ME FFA competes in livestock competition

CASSTOWN — Three members of the Miami East-MVCTC FFA Chapter recently represented Ohio at the 123rd American Royal Livestock Judging Contest in Kansas City, Missori.

The team consisted of Rhylee Eichhorn, Wyatt Black and Dustin Winner. The members were able to participate after placing third in the Ohio FFA Livestock Evaluation competition in the spring of 2022.

The focus of the American Royal Livestock Judging Contest is to develop the skills necessary to effectively evaluate beef, swine, sheep and goats. During the contest the contestants judged 10 classes of livestock and gave six sets of oral reasons. The team placed 13th with Rhylee Eichhorn as the highest placing individual from Miami East.

While in the Kansas City area, the team visited and practiced judging at Kansas State University. They also had practices at the Brian Habjan Family Farm and with Ward Brothers Cattle. They made stops at Cavendar’s Western Wear and Cabela’s. Additionally, the team ate at local restaurants such as Joe’s Gas Station BBQ, the Hereford House and Fritz’s Railroad Café where the meal was delivered by a toy railroad train.

Prior trip preparations included practices at the Eichhorn Showpigs with Rhyan and Alisha Eichhorn, Lynn Allen Goat Farms with Brent and Christine Pence and Fine Brothers Show Sheep with Bryan and Lindsey Fine. Additional support was given by the Miami Valley Career Technology Center and the Miami East FFA Alumni and Supporters.

During the Livestock Evaluation Career Development Event (CDE), members rank breeding and market classes of beef, sheep and swine and give oral reasons to back up their decisions. Members participating in this CDE make accurate and logical observations of livestock, decide on the desirable traits in marketing and breeding livestock and select and market livestock that will satisfy consumer demands and provide increased economic returns to producers. Understanding what makes a good market or breeding beef, sheep or swine is valuable knowledge for the decisions every livestock producer has to make. This CDE also encourages students to communicate proficiently, interpret data and work as a team — skills that translate into other career opportunities.