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Youth gain valuable experiences at 4-H, FFA livestock judging contest

EAST LANSING, MI -- A record 160 Michigan youth competed in the 2015 Michigan 4-H/FFA Livestock Judging Contest, held Thursday, July 16 at the Michigan State University (MSU) Pavilion.

The event, held in conjunction with the Michigan Livestock Expo (MLE), had contestants judge eight classes including three cattle classes, a class of Boer goats, two sheep classes and two swine classes. Each contestant then answered one set of questions and gave either three sets of oral reasons or answered three additional sets of questions. By participating in the livestock judging contest, contestants enhanced their livestock evaluation and selection skills, as well as improved their communication and decision making skills.

Contestants could complete in any of the five divisions: Junior 4-H, Senior 4-H, Junior High FFA, High School FFA or the MLE Division. The contest also offered a new opportunity this year: a sixth non-competitive division for 4-H Cloverbuds.

Winning the Senior 4-H Team division and having the opportunity to represent Michigan 4-H in Kansas City at the American Royal livestock judging competition is the team from Livingston County, consisting of Jenna Kingsley, Kate Miller, Esther Schmidt and Madison Walz. This team also ranked the highest overall amongst all the team divisions and won the second annual Dr. David Hawkins' Trophy sponsored by the Michigan Cattlemen's Association, Michigan Pork Producers Association and the Michigan Sheep Breeders Association. Each team member also received a $125 check as part of the Team Building Award program from the Michigan Youth Livestock Scholarship Fund.

In addition to recognizing the top team overall, Michigan 4-H will also allow top placing individual 4-H youth at the event to compete for a place on a cross-county team that will participate at the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky or the Keystone International Livestock Exposition in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The following top-ranking 18 contestants will have the opportunity to compete for eight spots to represent Michigan 4-H at one of these two national contests. Results are as follows:

1. Alexandria Schut of Kent County

2. Daniel Flynn of Branch County

3. Esther Schmidt of Livingston County

4. Cameron Hayden of Cass County

5. Victoria Olger of Clinton County

6. Tucker Gibbons of Livingston County

7. Madison Walz of Livingston County

8. Lauren Bickel of Lapeer County

9. Cassidy Polzin of Washtenaw County

10. Kollin Johnson of Branch County

11. Amanda Breuninger of Washtenaw County

12. Miles Wixom of Allegan County

13. Ty Cool of St. Joseph County

14. James Brown of Ottawa County

15. Kade Shiery of Branch County

16. Cassie Perrin of Ottawa County

17. Kate Miller of Livingston County

18. Brad Chapman of Monroe County

In the Junior 4-H Team division, top placing went to the team from Branch County, which consisted of Blane Pish, Karlee Shiery, Tyler Landis and Tyler Neukom.The top-ranking individual Junior 4-H division winner was Peter Sardo II from Oakland County.

Winning the Senior FFA Team division and having the opportunity to represent Michigan FFA at the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Kentucky is the team from Coopersville FFA, consisting of Darren Kulicamp, Claire Zahm, Cassie Perrin and James Brown. In addition to the team prizes, each team member also received $125 checks as part of the Team Building Award program from the Michigan Youth Livestock Scholarship Fund.

Hopkins FFA members MaKenna Davies, Katrina Tucker, Shannon Veld and Vanessa Veld won the Junior High FFA Team division with Tyler Landis of Homer FFA taking home top honors in theindividual Junior FFA competition.In the MLE division, Katy Kesler of Hastings was the top-ranking individual.

For more information about the contest, contact MSU Extension Educator, Julie Thelen at or 517-432-1626.