Haldimand 4-H Association members put their skills to the test at annual judging competition

By: Kendra Saxton 

Each year, the Ontario Mutuals Insurance Association gives each 4-H Association the opportunity to apply for a $250 grant to support a local project or program. The Ontario Mutuals Grant Application Program is opened to 4-H Associations in the hopes that the financial support will assist in new project innovations or strengthen and develop an existing program.

One association particularly looking forward to this opportunity is the Haldimand 4-H Association. The association holds an annual judging competition for all of its members, and this year’s event was exceptionally successful. On Monday, June 10, 2019, the Haldimand 4-H Association welcomed its members to the competition, held at the Walpole Antique Farm Machinery Association in Jarvis, Ontario.

This year, over 150 members and 30 screened volunteers, along with additional volunteers and parents practiced their judging techniques and had a blast doing so. The evening began with a pizza dinner accompanied by fresh veggies and chocolate milk, allowing everyone to mingle before the competition started. After dinner, the members judged multiple different categories of objects including classes of lawnmowers, school lunches, sunscreen and bacon, and were asked to give thoughtful reasoning behind their decisions. To ensure that the members could make decisions amongst their peers, they were divided into four groups: novice, junior, intermediate and senior. Everyone had a fun-filled evening despite the weather being a little dreary.

At the conclusion of the judging competition, the members were given well-deserved ice cream treats as they awaited the official placing results. The results were then sent to all the screened volunteers in order to share their success with the rest of their members. The winners of each of the four groups have another event to look forward to in January 2020 in Fisherville, Ontario, as they will be presented with their awards at the Annual Banquet and yearend wrap up. The members of the Haldimand 4-H Association came together for a group photo with the OMIA logo, and received a nod of recognition as the photo was featured in their local newspaper, The Haldimand Press.

The Haldimand 4-H Association sees immense value in this event because it helps their members develop their public speaking and decision-making skills, and provides them with the ability and confidence to explain their reasoning. Hopefully the dedication and passion that the Haldimand 4-H Association shows towards their event will inspire other Associations to consider submitting a project of their own!

 

4-H Ontario Alumni Profile: Right Time, Right Place

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down and chatting with 4-H Ontario Alumnus Brian Carscadden. Brian is a Sire Analyst for Semex and he’s actively involved in about a million different judging opportunities. Ok, maybe a million is a bit of an exaggeration but you catch my drift.

Brian is one of those warm and amazing people who you feel instantly comfortable with. Over the course of our conversation the one thing that stuck with me the most was the story he told about his favourite 4-H memory, which was a trip to the Hays Contact Classic in 1983. Check out the article below to read about Brian’s favourite 4-H memory (it’s a good one, I promise) and learn his 4-H story.

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At the young age of 14, Brian Carscadden travelled with his Ayrshire calf to a competition for 4-H dairy Club Members called the Hays Contact Classic in Markham, Ontario. This spur of the moment trip was quite nerve wracking for this young 4-H’r. “I was the lone representative from Russell County,” Brian shares, “I was incredibly scared, nervous and shy.” Now, Brian looks back on this experience as a pivotal moment in his life. It was on this day that Brian met one of his mentors, Lowell Lindsay and to top it all off, this rookie took home first place in Junior Showmanship with Lowell as the judge. “I hardly remember yesterday but I remember that,” Brian says.

1983 Hays Contact Classic

Brian, second from the right, at the Hays Contact Classic in 1983. His mentor, Lowell Lindsay, is on the far left

This 4-H Alumnus now works for Semex, a world-renowned bovine genetics company, as a Sire Analyst. He developed an interest in judging, analysis and sire acquisitions after being exposed to the industry through 4-H, his work on his parent’s farm and industry role models, including Lowell. Brian was interviewed and hired for United Breeders Inc. and eventually Semex by Lowell immediately after he graduated from the University of Guelph’s Animal Science program.

Brian has had tremendous success as a Sire Analyst and dairy cattle judge. His expertise is in high demand and his judging assignments have taken him to over 20 international destinations. This 4-H Alumnus is extremely well respected globally for his outstanding judging skills and he attributes a great deal of his success to 4-H.

“To be successful in my field you have to have a good knowledge of the industry, good knowledge of what a good cow should look like, as well as strong communication and people skills,” Brian explains. “Early on in my 4-H career we had to do demonstrations. My brother and I were taken under the wing of an older 4-H’r and we were very successful with it [demonstrations]. That early experience of having to stand in front of people and speak really shaped who I am today and I truly believe that.” Brian’s involvement in 4-H dairy clubs also taught him skills in judging, showmanship and communication, which are all imperative in his field.

Brian recognizes the importance of strong mentors and leaders in youth development. Even with his busy schedule Brian still volunteers his time to help groom the next generation of agriculture leaders. For the last two years he’s helped prepare young Wellington dairy 4-H’rs for showmanship competitions at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. “I feel like I have something to offer and I want to be a positive influence,” Brian says. Brian also helps youth improve their showmanship skills during competitions; he’s well known within the 4-H dairy community for taking extra time and care with each competitor to provide constructive feedback.

Between international judging assignments, a flourishing career, and spending time with his family, he hopes to find time to lead a 4-H Club in the future.  For now, 4-H’rs can continue to benefit from his superb judging skills and helpful feedback. Good thing Brian worked up the courage to travel to the Hays Contact Classic.

Carscadden Family Photo

Brian with his wife Linda and their three children