This article was written by Megan Nielson, former 4-H Youth Livestock Field Specialist.
With State Fair fast approaching youth are gearing up to compete at the State 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest. This year the contest will be held on August 31st in the Open Class Dairy Complex at the State Fair in Huron, SD. Kids will show off their skills in dairy cattle selection and ability to defend their decisions through oral and check type reasons. Top five youth in each age division and top three teams will receive awards sponsored by the Midwest Dairy Association. Check out the 2014 Rules & Guidelines for more information on participating in this year’s state contest!
Within the contest, kids will evaluate 2-5 classes of dairy cattle. Seniors and juniors will deliver sets of oral reasons that are judged on accuracy of describing the class and the use of proper terminology. Beginners practice reason skills by completing questions that challenges them to recall information on animals evaluated within a class. All three age divisions also complete a skills problem quiz that tests their knowledge of dairy cattle conformation and key concepts from the Dairy Cow Unified Scorecard.
Following the contest, contestants and families have the opportunity to listen to officials and view contest results. Among the awards, the top four senior contestants will have the opportunity to represent South Dakota 4-H in the 2015 National 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest. Those youth will have a year to prepare for the national contest with help from leading dairy producers and volunteers in South Dakota’s. National team preparation will be organized by the State 4-H Office as well as assistance from Tracey Erickson, SDSU Extension Dairy Field Specialist.