The next generation of livestock judges is being fostered with impressive results, by the Royal Agricultural Society Young Judges Competition.
Brothers William and James Robertson were contestants in the Royal Agricultural Society Young Judges Competition at the Waikato A&P Show.
Following his win in the contest at the Waikato A&P Show last year, St Paul’s collegiate pupil Gordon Fullerton, 17, of Hamilton, will represent New Zealand at Sydney Royal Easter Show in 2015.
Gordon won the right to represent New Zealand when he competed in the national stock judging finals at Manawatu A&P Show, winning the dairy judging and dairy parading sections. Gordon also came third in the wool and beef judging competitions.
Winner of the competition at this year’s Waikato A&P Show is Graham Johnson, 16, from Hamilton Boys’ High School, who’ll compete at the 2015 Royal Show in the Hawke’s Bay.
Waikato A&P Show senior vice-president Doug Lineham, who is a member of the executive committee for the Mid-Northern District A&P Society, says the competitions for those aged 15-25 are part of a deliberate strategy to engage young people from all backgrounds in agricultural activities.
Contestants try their hand at judging rams during the Royal Agricultural Society Young Judges Competition at the Waikato A&P Show.
“This year we held a training day at the Frankton Sale Yards to teach young people how to recognise the key points in livestock judging. That was followed by the competition at the Waikato A&P Show.
“Looking ahead to 2015 we hope to run a number of these competitions at A&P shows around the districts; and hold a district final to find competitors eligible to compete for the national titles.”
The 2014 Waikato A&P Show contest attracted eight contestants, three from Hamilton Boys’ High School, one from Hamilton Girls’ High School, three Hamilton City Young Farmers Club members and a member from the North King Country Club.
Second place-getter is Hannah Cameron from the Hamilton City Club.
Although she hails from a dairy farm background, Hannah’s a qualified pilot and an instructor at the Hamilton Airport.
Her second placing at the show also qualifies her to participate in 2015’s national finals of the Young Judges Competition.
Hannah Cameron and Rhea Nelis during the Royal Agricultural Society Young Judges Competition at the Waikato A&P Show.
Sophia Clark from the North King Country Club was third.
She’s a herd manager on dairy farm but was a general shepherd on Te Kuiti sheep and beef stations and is from a non-farming background.
Young Farmers Upper North Island field officer Casey Huffstutler was among those co-ordinating the Waikato A&P Show event and she too is enthusiastic about the contest.
“This is the second year the Waikato A&P show has resurrected the Royal Ag Society Young Judges Competition, starting something that seems to be on the revival.
“It’s fantastic to see young people having a go, honing their skills in judging wool types, dairy, sheep and beef breeds. The contest also helps these young people with public
Rhea Nelis judging a fleece during the Royal Agricultural Society Young Judges Competition at the Waikato A&P Show.