AGEC students earn national title with Dairy Judging Team

The Purdue Dairy Judging Team started preparing for the 2018-2019 Dairy Judging season at the start of this past fall semester. Ryan Benter (Junior; Agribusiness Management; Brownstown, IN) is one of the few students who have the honor of being on this prestigious team. 

Beginning in August, their practices consisted of saying class reasons twice a week and taking weekend trips to practice placing and reasons. It was there that Steve Hendress, their coach who has held this position for over 20 years, would give them constructive criticism to prepare them for the National Judging Competitions. Ryan’s team practiced at various dairy farms throughout the state of Indiana and other states including Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Texas.

The basic setup of a dairy judging contest consists of selected individuals from each college competing as a team of four and individually, as they judge groups approximately 10 classes of dairy cows and heifers. Each contestant then meets one-on-one with a judge who listens to the reasons for the contestant’s placement. Scores are based on presentation as well as the accuracy of placement. The scores from placings and reasons are compiled up individually and then as a team. Once the scores have been added up, teams and individuals are ranked. To win individually, you must receive the largest combined score. For the team placings, the team must have the highest combined score of three teammates, as the lowest team member’s score is dropped.

Because of all the work Ryan and his teammates had put into preparations, they were able to come out on top as the first overall team at the Southwest National Intercollegiate Dairy Judging Contest located in Fort Worth, Texas. They secured first place in Brown Swiss and third in Holsteins to acquire that title.

Ryan has had a unique opportunity to visit premier dairy shows and operations while being on the team. “This has allowed me to network with industry leaders while being exposed to some of the best dairy cattle in the country.” Throughout his judging career, Ryan has been able to broaden his skills in decision-making, critical thinking, and oral communication, as well as build his self-esteem all while advancing his knowledge of the dairy cattle industry.

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