Students learn judging basics at UWP ag day

May 1, 2003

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PLATTEVILLE-Agriculture-minded high school students - about 1,300 of them - took a walk on the wild side in late March by participating in the annual agriculture judging day at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville campus and Pioneer Farm.

The Southwestern Wisconsin Future Farmers of America Career Development and agriculture judging event drew students from 67 schools.

There were 358 teams judging events including agricultural mechanics, agronomy, farm business management, floriculture, horses, poultry and wildlife.

A chill wind didn't dampen the enthusiasm for Cassie Everson and Kelliann Blazek, both Bangor Schools freshmen, who were participating as practice judges at the Pioneer Farm beef area.

Dodging raindrops and huddling around the fence, Everson and Blazek learned to evaluate the muscling and frames of market steers as practice judges. "It's a great experience," said Everson. Blazek added, "I wouldn't miss this for anything." Besides judging heifers, they went on to judge heifers, gilts and sheep at the farm.

UWP faculty member Mike Mee served as coordinator of the dairy contest. Mee's veteran experience - about 20 years' worth - was evidenced with his calm approach as dozens of students converged on him with questions.

"This is a great educational experience for these students," said Mee. "The theme is ag skills development, and they are getting it. Things are going fine today," he added.

Cody Sorge, a Riverdale High School freshman, was absorbed in udder judging. "We see a lot of cows here; this is a great experience."

Pecatonica Schools junior Stephanie Jeglum got her first experience judging cows at the event. "It's helping me to judge cows better, and I'm learning what to look for."

The event served as area judging for dairy cattle, livestock evaluation, wildlife and agriculture mechanics teams attempting to qualify for state competition.

Contests were evaluated general knowledge and participants needed to show an understanding of the basic laws and regulations pertaining all areas of agriculture. Students can compete in other events at state without qualifying at the local events.

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