The Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences has taken steps to revive the intercollegiate livestock judging program. This program was started in the 1940s, but has not been active since 2009. Intercollegiate livestock judging has been a staple extracurricular activity offered by agricultural colleges since the 1910s and has served to develop many of the leaders of animal agriculture throughout Virginia and the country. Virginia Tech has been fortunate to have influential leaders of the intercollegiate livestock judging program, including Gary Minish and Dan Eversole. In the past, Virginia Tech has had high individuals at both the American Royal and Chicago International Livestock Exposition.
At the college level, most livestock judging contests require contestants to place 12 classes of livestock and defend the placings of eight of those classes with oral reasons. Intercollegiate livestock judging provides students the opportunity to increase their exposure to the livestock industry through experiences that cannot be obtained in the classroom. Team members have the opportunity to visit state and nationally prominent livestock operations and the ability to form lasting connections within the livestock industry. Livestock judging serves to develop critical decision-making and communication skills that build confidence and leadership, often translating to career success. Participation on the Virginia Tech livestock judging team is not limited to only students majoring in animal and poultry sciences, but is open to all undergraduates interested in the livestock industry.
The intercollegiate livestock judging program will be led by Bain Wilson, an instructor hired by the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences in September. Wilson is a native of North Carolina and recently graduated with his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, where he studied beef nutrition. As an undergraduate, Wilson competed in livestock judging at Black Hawk College in Kewanee, Illinois and at Kansas State University. While in graduate school, he had the opportunity to coach the 2011 National Champion 4-H livestock judging team from Illinois. In addition to coaching the Virginia Tech livestock judging team, Wilson will teach the Livestock Evaluation course, be involved with beef extension programming, conduct applied research in beef cattle nutrition and management, and serve as an advisor to the Block and Bridle Club.
The 2016 livestock judging team will compete throughout the spring and fall semesters. For more information about the Virginia Tech intercollegiate livestock judging program, contact Bain Wilson.