January 28, 2010

Livestock Contest & Workshop Offers Opportunities to Learn USDA Grade Standards

Register now for the March 13 event

The Missouri Department of Agriculture is working to help Missouri producers improve their operations by teaching both youth and adults how to evaluate livestock based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's grade standards.  The Missouri Livestock Grading and Judging Contest and Workshop will be held Sat. March 13 at the University of Missouri's Trowbridge Livestock Center in Columbia.  The workshop, open to grades nine or lower, provides youth an educational opportunity to learn the process of grading livestock.  The contest, open to all ages, is an opportunity to apply national grading standards and to be judged on the process.

"It is important for producers to understand livestock grading to remain competitive in today's marketplace," said Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler.  "The contest and workshop offers an educational opportunity for all ages to better understand the federal grade standards and learn how to better describe and discuss livestock."

 A uniform system of grading slaughter cattle by USDA standardizes the production, marketing and distribution of livestock and meats.  The Missouri Livestock and Grading Workshop and Contest will help participants apply those standards on grading feeder and slaughter cattle.    

In addition, participants ages 21 and older will have the opportunity to qualify as a certified livestock judge.  The certified livestock judges list will be made available to livestock show officials and activity organizers and the Missouri Association of Fairs and Festivals.

Registration for the livestock contest or workshop is $6 per person including lunch.  The deadline to register is Feb. 19, 2010.  More information and registration forms are available by visiting mda.mo.gov or by calling (573) 751-5618.