February 07, 2012

Annual Livestock Contest & Workshop Offers Youth, Adults Experience with USDA Grade Standards and Traditional Judging Techniques

Register now for the March 10 event, Deadline is Approaching Quickly

The Missouri Livestock Grading and Judging Workshop and Contest will be held Sat. March 10 at the University of Missouri's Trowbridge Livestock Center in Columbia to provide youth and adults better livestock evaluation tools. The 2012 event marks the 23rd year for the program.

"It is important for producers to understand livestock grading and evaluation as they work to remain competitive in today's marketplace," said Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler. "Livestock is a critical component of Missouri's agriculture industry, and it is important that we provide opportunities for learning in a live-animal evaluation setting. This event is an educational opportunity for all ages to better understand the federal grade standards and sharpen their skills in evaluating livestock."

The workshop, open to grades nine or lower, provides youth involved in 4-H and FFA programs an educational opportunity to learn the process and technique of grading livestock. The workshop is available to the first 275 youth registrants.

Each 4-H and FFA group may register up to 8 members for the workshop, who must be accompanied by an adult leader, parent or instructor.

The contest, open to all ages, is an opportunity to apply national grading standards and to receive feedback on an individual level. Traditional cattle, hog, sheep and goat judging will complete the competition, with trophies being awarded to participants excelling in specific skill and species contests.

A uniform system of grading slaughter cattle by USDA standardizes the production, marketing and distribution of livestock and meats. The Missouri Livestock Grading and Judging Workshop and Contest will help participants apply those standards to grading feeder and slaughter cattle.

Participants ages 21 and older will have the opportunity to qualify as a certified livestock judge, which may lead to opportunities to judge future livestock competitions. The certified livestock judges list will be made available to livestock show officials, activity organizers and the Missouri Association of Fairs and Festivals.

Registration for the livestock contest or workshop is $6 per person. Registrations must be postmarked no later than Feb. 10, 2012. Registration forms are available online at mda.mo.gov or by calling (573) 751-5618.

For more information about the Missouri Department of Agriculture and its programs, visit the Department online at mda.mo.gov.