Livestock Judge Career Profile

Do you want to work as a Livestock Judge?

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13 December 2023

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What is a Livestock Judge?

A livestock judge is an individual with expertise in evaluating and judging animals, particularly those raised for agricultural purposes. Livestock judges are commonly involved in agricultural competitions such as county fairs, state fairs, and agricultural shows. Their role is to assess the quality and conformation of various livestock species, including cattle, sheep, goats, swine, and others.

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Alternative Names

While “livestock judge” is the most common term, there are other titles and designations used for individuals who assess and evaluate animals in the context of agricultural shows and competitions. Here are some alternative names:

  • Animal Judge: A general term that can be used when referring to individuals who judge various types of animals in agricultural competitions.
  • Livestock Evaluator: This title emphasises the role of assessing and determining the value or quality of livestock.
  • Show Judge: refers to someone who judges animals in the context of agricultural shows.
  • Cattle Judge: Specific to individuals who specialise in judging cattle.
  • Swine Judge: Used for those who specialise in judging pigs and other swine breeds.
  • Sheep Judge: refers to individuals who specialise in judging sheep.
  • Goat Judge: Specifically for those who judge goats.
  • Animal Conformation Judge: Highlighting the role of assessing the physical structure and conformation of animals.
  • Breed Judge: emphasising expertise in judging specific breeds of livestock.
  • Agricultural Show Judge: describing judges who assess animals in the context of agricultural exhibitions or shows.

These terms may be used interchangeably, and the specific title used often depends on the context of the competition or the type of livestock being judged.

Career Categories

The livestock judge career can be found within the following OZT career categories:

  • Farming and Livestock Management
  • Business

What does a livestock judge do?

Groups of animals a livestock judge works with

Farm Animals Icon OZT
Farm Animals

What is the level of Interaction with the Animals?

With whom does a livestock judge work?

A livestock judge works in collaboration with various individuals and entities within the agricultural and livestock industries. Here are some key stakeholders with whom a livestock judge may interact:


Livestock judges evaluate the animals exhibited by farmers or breeders. They may provide feedback and constructive criticism to help exhibitors understand how their animals compare to breed standards and how they can improve their breeding practises.

Show Organizers:

Livestock judges coordinate with the organisers of agricultural shows, fairs, and competitions. This includes communicating about scheduling, logistics, and any specific requirements for the judging process.

Agricultural Extension Services:

Judges may collaborate with agricultural extension services that provide education and outreach to farmers. This can involve sharing expertise, conducting workshops, and contributing to educational programmes on livestock breeding and conformation.

Livestock Associations:

Judges may be affiliated with or work closely with livestock associations that represent specific breeds. These associations often set breed standards and may organise competitions where judges assess animals based on these standards.


Livestock judges may work with veterinarians to ensure the health and well-being of the animals being judged. Judges may observe signs of good health and proper care as part of their assessment.

Agricultural Researchers:

In some cases, livestock judges may collaborate with agricultural researchers who study genetics, breeding, and other aspects of livestock production. The insights of judges can contribute to research on improving animal traits and overall herd quality.

Audience/General Public:

Judges often interact with the audience or general public attending agricultural shows. They may explain their decisions, share insights into the judging process, and educate the public about different breeds and their characteristics.


Judges may be interviewed by media outlets covering agricultural events. This helps in promoting the importance of livestock breeding and showcasing exemplary animals.

Government Agencies:

In some cases, livestock judges may work with government agricultural agencies that oversee and regulate livestock production. This collaboration may involve ensuring that industry standards are met and maintained.

Overall, the work of a livestock judge is integral to the broader agricultural community, involving collaboration with various stakeholders to promote and uphold high standards in livestock breeding and production.

What does a livestock judge focus on?

A livestock judge focuses on assessing and evaluating various characteristics of animals, primarily those raised for agricultural purposes, to determine their quality and conformity to breed standards. The specific focus can vary depending on the type of livestock being judged.

What are the daily tasks of a livestock judge?

