Hundreds of students huddled against the chilly breeze while judging livestock at the 60th annual Wilmington College Aggies Judging Contest Wednesday.
This annual event is an Ohio FFA Career Development Event (CDE) that aims to prepare students for agriculture careers by connecting classroom instruction with real-life scenarios.
Clipboards in hand, students judged contest areas including general livestock (swine, beef, sheep and goats), equine, agronomy and dairy.
“Coming out here and judging helps me in the long run because this gives me a heads up on what to look for, the new updates for things that I need to change or fix when I go to show in July,” said student Emma Hardacre, who attended the Wilmington College Aggies-sponsored event at the Champions Center and Clark County Fairgrounds.
Students from around the state attend every year. Hardacre has participated in dairy judging at this event for four years and has shown dairy cattle at the Clark County Fair since she was eight years old.
The students judged the animals at the same standards as the official livestock judges. At the end of the event, the student evaluations were then compared to that of the official judges for a grade.
“If you’re not from a rural community or if you don’t do the showing process at the fair, this is a great opportunity for students and young adults to come out and actually learn,” Hardacre said, who grew up on a sixth-generation dairy farm.
Hardacre is a high school senior in the Ag program at Global Impact STEM Academy, where she says agriculture is integrated into all of her classes.
High school sophomore Jerrod Teegarden of Darke County agrees that judging livestock helps prepare them for their futures.
“I show horses at the Darke County Fair, so this helps me get ready for shows, prepare for what I want to do in order to become a farrier and a horse trainer,” said Teegarden.
Student Brenden King, also of Darke County, added that this event shows “what the horse should look like, getting me ready for the future.” He owns horses and plans to become an animal nutritionist after he graduates.
CDEs are educational activities organized by the Ohio Department of Education, Office of Career-Technical Education, Agricultural Education.
For more information visit www.ohioffa.org/cde. For more information about the Wilmington College Aggies visit www.wilmington.edu/current-students/organizations/aggies.
Amanda Rockhold is a staff writer for Rural Life Today, an AIM Media Midwest publication.