Thomas Cobb column: Local youth compete in All American Dairy Judging contest
The North Carolina 4-H Dairy Judging team, along with myself and Melissa Staebner (4-H agent from Yadkin County), traveled to Harrisburg, Pa., Sept. 9 to compete in the All American Dairy Judging Competition.
The All American consists of teams from across the nation that compete in FFA, 4-H, 2-Year Collegiate, and Collegiate dairy cow judging.
Lauren Luther and Olivia Horning of Rowan County, Kelly Parkins of Haywood County, and Ethan Holland of Iredell County make up the North Carolina 4-H Dairy Judging A-Team.
The team placed eighth overall in the competition against 15 other 4-H teams.
Lauren Luther tied for 11th overall out of 58 competitors. Ethan Holland tied for 17th overall. Olivia Horning was 37th overall and Kelly Parkins finished 47th overall.
The team placed third overall in the Ayrshire breed, third overall in the Holstein breed and fifth overall in the Guernsey breed.
The competition consisted of five dairy breeds (Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Holstein and Jersey). Each of the five breeds had a cow class (cows that have had a calf) and a heifer class (cows that have not had a calf) resulting in 10 total classes to be judged in the competition.
The competitors were required to place four animals from one to four with one being the top cow in the class and four being the bottom cow in the class.
In addition to placing the classes, the competitors had to give oral reasons on the Ayrshire heifer class, and the Guernsey, Holstein and Jersey cow classes.
The competitors are judged on how well they place the animals in the class and how well they speak and present themselves giving their oral reasons for how they placed the class.
When competitors are judging a class, they look at a variety of characteristics that allows them to pick the top cow and work their way down to the bottom cow.
Some of these characteristics include size, feet and legs, udder attachment, teat placement and a variety of others.
The team will practice in a judging competition Sept. 20 at the Rowan County Fair to help prepare them for their competition in Madison, Wisc., at the World Dairy Expo.
To give a comparison, the World Dairy Expo is like the super bowl of dairy shows.
Melissa and I are very proud of these young men and women and the effort that they put into dairy judging.
If you would like more information, call the Rowan County Cooperative Extension at 704-216-8970.