The daily tasks of a livestock judge can vary based on their specific role and responsibilities, as well as the events or competitions they are involved in. Here are some general tasks that a livestock judge might engage in on a regular basis:

Reviewing Breed Standards:

Stay updated on the breed standards for various livestock species. This involves understanding the ideal characteristics, traits, and conformations specific to each breed.

Researching Industry Trends:

Keep abreast of developments in the livestock industry, including new breeding techniques, emerging genetic traits, and advancements in animal husbandry practises.

Continuing Education:

Attend workshops, conferences, and seminars related to livestock judging to enhance knowledge, stay current with industry practises, and network with other professionals.

Evaluating Animals:

Actively participate in livestock shows and competitions to assess and judge animals. This may involve travelling to different locations to officiate at various events.

Providing Feedback:

Offer constructive feedback to exhibitors and breeders, explaining the reasons behind the judging decisions and providing insights for improvement.


Engage with agricultural organisations, livestock associations, and event organisers to coordinate judging assignments, discuss specific requirements, and ensure a smooth judging process.


Review information about the animals to be judged, such as pedigrees, performance records, and any relevant data that may influence the judging process.

Maintaining Objectivity:

Practise impartiality and objectivity in evaluations, ensuring that judgements are based solely on the merits of the animals and not influenced by external factors.


Keep detailed records of judged events, including scores, comments, and any relevant information. This documentation can be valuable for exhibitors, breeders, and event organisers.

Engaging with the Community:

Foster relationships within the agricultural community, including among farmers, breeders, and other industry professionals. This may involve attending local agricultural fairs, educational events, and networking opportunities.

Contributing to Educational Programs:

Collaborate with educational institutions, extension services, and agricultural organisations to contribute expertise to educational programmes related to livestock breeding and judging.

Promoting the Industry:

Act as an ambassador for the livestock industry, promoting the importance of breeding practises that contribute to the overall improvement of livestock quality.

The daily tasks of a livestock judge can vary depending on the individual’s specific role, level of involvement, and the nature of the events they participate in. Adaptability, continuous learning, and effective communication are key skills for success in this profession.

In which Environment does a livestock judge work in?

What are the environment and places of employment like?

The working environment for a livestock judge can vary depending on the type of events they participate in, the specific livestock they judge, and the scope of their responsibilities. Here’s a general overview:

1. Indoor Environments:

  • Agricultural Shows and Exhibitions: Livestock judges often work indoors in show rings or arenas at agricultural shows and exhibitions. These events can take place in dedicated livestock pavilions or exhibition halls.
  • Livestock Auctions: Some judges may be involved in assessing animals at livestock auctions, which may be conducted indoors in auction facilities.

2. Outdoor Environments:

  • County and State Fairs: Agricultural fairs, which are common venues for livestock judging, often take place outdoors. Livestock judges may work in open-air arenas or under tents.
  • Livestock Farms: Judges may visit farms to assess animals in their home environment. This involves outdoor settings, barns, and pastures.
  • Field Days and Demonstrations: Outdoor events, such as field days organised by agricultural institutions, may provide opportunities for judges to assess livestock.

3. Employment Locations:

  • Local and Regional Events: Livestock judges are often employed for local and regional events, such as county fairs and agricultural shows. These events showcase the livestock from the surrounding areas.
  • National and International Competitions: Some judges may be involved in larger-scale events, including national and international competitions, where they assess top-quality animals from a broader geographic area.
  • Livestock Associations: Judges may be associated with specific livestock breed associations, where they contribute to breed improvement programmes, judge competitions, and participate in educational initiatives.
  • Educational Institutions: Some judges may be employed or engaged by agricultural colleges and universities to teach livestock judging, conduct research, and contribute to educational programs.

4. Travel:

  • Local, national, and international travel: Livestock judges may travel extensively, depending on the scope of their responsibilities. They might judge events at various locations, attend conferences, and visit farms across different regions or countries.

5. Work Schedule:

  • Seasonal Variation: The workload for livestock judges may vary seasonally, as agricultural shows and events often coincide with specific times of the year, such as fair seasons or breeding seasons.
  • Weekends and Holidays: Livestock events frequently occur on weekends and holidays, so judges should be prepared for a schedule that deviates from the typical Monday-to-Friday workweek.

