Missouri 4-H and FFA dairy judging teams placed first in two international dairy judging contests as a part of the International Dairy Youth Tour, according to a University of Missouri Extension news release.
Missouri 4-H team members Grant Groves, son of Todd and Sheila Groves of Billings; Daryin Sharp, son of Erron and Delores Sharp of Bolivar; Ellie Wantland, daughter of Jeff and Leeann Wantland of Niangua; and Lora Wright, daughter of Larry and Jodi Wright of Verona, were invited to compete in the 2018 International Dairy Judging Tour of Scotland, England, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany from June 20 to July 2.
Missouri 4-H's team was invited in recognition of their third-place team finish from the National 4-H Dairy Judging Contest at World Dairy Expo in October.
Also invited to compete in the international tour was the Monett FFA dairy judging team. In Scotland, the teams competed with other winning 4-H, FFA, and intercollegiate teams on June 23 at the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh.
The pair of Grant Groves and Daryin Sharp placed first in the competition. Groves was the top individual, and Monett’s Blake Wright was the second-high individual, the release said.
The second competition of the tour was held at the National Holstein Show in Luxembourg. This contest was an individual event as tour members worked to see how closely they could match the official judge of the show. Contestants also selected the best udder in the class, and wrote a set of reasons to justify their placing. First place in this contest was Blake Wright, followed by Lilly Schmidt in second.
Two team members, Ellie Wantland and Lora Wright, had the opportunity to participate in showmanship at the National Holstein Show in Luxembourg.
In addition to the competitions, the group toured farms and historical and cultural sites. Most team members had the opportunity to stay with a Luxembourg family for three days. Also, all tour attendees visited the World War II Memorial just outside Luxembourg City where General Patton is buried, the release said.
"Our teams embraced this opportunity to travel and have these new experiences," Karla Deaver, a 4-H youth development specialist with University of Missouri Extension, said in the release. "We are very proud of how they competed in the two judging competitions. Not only did they see agriculture and the dairy industry in another part of the world, but they developed lifelong friendships with members of the tour from other states."
Supporters of the teams attended an appreciation dinner. Team members gave a presentation about their tour experience.
The teams receive ongoing support from FCS Financial, the Missouri Holstein Association and the Missouri Dairy Association in partnership with the Missouri 4-H Foundation.
For more information about the Missouri 4-H Dairy Judging Team program, contact Deaver at 466-3102 or Ted Probert, University of Missouri Extension dairy specialist, at 741-6134.