By Jennifer Whittaker
Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) celebrated the latest group of Georgia Junior National Livestock Show grand champion exhibitors during its Evening of Champions dinner, June 24. GFB was thrilled to resume holding the event at its state office in Macon after the COVID pandemic prevented large gatherings the last two years.
This is the 11th consecutive year GFB has sponsored the cash prizes and belt buckles awarded to the Ga. Jr. National Livestock grand champion species exhibitors.
The Ga. Jr. National is open to Georgia 4-H and FFA members from across the state. The show is the culmination of the two youth programs’ livestock projects, which give students a chance to learn how to care for beef cattle, dairy heifers, hogs, goats and lambs for months, train them to be shown, and then compete for state honors as having the best species animal in various categories.
About 1,960 Georgia 4-H and FFA students from across the state showed 2,834 animals as they competed in the 2022 Ga. Jr. National Livestock Show Feb. 23-26 at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter in Perry. About 320 4-H and FFA members showed 576 goats in the 2021 Georgia Jr. Market Goat Shows held at the Agricenter last October while the 2021Georgia Jr. Market Lamb show drew 192 exhibitors who showed 363 lambs.
“Tonight, we celebrate your hard work and dedication in the show ring,” GFB President Tom McCall said. “Showing livestock gives you confidence, teaches you patience, teaches you that everything in life isn’t about you, teaches you to be a humble winner and a gracious loser, and teaches you the reward of investing your time and money into doing something that brings you joy.”
GFB sponsored the custom belt buckles made for each grand champion exhibitor and a total of $13,000 in prize money awarded to the students.
The grand champion exhibitors are as follows: Beef Heifer - Morgan McDaniel, Jackson Co.; Breeding Doe - Morris Lee, Madison Co.; Breeding Ewe - Mac Heuer, Greene Co.; Commercial Dairy Heifer - Camden Huff, Oglethorpe Co.; Market Barrow - Matthew Ferrell, Brooks Co.; Market Doe – Mallory Lee, Madison Co.; Market Gilt - Raegan Denton, Houston Co.; Market Lamb – Tanner Norton, Grady Co.; and Market Wether – Cheyne Norton, Grady Co.