OKLAHOMA CITY—Thirty youth from across Oklahoma competed in the 2020 American Farmers & Ranchers (AFR) Livestock Handling Scholarship Contest held at Oklahoma National Stockyards in Oklahoma City Dec. 11. Sponsored by American Farmers & Ranchers/Oklahoma Farmers Union (AFR/OFU), the annual competition showcases the skills of young 4-H and FFA members in practical, real-life cattle handling scenarios, such as weighing for accurate dosage, vaccinating and tagging calves in a hydraulic chute. Contestants are judged on skill, accuracy and efficiency as they process the animals.

“While stress-free processing has always been a goal of good cattlemen, proper and efficient handling has become even more important in the modern age of livestock production,” said AFR/OFU Cooperative President Scott Blubaugh. “With an increased need to diversify herds, producers can now expect cattle of all ages and backgrounds to be sent through the chute. It’s vital that young producers understand the needs of each animal.”

The annual contest begins with a written exam that measures students’ knowledge of livestock handling practices. At the state level, the competition emphasizes the application of classroom study to actual agricultural production scenarios. In order to excel, students must take knowledge out of the classroom and apply it in a real world situation.

“The industry needs young producers more than ever,” said Blubaugh. “We hope this contest encourages young producers on their path to becoming full-fledged cattlemen and cattle women. This is a noble profession to pursue. We want them to know we’ll be supporting them every step of the way.”

The overall winners of this year’s AFR Livestock Handling Scholarship Contest are:

1st Place – Adair FFA Chapter: Dax Delozier, Blake Long, Cooper Thompson

2nd Place – Pawnee FFA Chapter: Conner Skidgel, Stetson Leforce, Blake Skidgel

3rd Place – Timberlake FFA Chapter: Joel Pecha, Ethan Jenlink, Jacob Diller

4th Place – Perkins-Tryon FFA Chapter: Teggan Shepard, Kaden Brunker, Nick Rains

5th Place – Amber-Pocassett FFA Chapter: Blake Janssen, Kaden Ferrell, Isaac Bradford

6th Place – Cherokee FFA Chapter: Drake Williams, Brant Failes, Abby Guffy

7th Place – Stigler FFA Chapter: Daryll White, Bailey Hudspeth, Josh Decker

8th Place – Chandler FFA Chapter: Dillon Behrends, Jared Stone, Baylee Bowen

9th Place – Chickasha FFA Chapter: Emma Victery, Joseph Victery, Claire Carver

10th Place – Battiest FFA Chapter: Sydney Tyler, Kyeson Perrin, Kace McDonald

For more information on the AFR Livestock Handling Contest or other AFR/OFU-sponsored youth events, contact interim AFR/OFU Youth Coordinator Jim Pilkington at 918-830-0017 or jim.pilkington@afrmic.com.

AFR/OFU Cooperative is a membership services organization established in 1905 as Oklahoma Farmers Union. AFR/OFU provides educational, legislative and cooperative programs across the state and serves as a watchdog for Oklahoma’s family farmers and ranchers and rural communities. The organization is actively supportive of the state’s agricultural industry and rural population with membership consisting of farmers actively involved in production agriculture and non-farmers adding their voice in support of AFR/OFU principles.