Missouri 4-H and FFA Dairy Judging Teams continued their tradition of excellence by placing first in two international dairy judging contests as a part of the International Dairy Youth Tour.
Missouri 4-H team members Grant Groves, son of Todd and Sheila Groves of Billings; Daryin Sharp, son of Erron and Delores Sharp of Bolivar; Ellie Wantland, daughter of Jeff and Leeann Wantland of Niangua; and Lora Wright, daughter of Larry and Jodi Wright of Verona, were invited to compete in the recent International Dairy Judging Tour of Scotland, England, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany.
Missouri 4-H’s team was invited in recognition of their third-place team finish in the National 4-H Dairy Judging Contest at World Dairy Expo.
Also invited to compete in the International Tour was the Monett, Missouri, FFA Dairy Judging Team. Team members Sam Masri, son of Fares and Lauren Masri of Monett; Lilly Schmidt, daughter of Loretta Schmidt of Monett; Blake Wright, son of Larry and Jodi Wright; and Lora Wright, daughter of Larry and Jodi Wright, earned their invitation by placing third in the National FFA Dairy Cattle Evaluation Contest at National FFA Convention.
In Scotland, the teams competed with other winning 4-H, FFA, and intercollegiate teams at the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh. The pair of Grant Groves and Daryin Sharp placed first in the competition. Groves was the top individual, and Blake Wright was the second high individual.
The second competition of the tour was held at the National Holstein Show in Luxembourg. This contest was an individual event as tour members worked to see how closely they could match the official judge of the show. Contestants also selected the best udder in the class, and wrote a set of reasons to justify their placing. First place in this contest was Blake Wright, followed by Lilly Schmidt in second.
Two team members, Ellie Wantland and Lora Wright, had the opportunity to participate in showmanship at the National Holstein Show in Luxembourg.
In addition to the competitions, they toured farms as well as historical and cultural sites, providing a variety of experiences for the team. Most team members had the opportunity to stay with a Luxembourg family for three days. All tour attendees visited the World War II Memorial just outside Luxembourg City where General Patton is buried.
“Our teams embraced this opportunity to travel and have these new experiences,” said Karla Deaver, a 4-H youth development specialist with University of Missouri Extension. “We are very proud of how they competed in the two judging competitions. Not only did they see agriculture and the dairy industry in another part of the world, but they developed lifelong friendships with members of the tour from other states.”
Supporters of the teams attended an appreciation dinner. Team members gave a presentation about their tour experience.
The team receives ongoing support from FCS Financial, the Missouri Holstein Association and the Missouri Dairy Association in partnership with the Missouri 4-H Foundation.
For more information about the Missouri 4-H Dairy Judging Team program, contact Deaver at 417-466-3102; or Ted Probert, University of Missouri Extension dairy specialist, at 417-741-6134.