An Aid for Preparing Livestock Judging Oral Reasons Back »

Photo: Audrey Rider, 2013


Giving reasons is one of the most useful things you will have the opportunity to do while judging livestock. Preparing and giving reasons helps develop memory and public speaking skills, all while participating in an industry based activity. However, regardless of if you are just starting or at the college level, they can be a tough task to complete and be successful at. This article will give you a better understanding of how to accomplish the experience and score you wish to achieve. 

How to Properly Take Notes

The time between judging a class of livestock and actually walking through the door to the reasons taker can easily be a few hours. Combine that with multiple classes to talk reasons on and the stress of getting all the livestock classes right, and it soon becomes no easy task. That's why it’s important to use proper note taking techniques to better your chances of getting it right. What is the objective of note taking? The main objective is to help improve your reasons score by increasing your accuracy.

How Do Notes Help Accomplish This?

  • They should help you recall details,
  • Visualize the class in your mind, and
  • Organize your reasons format.

First, proper formatting of your note pad is crucial to organize your thoughts and convey how you saw the class being placed. Below is the setup for your notebook that will help you best accomplish both of these things. 

Second, it is important to know how to use the boxes and the different categories in which you need notes. 

Opening Statement: The objective of the opening statement is to give a brief summary of the class winner to grab the attention of the reasons taker. Your opening statement should reflect the class structure. Example: “The Baldy heifer wins easily and I marked 1 over 2 in my top pair.”

Advantage boxes: This is your chance to really highlight the animals and to fully describe them in detail. The most important advantage box is the class winner because it's the only time you get to talk about that animal. Example: “The black-headed barrow is the widest constructed at the surface and up high is the heaviest muscled.”

Grant Boxes: This is your chance to give an advantage to the animal that is placed in 2nd. You can also use your grant box to state the similarities between the two animals. Example: “The sock-footed steer in second is a heavy muscled, stout constructed steer like my winner.”

Fault Boxes: These boxes are to truly explain why you placed an animal under another and to criticize that animal thoroughly. Example: “That being said, 2 is a flat-sided, narrow constructed heifer that is built the most upright on both ends of her skeleton.”

Remember, your score gets evaluated on more than just getting the class right or describing the livestock correctly. Although both of those are the major parts there are some points to be gained with creativity and being impactful with your voice and your delivery. The organization of your set is important. Describe the big things first, then break down the smaller details. 

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