Article| Volume 80, ISSUE 8, P1884-1887, August 1997

Dairy Cattle Judging Teaches Critical Life Skills

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      Competitive dairy cattle judging at the collegiate and 4-H levels were started in 1908 and 1919, respectively, but few studies have been conducted to determine the benefits of competitive judging programs. Collegiate judging team programs have had a positive effect on participants and benefited personal character traits. Judging team participation has influenced evaluation, communication and decision-making skills, and confidence. Each year, several thousand youth from 4-H, FFA, and colleges participate in judging program activities that are taught by extension agents, vocational agriculture teachers, breed association and AI personnel, and other industry volunteers. Judging programs help youth learn critical life skills, such as critical thinking, self discipline, situation analysis, decision making, organization, verbal expression, and defense of decisions. International dairy cattle judging activities provide youth and adults with significant learning experiences regarding the globalization of animal agriculture. Academic institutions should continue to provide leadership and training programs to ensure that adequate numbers of volunteers and professional educators are trained for the future.

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