In summary, livestock judges can find themselves working in a variety of indoor and outdoor settings, depending on the nature of the events they are involved in. Their employment may be with local organizations, national breed associations, or educational institutions, and travel is

What is the Average Annual Salary for a livestock judge?

Salaries for livestock judges can vary widely depending on factors such as experience, location, the scope of responsibilities, and the specific industry in which they work. It’s important to note that salary information is subject to change over time, and the figures provided here are meant to offer a general overview based on information available up to my last knowledge update in January 2022.

Average Yearly Salary Estimates:

United States (USA): Range from $40,000 to $80,000

Canada: Ranging from CAD 50,000 to CAD 100,000 

United Kingdom (UK): Range from £25,000 to £60,000 

India: On average, it may range from INR 3,00,000 to INR 10,00,000 per year

Australia: Average salary between AUD 50,000 and AUD 100,000

New Zealand: Range from NZD 50,000 to NZD 100,000

Nigeria: Ranging from NGN 2,000,000 to NGN 5,000,000

Kenya: Estimated range of KES 1,000,000 to KES 3,000,000

South Africa: Ranging from ZAR 300,000 to ZAR 700,000

Regional Estimates:

South America: Salaries for livestock judges in South America can vary by country and region. In general, averages may range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars annually.

Europe: Livestock judge salaries in Europe can also vary widely by country. Averages may range from €25,000 to €60,000 or more.

Southeast Asia: Salaries in Southeast Asia can vary significantly by country. A rough estimate might range from a few thousand to several tens of thousands of dollars annually.

Keep in mind that these figures are general estimates, and the actual salaries can be influenced by various factors. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, it’s advisable to consult local salary surveys, industry reports, and employment resources specific to each country or region.

Can a livestock judge be promoted?

The promotion levels for a livestock judge can vary based on factors such as education, responsibilities, and certifications. While there may not be formal promotion structures, judges can advance in their careers and gain recognition through the following avenues:

1. Education:

Basic Education:

Starting with a foundational education in animal science, agriculture, or a related field provides the necessary knowledge and understanding of livestock.

Advanced Degrees:

Pursuing advanced degrees, such as a master’s or a Ph.D. in animal science, can enhance a judge’s qualifications and open up opportunities for research, academia, or advanced roles within the industry.

Continuing Education:

Actively participating in workshops, conferences, and continuing education programmes keeps judges informed about the latest developments in livestock breeding, genetics, and industry trends.

2. Responsibilities:

Local Competitions:

Judges often start by participating in local or regional competitions, gaining experience and exposure within their community.

National and International Events:

Progressing to judging at national or international events signifies an advancement in a judge’s career, often bringing increased visibility and recognition.


Specialising in specific livestock species or breeds can elevate a judge’s profile and lead to invitations to judge specialty events.

Mentorship and Training:

Assuming a role in mentoring new judges or conducting training programmes demonstrates leadership within the judging community.

Leadership Roles:

Serving in leadership roles within livestock organisations, event committees, or industry associations showcases a judge’s commitment and influence.

Educational Roles:

Transitioning into educational roles, such as teaching or conducting workshops on livestock judging, reflects a judge’s expertise and commitment to knowledge-sharing.

3. Certification:

Basic Certification:

Attaining basic certifications offered by relevant livestock associations or organisations is often the starting point for judges. This demonstrates a commitment to professional standards.

Advanced Certifications:

Pursuing advanced certifications or endorsements in specific breeds or aspects of judging showcases a judge’s specialisation and advanced skills.

Industry Recognition:

Recognition from industry organisations and peers, possibly through awards or acknowledgments, can enhance a judge’s standing within the community.

Involvement in Certification Programmes:

Active involvement in the development or improvement of certification programmes can be a sign of leadership and dedication to maintaining high standards.

Contributions to Judging Standards:

Contributing to the development or enhancement of judging standards within the industry demonstrates a judge’s commitment to the continuous improvement of the field.

Advisory Roles:

Being sought after for advisory roles by organisations or events can indicate a judge’s reputation for excellence and reliability.

