Poultry judge gives tips at fair
COLUMBUS, Neb. (AP)--Scott Adams knows exactly how the youths at the Platte County Fair feel.
The poultry judge was in their shoes 40 years ago when he was in FFA and first showed cattle at the event. He was 10 at the time, and later moved on to showing chickens.
The Columbus native is a 1967 graduate of Columbus High School and now lives in Richfield, Neb.
Adams was a judge at the fair for several years some time ago, and he returned to judging poultry for the first time since 2003.
He said he came back to the fair because he enjoys working with the kids and giving them advice to help them raise good birds.
Through the years that Adams has been around the fair, he said there have only been a few changes that he can see.
The variety of animals has increased. There were mostly chickens and pigeons, and only a few rabbits back then.
Another change is the handling of the animals. Parents used to be the ones handling poultry before the judges, but now the kids do it themselves.
Being able to work with the birds is something Adams said children learn from the animals in their 4-H projects. They learn how to handle them, feed them and possibly use what they learn to raise birds in their futures.
The poultry judging took on a recent Friday, the same day Brigham Stewart of Washington, Kan., was overseeing the beef and feeder calves. Stewart has been judging for three or four years, traveling around the Midwest to different fairs.
He first started while in college. Like many judges, going to fairs is just a side job for Stewart. He otherwise works on his family farm.
Just as Adams started out in FFA, Stewart did too. He said he was in that organization as well as 4-H when he was younger.
When he is judging, he gives the youths pointers and advice on their animals that they can use in the future. Those pointers could prove to be invaluable to the kids, because, Stewart said, the things he learned while competing have helped him.
Not only did he become more informed about agriculture, but he also learned about friendly and not-so-friendly competition while in 4-H and FFA.
Of his experiences at fair, Stewart said what he learned has stayed with him.
"I wouldn't be where I'm at without it. I know that,'' Stewart said.