VERSAILLES, Ky. (April 27, 2018) — Welcoming teams from Southeastern Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference and Big 10 universities, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment recently hosted the All-East Intercollegiate Livestock Judging Contest at the Woodford County Fairgrounds.
The four-day competition is an annual event in which all colleges and universities east of the Mississippi River with livestock judging teams come together to put their skills to the test. The event rotates locations each year as the schools take turns hosting. The last time UK hosted was 2008.
Students studied sheep, swine and cattle in categories including market animal evaluation, animal selection, livestock judging and oral reasoning. These contests required students to retain knowledge, perform calculations, make decisions and logically defend their choices to a judge. Contest officials presented individual and team awards the final day of the competition.
Kane Austin is a graduate student in community and leadership development and the coach for the UK livestock judging team. His father, Steve Austin, is the UK extension associate for youth livestock programs and coaches the Kentucky 4-H livestock judging team. Kane is following in his father’s footsteps and teaching the next generation of students how to evaluate livestock and defend their choices.
“I grew up involved in livestock judging all my life … since I was four years old,” he said. “I just like to give back to kids that are interested in agriculture. The skills you gain from livestock judging pertain to all parts of daily life. Learning to make decisions and how to defend those choices quickly and accurately are really key. They also learn team building, time management and how to work with people. These activities make our young people well-rounded in all aspects of life.”
The UK livestock judging team will participate in several competitions in the fall and then finish the judging season in November at the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville.
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