It’s important to note that these pathways are interconnected, and judges often progress through a combination of educational achievements, expanding responsibilities, and obtaining relevant certifications. Networking, mentorship, and active involvement in the livestock community are crucial for career advancement in the field of livestock judging.

What difficulties does a livestock judge face?

Livestock judges may encounter various challenges in their profession, encompassing physical, safety, emotional, business, regulatory, educational, and scheduling aspects. Here are some challenges they might face:

Physical Demands:

Long Hours on Feet: Livestock judging events can be physically demanding, requiring judges to spend extended periods on their feet, move around show rings, and evaluate multiple animals.

Safety Concerns:

Animal Handling Risks: There are inherent risks associated with handling animals, particularly in situations where judges are in close proximity to livestock. Accidents or unpredictable behaviour from animals may pose safety challenges.

Variability in Working Conditions:

Outdoor Environments: Judges may need to work in various weather conditions, including extreme temperatures, rain, or other challenging climates, depending on the location and timing of events.

Emotional Challenges:

Balancing Objectivity and Subjectivity: Judges must maintain objectivity in their evaluations, but subjective opinions may still play a role. Balancing personal preferences with adherence to breed standards can be challenging.

Business Management:

Freelance Nature: Many livestock judges work on a freelance or contract basis. Managing a freelance business can be challenging, involving self-promotion, networking, and dealing with variable income.

Regulatory Compliance:

Understanding and Adhering to Regulations: Judges need to stay informed about and comply with regulations governing livestock shows and competitions. This may involve understanding different rules and guidelines for various events.

Continuing Education:

Staying Current: The livestock industry evolves, and judges need to invest time in continuing education to stay updated on new breeding practises, genetic advancements, and changes in industry standards.

Unpredictable Work Hours:

Weekend and Holiday Work: Livestock events often take place on weekends and holidays, which means judges may need to work during non-traditional hours.

Public Relations:

Managing Expectations: Judges may need to navigate relationships with exhibitors, breeders, and the general public. Providing constructive feedback while managing expectations can be challenging.


Frequent Travel: Judges may need to travel extensively to attend events, leading to time away from home and potential challenges in maintaining work-life balance.

Evaluation Consistency:

Consistent Standards: Ensuring consistent application of standards in various settings and for different breeds can be challenging. Judges may need to adapt to diverse conditions and animal populations.


Building and Maintaining Relationships: Success in the profession may depend on networking and building positive relationships with industry stakeholders.

Technological Challenges:

Adopting Technology: Embracing and integrating technology, such as digital scoring systems, into traditional judging practises can pose a learning curve for some judges.

Legal Issues:

Liability Concerns: Judges may face liability concerns if accidents occur during events, emphasising the importance of understanding legal aspects related to their work.

Public Scrutiny:

Public Criticism: Judges may face public scrutiny and criticism, especially in high-profile events. Dealing with differing opinions and maintaining a professional demeanour is crucial.

Overcoming these challenges requires a combination of experience, resilience, ongoing learning, and effective communication skills. Livestock judges who navigate these obstacles successfully contribute significantly to the improvement and promotion of livestock breeding standards.

​Future growth and Possibilities

The industry is growing positively, with some general trends and possibilities that have historically influenced the livestock industry and may continue to shape the future:

Technological Integration:

The livestock industry is gradually adopting technology for various purposes, including data management, genetic analysis, and digital scoring systems. Livestock judges may see increased use of technology in their work, leading to more efficient and accurate assessments.

Genomic Advancements:

Advances in genomics and genetic technologies are influencing breeding programmes. Livestock judges may need to stay updated on these advancements in order to incorporate genetic information into their evaluations.

Sustainability Focus:

There is a growing emphasis on sustainable and environmentally friendly agricultural practises. Livestock judges may increasingly consider traits related to sustainability, such as feed efficiency and environmental impact, in their assessments.

Globalisation of Competitions:

Livestock shows and competitions are becoming more global, providing judges with opportunities to assess animals from a broader range of regions and breeds. This globalization could contribute to the exchange of knowledge and breeding practices.

