At the Governor’s Mansion on December 6, the Oklahoma State University, NOC and Tuttle FFA livestock judging teams were all recognized for winning national championships this year. KC Sheperd, Farm Director, attended the event and got the chance to visit with Ag Secretary Blayne Arthur, and the Northern Oklahoma College livestock judging coach Jennifer Bedwell, about this outstanding group of youth and young adults.
“Today we were able to recognize our Tuttle FFA livestock judging team, the NOC livestock judging team, and Oklahoma State livestock judging team, because this year, they were all national champions,” Arthur said. “In our research, there has never been another time a state has had those win the senior college, junior college, and the FFA contest.”
Arthur said it is a very proud day for Oklahoma and everyone in agriculture. To have all three wins, she added, is an impressive feat.
“There is no doubt these are the student leaders that we want to be legislators or run state agencies or run for public office, and so all the skills they are learning are just going to help us be better in all that we do,” Arthur said. “Really, the exciting thing is, we have recruited these students from other states in the U.S., and we want them to stay here in Oklahoma.”
As coach of the NOC livestock judging team, Bedwell explained the hard work that these students put in, and said she is proud to be part of it all.
“Livestock judging has its challenges in the fact that our gym or our practice field is traveling to people’s property, so we travel all across the country to try to get as many classes and as many preparatory classes,” Bedwell said. “What those are is four animals. You place them from best to worst, and then at certain times ,there are 12 classes that you do that, and then of those 12 classes, you basically construct a set of oral reasons about a minute and a half long explaining why you placed it the way you did.”
It is one of the most self-humbling acts that you can do, Bedwell said, because you have to prepare yourself for a moment where you are wrong.
“We have been very fortunate that my students have not had many moments this fall where they have been wrong because they have been able to have so much success,” Bedwell said.
Regarding Secretary Arthur’s comments on the futures of these students and how they might have a future in representing Oklahoma or their native states one day, Bedwell said it is humbling to know she had the chance to be a part of their lives.