How do you become a judge?

According to Hawkins, most judges have worked for years within the industry to establish their reputations as reputable livestock men and women, educators, managers, and marketers.  Young people may develop their livestock evaluation skills through 4-H, FFA, and collegiate livestock judging programs.  Word of mouth referrals are also a big factor in securing show judging jobs, says Ward.

“As a first step, participate in as many activities as possible,” says Ward. “This might include breed association activities, exhibiting your own cattle at shows, or participating in collegiate livestock judging contests. This is how you first get noticed.”

As a beginning judge, one must be willing to travel and realize that even the best and most well-known judges must start somewhere.

“The first state fair I judged was the result of travelling two states away to judge a small county fair,” Ward reflects. “The superintendent of the state fair happened to be from that small county fair and liked how I handled myself. Two years later I got asked to judge their state fair.”

“True professional judges should avoid ‘campaigning’ for judging jobs,” says Ken Geuns, extension specialist at Michigan State University and seasoned livestock judge of cattle in over thirty-five states. “Do a good job and the jobs will come.”

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