Judging livestock, equine, meat, crops, and horticulture (Yes I know the list could go on and on) is something that can’t be taken lightly. This is a hobby for some and it helps others decide to pursue a career in judging. Scholarships can be won, and future employers can be found. All by you telling someone how you placed a class, and spotted some of the smallest differences.
As a judge you will have to compare and contrast. Yeah we all can see the obvious differences between two things, but what do you see that we can’t? That’s what makes a judge unique. The judges that can spot the smallest difference between two things (some of which look identical) and can give a set of reasons fluently on that subject.
Giving reasons isn’t always easy. Your ability to memorize and then go and talk about something you saw ten or more minutes ago is not an easy task, unless you have photographic memory. These judges have to not only spot the differences in these subjects, but they have to talk about why they placed what they did and where they did. If that’s not intense enough, they also have to give this set of reasons to a complete stranger that is a judge and has unlimited knowledge on whatever that subject is. Talk about nerve racking.
You made yourself look crazy at times. You've paced the floor relentlessly and talked to walls and mirrors. You wanted to fifty that class. You wanted to be high individual. You wanted for you and your teammates to win that judging contest. You weren’t afraid to get your hands dirty to handle that lamb, and you weren’t afraid to say your reasons loud and proud when it was your time.
You spend your time practicing judging everywhere. When you are in the grocery store your mom has to pull you away from the steak section because you are evaluating the marbling. At stock yards you walk around placing past FFA and 4-H market animals. You make your family listen to that new set of horse reasons you learned. In class you present your school projects like you present your reasons to the judges. Sometimes you make people uncomfortable with how fierce your eye contact is with them. You carry your judging notebook with you everywhere you go.
As an agriculture judge you probably have that one favorite notebook. The one that has been with you since the day you decided to begin judging. It’s been around the state, and the world with you. Without it at judging events you feel scared, because that notebook is your lucky charm. Stock Show Boutique happens to have some amazing judging books that can be personalized.
As a judge you probably own more blazers than you do actual clothes. You make sure your pants are starched and boots are polished. The dry cleaners probably know you by first name and your parents are probably now friends with them. “How’s the kids Earl?”
An agriculture judge is a great person, but an even better public speaker. These judgers are motivated on their own to constantly aim for a perfect score.
About Breanna Viles is a current college student who is combining her passion for agriculture and love for writing together, which created Raised in a Barn on Facebook. On WordPress her blog is called Raised Right in a Barn is an informational and educational blog that is helping give agriculture a much needed voice. When she isn't blogging she is spending time with her family, boyfriend, or enjoying life on the farm.