Education and Outreach:

There is a continued effort to educate farmers, breeders, and the general public about the importance of livestock breeding and conformation. Livestock judges may play a role in educational programs, contributing to the broader understanding of livestock quality.

Industry Collaboration:

Collaboration between livestock judges, breed associations, and agricultural organizations may increase. Working together, these entities can set and maintain high standards for breeding and promote the overall improvement of livestock quality.

Market Demand for Quality Livestock:

As consumer preferences evolve, there may be a growing market demand for high-quality, ethically raised livestock. Livestock judges play a crucial role in identifying and promoting animals that meet these demands.

Regulatory Changes:

Changes in regulations related to animal welfare, breeding practices, and agricultural practices may influence the work of livestock judges. Staying informed about and adapting to regulatory changes is essential.

For the latest and most accurate information regarding the livestock judge market’s projected growth and industry trends, it’s advisable to consult agricultural market research reports, industry publications, and relevant agricultural associations. These sources can provide insights into the current state of the industry and potential future developments.

Availability of Jobs


Which skills do livestock judges need?

The skills required for a career as a livestock judge can be divided into two very important groups. The first is the group containing life skills, which are the core skills that are necessary or desirable for full participation in everyday life. The second group is career skills, or the specific skills required to allow a person to enter and operate effectively within a specific career. Some or maybe even all of the life skills can assist in strengthening the career skills, and they might even be the same for specific careers.

Life Skills

  • Self-awareness
  • Empathy
  • Critical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Decision making
  • Problem Solving
  • Effective communication
  • Interpersonal relationship
Life Skills

Career Skills

  • Animal handling
  • Animal care
  • Customer service
  • Handle instruments
  • Good overall health
  • Computer literate
Career Skills

Which Subjects must I have at School to help me prepare for this career?

The subjects you choose at school are important as they lay the foundation for further studies at college or university. While still at school, it’s also important to learn more about the animals you will work with, as well as gain some experience.

OZT has a list of various tertiary institutions where you can study further, after school. Each of these institutions also have their own Group page on OZT where you will find the exact subjects they require of you to have passed in school. Keep these requirements in mind, and discuss it with your school, guidance counselor and parents to ensure that you are prepared!

What will I need to Study to become a livestock judge?

Becoming a livestock judge typically requires a combination of education, practical experience, and a deep understanding of animal husbandry. Here are guidelines for what you may need to study to pursue a career as a livestock judge:

Minimum Requirements

Educational Background:

While there may not be strict educational requirements, having at least a high school diploma or its equivalent is often the minimum. However, many successful livestock judges have advanced degrees or significant practical experience.


Practical experience in working with livestock is crucial. This can be gained through internships, work on a farm, or involvement in agricultural programs.

Study Focus

Major –

  • Animal Science: Courses in animal science provide fundamental knowledge about animal biology, nutrition, breeding, and management.
  • Livestock Production: Study the principles of livestock production, which covers topics such as breeding, nutrition, health, and overall management of livestock.
  • Agricultural Education: Courses in agricultural education can enhance your teaching and communication skills, which are valuable for explaining judging decisions and interacting with exhibitors.
  • Genetics: Understanding the basics of genetics is important for evaluating breeding potential and identifying desirable traits in livestock.
  • Anatomy and Physiology: Knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of different livestock species is essential for assessing their conformation.
  • Animal Behaviour: Understanding animal behaviour is crucial for safe handling and effective evaluation in a show or competition setting.

Advanced Studies –

  • Livestock Breeding: Advanced study in livestock breeding covers advanced genetic principles, selective breeding, and genetic improvement programmes.
  • Animal Nutrition: Advanced courses in animal nutrition can provide a deeper understanding of dietary requirements and their impact on the development of livestock.
  • Reproductive Physiology: Delving into reproductive physiology can enhance your understanding of reproductive traits and their importance in breeding programmes.
  • Advanced Animal Science Topics: Explore advanced topics in animal science, such as biotechnology applications in livestock breeding.

