Oklahoma Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee provided scholarships and awards for the top competitors in the Oklahoma State University Animal Science Field Days July 18-20. More than 1500 young livestock judgers from across Oklahoma gathered in Stillwater for the event.
“OFB Young Farmers and Ranchers are proud to continue our support of Oklahoma youth through sponsoring this event,” said Ryan Wahl, Young Farmers and Ranchers state committee member. “FFA and 4-H members are the future of the agricultural industry, and we hope our support will help ensure their future involvement in farming and ranching.”
This year marked the 20th anniversary of the three-day event, which is known as the “Big Three” Field Days.
“The first animal science field day was about 60 years ago, and that was the Swine Field Day. Twenty years ago, they combined three field days to make the Big Three â€“ beef, sheep and swine,” said Rusty Gosz, OSU Youth Livestock Extension Specialist and coordinator for the event. “It has grown from having 700 competitors each day 10 years ago to 1200 youth competitors plus 500 adults who come with them. It’s definitely grown and this year would be a record attendance-wise.”
Gosz said the field days are primarily an educational event to expose youth to livestock evaluation. The Big Three features a different species each day and include seven classes of live animal evaluation each day.
“It’s critical that our livestock producers, not only in Oklahoma, but all over the United States, understand livestock improvement. All the factors that go into livestock selection affect our food supply, said Gosz. “It’s very important that we teach â€“ particularly our young producers â€“ the critical aspects of livestock evaluation so they can make those improvements in their own herds that ultimately benefit America.”
Gosz said the livestock judging contests are paired with public speaking contests, career exploration workshops and educational tours to expose the students to all aspects of the animal science discipline and opportunities available at Oklahoma State University.
A new addition to the field days, “The Best of the Best Reasons Challenge,” was conducted July 18. Gosz said the competition was open to high school juniors and seniors.
“It’s an oral reasons competition that really gave those students the opportunity to get in front of some industry leaders and showcase their skills in defending their placings,” said Gosz. “Oklahoma Farm Bureau provided over a thousand dollars in scholarships for those students who did well in the competition.”
The OFB Young Farmers and Ranchers also provided more than 100 plaques and trophies for the top contestants in the individual, team and sweepstakes livestock judging competitions.
For more information about the Animal Science Field Days, call Gosz at (405) 744-6078. For more information about Oklahoma Farm Bureau and its support of Oklahoma youth, call Farm Bureau Women and Young Farmers and Ranchers coordinator Marcia Irvin at (405) 523-2405 or visit https://www.okfarmbureau.org.