Judging One Place at a Time

Claire Rausch

FFA students receive many opportunities to go head to head with other students to judge livestock, plants, or products.

At contests, students judge animals and dairy products according to various categories. Students rank the animals or products from first to last, according to its quality in hopes of placing them correctly.

Tammy Schnieders, FFA advisor, takes students to contests throughout the year. She is happy with how the students are performing so far.

“Many students are attending these contests for the first time, and they are realizing that it’s a lot easier than they thought,” Schnieders said, “They are doing better than how they thought they were going to do.”

From West Delaware, 17 students attended the Tri State Dairy Contest in early September. Some students judged cattle, while others judged milk quality.

The team of Georgie Hilby (10), Alex Zumbach (11), Laura Drummy (12), and Leah Goebel (12) placed fourth in the milk quality division. They rated the milk by looking, smelling, and tasting to detect off flavors in the milk like salt, garlic, onion, and extra water.

At Kirkwood College a Linn-Mar livestock judging contest took place on October 11. Participants judged pigs, cattle, sheep, and swine. Claire Rausch (10) earned the top score from West Delaware and placed 37 out of the 359 participants.

Luke Bandy (12) started judging as a freshman. One of his biggest accomplishments is winning overall at the Clayton County FFA 4-H judging contest. There he rated all types of livestock.

One of his favorite parts of judging is meeting new people. Judging has also prepared Bandy for his future in farming by teaching him what to look for in livestock.

“Now I can have the best quality animals on my farm,” Bandy said.

Sophomore Adam Monaghan, who raises cattle on his farm, looks forward to the next beef judging contest. He will look for characteristics like powerful legs, straight back, and a solid body tone.  

“I enjoy the freedom of getting to place the livestock the way I want to,” Monaghan said.

Senior Laura Drummy, a dairy products judger, faces obstacles most contestants don’t face. Drummy is lactose intolerant, so she judges based off scent and how the product looks. One of her best memories is from her first contest when she won third place individually and her team won first in the district.

“I’ve learned that every time I practiced and worked hard at it, the contests got easier,” Drummy said.