Short Courses –

  • Livestock Judging Clinics: Participate in livestock judging clinics, which offer hands-on experience, guidance from experienced judges, and opportunities to practise judging.
  • Showmanship Training: Short courses focused on showmanship can improve your skills in presenting animals in a show ring and enhance your ability to work with exhibitors.
  • Genomic Selection Workshops: Stay updated on advancements in genomics by attending workshops that focus on applying genomic techniques in livestock breeding.
  • Animal Handling and Safety Courses: Short courses on animal handling and safety can provide valuable skills for working with livestock in various settings.
  • Communication and Public Speaking: Enhance your communication and public speaking skills through courses or workshops. This is important for effectively explaining your judging decisions.
  • Continuing Education: Stay engaged in continuing education opportunities, whether through workshops, webinars, or industry conferences, to remain current with industry trends and advancements.

Study Duration

The duration of a a College Diploma is between 2 and 3 years. Time spent on a Bachelor’s Degrees can be up to 4 years, and another 4 years for a Doctorate. Short Courses are usually between a few weeks and a year.

Possible Career Preparation Paths

If this is your dream career that you want to pursue, then it’s important to plan the way forward.

Why is planning important?

​To ensure that you understand the requirements for your career, and that you are always prepared for the next step on the road towards your dream. A preparation path is like a road map to where you want to be.

Possible Paths:

Becoming a livestock judge involves a combination of education, training, and practical experience. Here are possible career preparation paths:

Here is a suggested career preparation path for a high school student aspiring to pursue a career as a livestock judge:

1. Attend Career Guidance Sessions:

Attend career guidance sessions provided by the high school to explore different career options, including those related to agriculture and animal sciences.

2. Research All Possible Careers:

Conduct thorough research on careers related to livestock, agriculture, and animal husbandry, with a focus on understanding the role and responsibilities of a livestock judge.

3. Explore Educational Paths:

Explore educational paths that lead to careers in agriculture, animal science, or related fields. Research universities, colleges, and vocational training programmes that offer relevant courses.

4. Align High School Subjects with the Educational Path:

Choose high school subjects that align with the intended educational path. Focus on subjects such as biology, agricultural science, and any courses related to public speaking or communication.

5. Obtain a High School Diploma or Equivalent:

Successfully complete high school, obtaining a diploma or equivalent qualification.

6. Learn About Animals:

Develop a strong understanding of various livestock species. Learn about their anatomy, physiology, and the characteristics that judges typically assess.

7. Align Post-School Path:

Decide whether to enter the workforce directly, pursue further studies in agriculture or animal science, or explore entrepreneurship by starting a business related to livestock.

8. Gain Experience:

Gain practical experience through volunteering, internships, or mentorship programmes at local farms, agricultural shows, or with experienced livestock judges.

9. Pursue Extracurricular Activities:

Participate in extracurricular activities related to agriculture, such as joining a Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter or participating in 4-H programmes.

10. Join Professional Associations:

Join relevant professional associations related to livestock judging. Attend events, workshops, and conferences to network with professionals in the field.

11. Gain specialised Skills:

Develop specialised skills in livestock evaluation, including learning about breed standards, conformation, and judging techniques.

12. Network with Professionals:

Network with experienced livestock judges, breeders, and professionals in the industry. Seek mentorship to gain insights and guidance.

13. Enter the Job Market, Finish Tertiary Studies, or Launch a Business:

Depending on the chosen path, either enter the job market with skills gained, pursue tertiary studies to deepen knowledge, or launch a business related to livestock.

14. Stay Updated and Pursue Continuing Education:

Stay updated on industry trends, new breeding practises, and advancements by pursuing continuing education. Attend workshops, webinars, and relevant courses.

This career preparation path emphasises a holistic approach, combining education, practical experience, networking, and ongoing learning to prepare for a successful career as a livestock judge. It is essential for the individual to remain proactive, seek opportunities for growth, and stay passionate about the field of livestock judging.

Possible Combined Career Paths

It is possible to sometimes combine two or more related careers. This normally happens when you study and practice a specific main career, but the knowledge and experience gained also help you to have a paying hobby or secondary income career.

