Ag News

GFB sponsors Ga. market goat and lamb grand champions

by Jennifer Whittaker

Posted on Dec 14, 2023 at 18:58 PM

Georgia Farm Bureau supported Georgia’s 4-H and FFA livestock programs by sponsoring the species grand champion prizes for the Georgia Jr. Market Wether, Market Doe and Market Lamb Shows held Oct. 6-8 at the Georgia National Fair. These three shows are part of the Georgia Junior National Livestock Program for Georgia 4-Hers and FFA members. The Ga. Jr. shows for other species are held each February. GFB also sponsored prize premiums for all of the livestock shows at the fair.

Market Wether – Levi Roberts, Worth County

Worth County 4-Her Levi Roberts won the 2023 Georgia Jr. Market Wether Grand Champion prize of $1,500 Oct. 6 at the Georgia National Fair. Levi is the son of Justin and Jennifer Roberts of Sylvester. He is a second grader at Worth County Primary School, and this was his third year showing goats.

Levi won with a Boer goat that he named Tarzan after watching the movie at school. He  practiced with his goat in the morning and evening to prepare for the state show, his mom, Jennifer said. Levi’s uncle,  Mike Roberts, has been coaching Levi during his morning training sessions that begin at 6:30 a.m.

Levi’s family has a history of showing livestock. His dad, Justin, showed pigs and cows. His first cousin, Chase, won multiple Ga. Jr. grand championships showing market does, wethers and breeding does during his showing career. Levi captured the 2022 Reserve Champion Market Wether award.  

North Carolina State 4-H Livestock Specialist  Brent Jennings judged the Georgia Jr. Market Wether Show.

Market Doe –Aubrey Welch, Lincoln County

Lincoln County High School FFA member Aubrey Welch exhibited the goat selected as the 2023 Georgia Jr. Market Doe Grand Champion on Oct. 7 and won $1,500. Aubrey, the daughter of John and Nikki Welch, of Lincolnton, has been showing goats for 10 years. She is a junior.

Aubrey won with a Boer goat she named Peaches that she describes as being spunky.

“She’s real chill most of the time except today in the ring,” Aubrey said.

North Carolina State 4-H Livestock Specialist Brent Jennings, who judged the Georgia Jr. Market Doe Show, looked past Peaches show ring antics and saw the doe’s structure and muscling to pick her as his champion.

Aubrey, who got Peaches in April, says she practices twice a day.

“I practice right when I get home from school and then later in the evening with the family,” Aubrey said.

Last year Aubrey captured the 2022 Reserve Champion Market Doe award.  

Aubrey had a great weekend showing her goats at the 2023 Georgia National Fair. She showed the Reserve Grand Champion Georgia Jr. Market Wether and had the 3rd place wether in that show.

“It’s been great. I had a good weekend,” Aubrey said.

When asked what she likes most about showing, Aubrey answered, “The friends, and [show] people feel like family.” 

Showing goats has been a family affair for the Welches for years as both Aubrey and her older sister Madie graduated high school.

Market Lamb – Laurel Christopher, White County

White County High School FFA member Laurel Christopher exhibited the lamb selected as the 2023 Georgia Jr. Market Lamb Grand Champion on Oct. 8 and won $1,000. Laurel, the daughter of Scott and Cam Christopher, of Cleveland, has been showing lambs for seven years. She is a senior and also shows goats.

Laurel won with a black-face cross lamb she named Mr. John after the breeder she got him from.

“Honestly we thought the other lamb we had would win, but this one finally came on and decided it wanted to win,” Laurel said.

When asked what it takes to exhibit a grand champion, Laurel replied, “You can never work too hard. If you put in the hours [practicing] it will all weigh out in the arena.”

Laurel started showing after her ag teacher said she was starting a lamb program.

“She said we want you to be in it, and the rest is history,” Laurel said smiling.

Laurel said what she enjoys most about showing is “The people. The show community.”

Marvin Ensor, who recently retired from Texas A&M Extension Service, judged the lamb show.

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