UNION COUNTY — Union County 4-H members have been busy traveling, participating, and competing in many events so far this year.
The two most recent events were the State 4-H Dairy Judging and State 4-H Livestock Judging competition. These competitions consist of evaluating groups of four animals and placing them 1st through 4th place. The youth base their selections on scientific and economical reasons such as structural correctness, growth, and milk production. In addition, the youth also take notes on classes and present a set of “reasons” why they ranked the animals as they did to a judge. The 4-H’ers are evaluated not only on their placings but also on how well they present their oral reasons. These competitions not only build evaluation skills but communication skills as well.
On April 14, the South Carolina State 4-H Dairy Judging contest was held at Clemson University. Competitors had to evaluate several groups of four dairy animals consisting of various breeds and ages.
Union County 4-Hers competed in this competition and did quite well. The six Union County members that competed were Fagan Laux, Fallon Laux, Hannah Henson, Wyatt Nance, Jenna Waters, and Jolee Cathcart. The Junior Team consisting of Jolee Cathcart, Fallon Laux, and Fagan Laux placed 3rd Overall. In the Individual Category, Hanna Henson placed 5th and Wyatt Nance placed 10th Overall.
On April 6, the South Carolina State 4-H Livestock Judging Competition was held at Clemson University. Almost 50 youth from across the state came to T. Ed Garrison Arena to compete in this event.
Competitors had to evaluate several groups of four animals each consisting of beef heifers and steers, goats, sheep, and hogs. To be successful youth have to understand the anatomy of each particular species and be able to evaluate each animal against the standards that are accepted as being ideal. Contestants must also be able to organize their thoughts and communicate why they placed those animals in a specific order. Youth were able to compete as an individual and/or as a team of 3-4 youth.
Two Union county 4-H’ers competed in the livestock-judging contest, Rachel Ann Cathcart and Jolee Cathcart, and did quite well. They competed as individuals as well as on a team that consisted of friends from other counties from around the state.
In the Junior Division, Jolee’s team, which also included members from Anderson and Pickens counties, won 1st place in Beef Judging and 1st place in Meat Goat Judging. This team also won 4th in the Overall placings.
In the Senior Division, Rachel Ann’s team, which included members from Laurens and Colleton counties, won 1st place in Meat Goat Placings, 1st in Sheep Placings, and 1st place in Sheep Reasons. They won 2nd place in Beef Judging and 2nd place in Swine Judging. The Union/Laurens/Colleton Team won 2nd place Overall.
As an individual competitor, Rachel Ann won 1st place in Sheep Judging, and 4th place Overall. The 4th place Overall position places her on the South Carolina State 4-H Livestock Judging Team. This team will compete at the National 4-H Livestock Judging Competition held at The North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky this November.
“I am very excited and honored to be able to go represent South Carolina at this competition,” Rachel Ann said. “I am very nervous but look forward to competing and I thank 4-H for this great opportunity.”
Mark Cathcart is Union County 4-H Agent and Director of 4-H Youth and Youth Development.