Possible Alternatives (there are a lot more):

Training and Apprenticeship

The path to becoming a livestock judge often involves a combination of education, practical experience, and on-the-job training. While there may not be formalised apprenticeship programmes for livestock judging, individuals aspiring to become judges typically gain experience through hands-on opportunities, mentorship, and exposure to various livestock events. Here are some steps and considerations for on-the-job training and apprenticeship requirements:

Gain Practical Experience:

  • Work on a Farm: Obtain hands-on experience working with livestock on a farm. This experience provides a foundational understanding of animal care, handling, and management.
  • Volunteer: Offer to volunteer at local agricultural shows, fairs, or events where livestock judging takes place. This allows you to observe experienced judges, learn the process, and gain exposure to different breeds.

Participate in Livestock Judging Competitions:

  • Join 4-H or FFA: These youth organisations often provide opportunities for members to participate in livestock judging competitions. This allows individuals to practice judging, receive feedback, and develop their skills.
  • Collegiate Judging Teams: Some colleges and universities have livestock judging teams as part of their agriculture programmes. Joining these teams can provide more in-depth training and exposure to competitive judging.

Attend Livestock Judging Clinics:

  • Seek out workshops and clinics conducted by experienced judges. These events often provide hands-on training, discussions on breed standards, and practical judging exercises.

Network and Seek Mentorship:

  • Connect with experienced livestock judges and industry professionals. Building relationships with mentors allows you to learn from their expertise, receive guidance, and gain insights into the nuances of judging.

Apply for Judging Opportunities:

  • Start with Local Events: Begin judging at local or regional events. This may include smaller fairs, county shows, or community events where you can gain experience and confidence.
  • Progress to Larger Competitions: As you gain proficiency, seek opportunities to judge at larger competitions, including state and national shows.

Continuing Education:

  • Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date with industry trends, advancements in breeding practises, and changes in livestock standards by attending workshops, seminars, and continuing education programmes.

Develop Communication Skills:

  • Practise Effective Communication: Livestock judges need to communicate their decisions clearly and constructively. Develop strong verbal and written communication skills to explain your assessments to exhibitors and the audience.

Seek Professional Certification (Optional):

  • Some livestock-judging organisations offer certification programmes. While certification may not be a strict requirement, it can demonstrate a commitment to professional development and adherence to industry standards.

Remember that becoming proficient in livestock judging is a gradual process, and individuals often refine their skills over time through a combination of education, practical experience, and mentorship. Seeking opportunities for exposure, networking, and continuous learning are key elements in the on-the-job training journey toward becoming a successful livestock judge.

Join the Livestock Judges Group in the OZT Community to learn more and even interact with the educational institutions that will help you secure your dream career!

Average level of education of all the people who enter the career:

High School Certificate 0%
Diploma or Short Courses 0%
Degree or Higher Studies 0%

Licenses, Certificate, Registration and Professional Associations

The qualifications and requirements may vary based on the specific context, region, or type of livestock being judged. However, there are some considerations and potential requirements to keep in mind:

Livestock Organizations and Associations:

Some livestock organizations or breed associations may have specific certification or registration programs for judges. For example, certain breed associations may offer certification for judges who specialize in evaluating that particular breed.

Continuing Education:

Judges often engage in continuing education to stay current with industry standards and practices. While not a formal certification, ongoing learning is crucial for maintaining competence.

Professional Development Programs:

Some agricultural education programs, including colleges and universities, may offer professional development courses or programs related to livestock judging. Participation in these programs can enhance your skills and knowledge.

National and International Competitions:

Participating as a judge in national or international livestock competitions may require specific qualifications. Organizers of such events may have their own criteria for selecting judges.

4-H or FFA Judging Certification:

If you are involved in youth programs such as 4-H or FFA, there may be specific training or certification programs related to livestock judging. These certifications may be required for certain youth-judging events.

State or Regional Requirements:

Depending on the region, there may be state or regional requirements for individuals serving as livestock judges. This could include compliance with agricultural regulations or participation in specific training programs.

Livestock Show Management Requirements:

Livestock show organizers may have their own criteria for selecting judges. This could include considerations such as experience, reputation, and participation in relevant training.

