Virginia’s 4-H Livestock Judging Team placed fourth overall at the National 4-H Livestock Judging Competition held during the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Ky., on Nov. 19, 2013.

Thirty-one teams competed, with the Illinois, California, and Indiana teams placing first, second, and third, respectively. The Virginia team’s fourth-place finish makes it eligible to represent the U.S. at the Royal Highland Show in Scotland in June.

Virginia’s team members are

  • Cody Boden of Frederick County;
  • Jack Redifer of Montgomery County;
  • Lindsey Fenster of Rockbridge County; and
  • John Clouse of Montgomery County.

Contestants judged four classes of beef cattle, three classes of sheep, three classes of swine, and one class of market goats and answered 10 questions about a class of sheep and a class of swine. They also gave four sets of oral reasons explaining how they judged the different livestock classes.

“Youth are asked to analyze and place a class of four animals.  This requires them to develop and utilize keen critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. They must also make solid decisions that they can later defend when presenting the reasons regarding the placing to an official,” said Paige Pratt, 4-H youth livestock Extension specialist at Virginia Tech and the team’s coach. “The skills they gain from these events will provide them with the tools and contacts that will allow them to be more successful in their future careers.”

As individuals, Boden placed 4th overall and Clouse placed 15th. The Virginia team also placed second overall in swine, fifth in beef cattle, fifth in sheep and goats, and seventh in oral reasons.

The team will travel to Europe in June 2014 and will be fundraising for the trip until then. In addition to participating in the Royal Highland Show, the group will have the opportunity to visit several other European countries to learn about their agriculture systems.

The Virginia 4-H Foundation’s 4-H Livestock Youth Development Endowment provided support for the team’s travels this fall.  

For more information about supporting the team or any youth livestock event in Virginia, contact Paige Pratt at 540-231-4732.