Judging livestock builds character at NCTA
CURTIS, Neb. – In what some describe as today’s “me” society, people ask whether the youth of today really care about their communities. At the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) in Curtis, Neb., the Livestock Judging Team works hard to uphold a mission of giving back to society.
It might be surprising that one of the most active organizations on the college campus is a group dedicated to evaluating, selecting, and placing livestock, but for Ryan Stainbrook, Livestock Judging Coach, serving one’s community – especially young people – comes before winning competitions.
“If given opportunities, the youth of the region have remarkable talent and potential,” said Stainbrook. “[The Livestock Judging Team] believes that by offering youth programs, competitions, and support we are ultimately helping develop rural Nebraska.”
Most of the activities developed by the Livestock Judging Team involve youth training and education. The group held its first “Aggie Days” competition in March for youth in 4-H and FFA. Participants competed in one of fifteen agricultural competitions. Students from McCook, Neb., took what they learned to help garner state championship titles in Floriculture and third place in state FFA Livestock Judging. The team from McCook also went on to represent Nebraska at the American Royal Stock Show in Kansas City, Mo., where they placed seventh in the nation.
Over the past year, Stainbrook and his students have developed an array of events to support youth in agriculture. In May, the Livestock Judging Team held a “High Plains Showdown.” The show was an opportunity for youth in 4-H to present their projects a place in addition to the county and state fairs.
In June, the team held the “Gold Standard Livestock Judging Camp,” which trained and enrich youth in agriculture for the future. In October, the team provided youth in the area with high quality livestock for the Nebraska Southwest District FFA Livestock Judging Contest. Because the event was hosted at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture campus, the organization also provided free supplies, facilities, and officials.
Along with their busy schedule assisting youth, the Judging team competes in 17 competitions across the nation annually. Students travel to Kansas City, Louisville, Houston, San Antonio, Denver, San Francisco, Phoenix, and other cities. They have consistently placed in the top ten at competitions. Team members must maintain a 2.5 GPA, even though the national requirement is 2.0.
The NCTA Livestock Judging Team is a non-profit organization and is operated upon charitable donations to the program. To support the NCTA Livestock Judgers and their goal of improving agriculture in youth in Nebraska, contact Coach Stainbrook at (308) 367-5286.
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