Specialised Livestock Species:

If you specialize in judging specific livestock species (e.g., swine, cattle, sheep), you may want to explore any specialized certifications or training offered by organizations related to that species.

Legal Requirements:

Depending on the jurisdiction, there may be legal requirements or regulations governing the qualifications of individuals serving as livestock judges. This could relate to animal welfare, biosecurity, or other relevant considerations.

Network and Mentorship:

Building a network within the livestock industry and seeking mentorship from experienced judges can be valuable. They can provide guidance on the specific requirements and expectations within the industry.

It’s important to note that the requirements for becoming a livestock judge can evolve, and there may be changes or new developments after my last update. Aspiring judges should reach out to relevant livestock organizations, breed associations, and event organizers for the most current information on certifications, requirements, and training programs in their specific area of interest.

Professional Associations

Joining professional associations is an excellent way for aspiring and experienced livestock judges to connect with peers, stay informed about industry trends, and access valuable resources. Here are some relevant associations for livestock judges:

American Society of Animal Science (ASAS):

Website: ASAS
Description: ASAS is a professional organisation that focuses on animal science and the livestock industry. It provides a platform for professionals to exchange information and promotes research and education in animal science.

National Livestock Judges Association (NLJA):

Website: NLJA
Description: NLJA is an organisation specifically dedicated to livestock judging. It offers resources, educational opportunities, and networking for individuals involved in livestock judging.

American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA):

Website: ARBA
Description: ARBA is an association focused on rabbit and cavy (guinea pig) breeds. It provides information on breed standards and hosts events where judges evaluate rabbits based on these standards.

American Dairy Science Association (ADSA):

Website: ADSA
Description: ADSA is an organisation that brings together professionals in the dairy industry, including researchers, educators, and practitioners. It covers various aspects of dairy science, including livestock evaluation.

National Collegiate Livestock Coaches Association (NCLCA):

Website: NCLCA
Description: The NCLCA focuses on collegiate livestock judging coaches. It provides a platform for coaches to network, share best practises, and support the development of livestock judging programmes at the collegiate level.

The Livestock Conservancy:

Website: Livestock Conservancy
Description: The Livestock Conservancy is dedicated to preserving rare and endangered livestock breeds. While it is not specifically for judges, it can be a valuable resource for those interested in diverse livestock breeds.

4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA):

Websites: 4-H and FFA
Description: Both 4-H and FFA are youth organisations that involve livestock projects and judging competitions. While not exclusive to judges, these organisations offer opportunities for networking and skill development in livestock evaluation.

National Swine Registry (NSR):

Website: NSR
Description: NSR is dedicated to the swine industry and hosts events where judges assess swine based on breed standards. It offers resources and opportunities for those involved in judging swine.

When considering joining an association, it’s essential to explore their specific offerings, events, and resources to determine which aligns best with your interests and goals in livestock judging. Additionally, regional or local associations may exist, so it’s beneficial to explore options relevant to your geographical location.

Where can I study further? (List of Registered Tertiary Institutions)

All of the above information will help you understand more about the career, including the fact that there are different paths to take to reach it. But if you are almost done with high school (grades 11 or 12), you also need to start thinking about further studies and where you will study.

See the list of universities, colleges, and online training academies that offer courses in livestock management and appraising.

How do I start to prepare for this Career?

If you do decide on following this career, then OZT can assist you in gaining knowledge about the career and the animals you will be working with. We do this by offering you thousands of FREE short courses.

A. You can access the specialised study guide that fits in with the above preparation path

B.  If you are still uncertain about choosing this career, then have a look at our special series of WHAT NEXT courses. They take you through all of the questions you might have on how to choose the right career, what to do while and after school, and even how to start your own business.

C.  Or, join OZT as a member to access easy-to-use lists of courses to make your career preparation as smooth as possible! And yes, membership is always free.

Join the OZT online community for special access to more tools!

Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming a livestock judge.

Members of the Platform have special access to:

  • Info on the best places where you can study (colleges, universities and online)
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  • Top-notch information on each of the different species you will work with
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If you have decided on being a livestock judge, please click on the JOIN GROUP button. Members will be directed to the group, while non-members will be assisted in registering first.

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