WILMINGTON — More than 1,000 high school students from around Ohio and neighboring states are expected to hone their skills at agronomy and judging swine, sheep, equine and beef and dairy cattle March 2 at the Wilmington College Aggies’ 58th annual Livestock Judging Contest.
This year’s event will be held at the Champion Expo Center, 4122 Laybourne Road, Springfield, with judging from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Billed as the largest competition of its kind east of the Mississippi, WC’s Livestock Judging Contest is one of the most popular such attractions in the country and typically among the first competitions of the year.
The contest represents real life application and a hands-on learning experience for both the high school students and WC’s agriculture students that stage the event.
Harold Thirey, assistant professor of agriculture, said attracting more than 1,000 high school students to a Wilmington College activity is a result of building credibility over the years and becoming recognized for staging a high quality event.
“The Livestock Judging Contest is well known by high school teachers, advisers and students involved in 4-H, vocational agriculture and Future Farmers of America,” he said.
Thirey added that the competition represents one of the distinct components of Wilmington’s agriculture program, which was established in 1948 and has become WC’s largest academic offering.
“Where else can you find 1,000 students having a good time all in one place,” he said. “It’s a great thing seeing them doing something that is constructive, educational and fun.”
Also, most of WC’s more than 250 agriculture majors were involved in some facet of the event.
The WC Aggies, with help from the Collegiate 4-H Club, host the annual competition as a community service in which they share their animal judging expertise in an event in which high school students seek to perfect their skills for upcoming livestock judging contests sponsored at their county and state fairs, and by Future Farmers of America organizations.
Wilmington College is one of only two institutions in Ohio to offer a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree. It features concentrations in agricultural business, agronomy, animal science, equine business management, agriculture communications and agricultural education.
Also, College offers minors in equine studies and sustainability, the latter of which features a foundation of agriculture courses complemented with others from across the curriculum.