TOP STORY — May 21, 2013
HARRISONBURG, Va. — The Virginia 4-H and FFA Youth Cattle working Contest had its 2013 state championship contest held at the Virginia Beef Expo on April 20.
Statewide, approximately 60 teams had competed at five regional contests to qualify to compete at the state event.
The top 10 teams competed in Harrisonburg with the Orange County team consisting of Robert Nixon, Blake Hopkins, and Zach Swope emerging as the state champions.
The other Orange 4-H team consisting of Garret Chambers, Kelly Shifflett, and John Michael Knight placed second just one point behind.
The contest has grown in popularity in the 19 years since its inception when all competition occurred at the Beef Expo. Competitors demonstrate their skills in processing young beef cattle for health and productivity and learn the concepts of Beef Quality Assurance.
Competitors in the event planned and then processed three stocker calves.
They first complete a Cattle Processing Plan providing information about the products that were used, how they are used, and where they are administered.
This document becomes a permanent health record for this group of cattle.
If the cattle are sold this document would accompany the cattle, so the new owner is aware of the details surrounding health products administered to the cattle.
Contestants then process the calves. Calves received three vaccinations, an injectable dewormer, a growth promotant implant, an insecticide ear tag and had an ear notch sample collected for BVD persistent infection analysis.
Scores were given by judges on the correctness of the procedures performed by contestants.
Contestants were also scored on their ability to handle the cattle. Smooth, quiet handling is being sought to minimize potential injury to cattle and people.
Points may be deducted for noisy or rough handling and errors in catching heads, moving cattle, etc. Safety was also scored for the teams that competed. Any action that seemed to put the handlers or cattle at risk resulted in a deduction for safety.
Time for completion of the processing is part of the contest as well. To receive maximum score all calves needed to be processed in eight minutes or less.
The emphasis is to encourage the efficient processing of calves but not to pressure such fast activity that errors occur and safety is jeopardized.