Farm Talk


July 24, 2013

Dairy judging camp provides irreplaceable skills

Parsons, Kansas — An upcoming dairy judging camp held Aug. 7-9, in Springfield, Mo., will focus on developing life skills.

According to Karla Deaver, 4-H youth development specialist, University of Missouri Extension, 4-H and FFA judging opportunities help children develop skills in communication, and decision-making, while helping them increase their self-confidence.

“Judging helps build good character. In addition to communication skills, the practice in decision-making and defending those decisions is invaluable preparation for life's choices,” said Deaver.

The three day camp will be held in Springfield. Each day, campers will visit a local farm and judge classes of cattle. Afternoons and evenings will focus on practicing oral reasons, and meeting with judging team alumni working on individual skill development.

One Missouri 4-H alumnus credits the dairy judging experiences with helping her develop numerous life skills. Leslie Sheppard Appleton is currently a teacher in Cabool.

“I have had the chance to meet some of the greatest people in the world, visit many different states, and gain ever so vital experiences in public speaking. Giving oral reasons has helped me sharpen my speaking abilities. In today’s society, communication is the key to success. If you are not able to communicate with people then you probably will not be very successful in your career or in any other aspect of life,” said Appleton.

By becoming involved in judging teams, many young people develop a lifelong interest in the dairy industry, and often go on to agriculture-related careers. Judging team alumni are in many leadership positions within the industry, and continue to assist in training 4-H and FFA judges.

Appleton places the value on these judging contests at a high level.

“These types of experiences are irreplaceable and there is no dollar value to them. To some agriculture students, including myself, judging contest are our avenue to compete. This is no different than the athletes getting the opportunity to play in the NAIA, or NCAA Tournament,” said Appleton.

Dairy Judging Camp registration is $80 for Missouri 4-H members, $100 for all others. The registration fee is due July 25. The registration form is available online at

For more information on judging camp or other programs, contact Karla Deaver at the Lawrence County Extension Center in Mt. Vernon, 417-466-3102; Ted Probert at the Wright County Extension Center in Hartville, 417-741-6134, or your local county Extension center. £

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