the assistance of Judging Pro, a Missouri company specializing in livestock evaluation resources.
“Reasons may be the most interesting part of our work with the students,” French said. “They will e-mail the reasons by 5 p.m. and I’ll spend Tuesday and Wednesday evenings reviewing and critiquing those. Dr. Smith will review the swine reasons and we’ll have responses back before we resume the next morning.”
A single payment per household enables several family members to participate. Once registered, participants will receive a Zoom link.