Ag News

Georgia Junior Herd program prepares youth to raise cattle

by Jennifer Whittaker, Georgia Farm Bureau

Posted on Jul 07, 2021 at 0:00 AM

Nine students across the state have a better understanding of how to raise cattle thanks to the inaugural Georgia Junior Herd Builder Program coordinated by the Animal & Dairy Science Department in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.  Congratulations to Maelee Dean of Crisp County for winning the $1,000 grand champion contest prize awarded by Georgia Farm Bureau.

The program, open to students in grades 8 through 12, required contestants to attend a series of on-line beef production classes and complete a 10-question quiz for each class; secure and care for three heifers following the UGA Beef Management Calendar; and, at the end of the program, participate in two rounds of presentations/interviews with judges about their beef project. Contestants were also required to join the Georgia Junior Cattlemen’s Association and earn their Beef Quality Assurance Certification.

In the first interview, students presented their record book and heifers, then answered questions about their heifers. Then each participant gave a 10-15 minute presentation about his or her beef project and answered questions from a second set of judges. Dr. Pedro Fontes, Randy Daniel, Weyman Hunt, Carole Knight, Marissa Blackwell, Dr. Lawton Stewart and Kent Benson served as judges for the two rounds of presentations.

Contestants in the 2021 Georgia Junior Herd Builder Contest included: Jacob Miles and Preston Bennett of Forsyth County; Gabe Giovannetti, Monroe County; Wyatt Walters, Lamar County; Maelee Dean and Maddie Dean of Crisp County; Kylie Hurd and Katie Reynolds of Gordon County; and Lacey Montgomery of Lowndes County.

Maddie Dean won the $500 reserve champion prize and Kylie Hurd won the $250 3rd Overall prize, both courtesy of AgGeorgia Farm Credit. Katie Reynolds won 4th place. Gabe Giovannetti won 5th place.

Program sponsors included: Georgia Farm Bureau, AgGeorgia Farm Credit, Godfrey’s Feed, Allfex, and Graham Livestock Systems.

The Junior Herd Builder Program challenges students to make informed, financially viable decisions while encouraging involvement in production agriculture. Participating students benefit from learning the responsibility and hard work it takes to develop heifers, and acquire beneficial equity. For information about participating in next year’s program, contact your local Extension office ( or 1-800-ASK-UGA-1).

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