4-H Livestock Judging

Washington County 4-H has had both state and national level success in the livestock judging project area and they are ready to take on a new competitive edge by offering winter workouts November – May.  All 4-H’ers are invited to be a part of these practice learning sessions for one or all.      

This project allows livestock exhibitors to learn more about each of the large animal species or to become more of an expert in the species they show.   It is a great place for beginning showman to meet others who show.  It is a great project for 4-Hers who live in town and aren’t able to show livestock but want to work with them and learn more about how livestock is evaluated for market.     

Participants gain many life skills through judging.  They learn to understand livestock body structure, be an articulate and confident speaker, work with a team, make decisions, and defend decisions with reasons. 

All 4-H and FFA members interested in livestock judging are encouraged to attend.  No prior experience is needed.  This is open to all 4-H members.  Youth and parents are welcome to attend all, but not required.  4-H Livestock Judging coaches are Dustin Ford, Brandon Freel, Ted Greiner, and Chad Younge.  

For more information on how to support the senior livestock judging team preparing for national competition at the National Western Stock Show in Denver or how to get involved as a volunteer or participant, please contact the Washington County Extension Office, 319-653-4811. 


Livestock judging workouts have been set on the following dates, at the following locations.  All 4-H and FFA members interested in livestock judging are encouraged to attend.  No prior experience is needed.  This is open to all 4-H members.  Workouts begin traditionally at 6:00 p.m.  Youth and parents are welcome to attend all, but not required.  4-H Livestock Judging coaches are Dustin Ford, Brandon Freel, Ted Greiner and Chad Younge.

These workouts are also very valuable to showman as well.  Youth can learn more about what the judge expects out of each species in the show ring.  

  • June 12 swine · Jayme Sieren, 1235 210th St, Keota
  • June 19 sheep · Ted & Wendy Greiner, 25514 330th St, Keota 
  • June 26 sheep · Duane & Pat Sprouse 402 N Iowa, Keota
  • July 3 heifers · Lyle & Stephanie Sexton 1752 Willow Ave, Ainsworth


Senior Livestock Judging Team

Washington County 4-H senior livestock judging team took 3rd place at the 2021 Iowa 4-H State Judging contest and are now preparing for their next level of competition in January at the National Western Stock Show in Denver.  Team members include: Iris Peterson, Anna Nafziger, Carmen Sieren, and Greta Sieren.   

Washington County 4-H Livestock Judging Team Makes the National Map of Competition as They Prepare for Denver Contest  

Washington County 4-H livestock judging has bounced back into action at the top level of competition placing third at the State Livestock Judging Contest held at the Hansen Ag Student Learning Center in Ames early this summer.  This top honor for the senior team has earned them a seat to compete at the National Western Stock Show in Denver this coming January.  

4-Hers Carmen Sieren, Iris Peterson, Anna Nafziger and Greta Sieren make up the Denver team who have tightened their focus to prepare for the next level of competition.  “During the state competition I was the most nervous I had ever been.  We went into competition as a team knowing we could do well,” said Carmen Sieren, senior member of the Dutch Creek Flyers 4-H Club.  “When the announcer called our name, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment and relief.  We had worked so hard.”  

This honor and success came after a new volunteer coaching team set some new goals a few years ago and motivated a group of 4-Hers to get excited about this area of the livestock industry.  

“We wanted to get a core group that was serious about getting better and being competitive.  Once we started seeing some success, the goal became a moving target,” said coach Brandon Freel.   “Our goal was to put Washington County back on the map not only in our area but in the state and nationally.  The kids have worked really hard to make that dream become reality.”  

Washington County 4-Hers with a livestock judging interest met every other week since January in preparation for the spring and summer contests.  During the winter months they met to learn terminology and focus on reasons.  In late spring, the frequency and intensity of practices picked up in preparation for the Washington County Fair contest.  Weekly workouts were held at Washington County producers; farms focusing on a different species each week.    

“Livestock judging is a golden opportunity to learn about the livestock industry from those who know it best, livestock breeders and producers,” said coach Dustin Ford.  “Most importantly, it’s a great way to meet others who share a similar passion for the industry and make lifelong friendships.  Some of my closest friends today are those I shared this experience with 20 years ago.” 

 Livestock Judging is an activity that teaches the difference between livestock based on certain selection criteria, but additional outcomes is participants also develop critical thinking and public speaking skills so that they can give reasons and can defend a decision they have made.  This project area develops confidence and teamwork.   

“Livestock judging doesn’t just help you learn about how to sort through animals, but also teaches you confidence and communication skills,” said Iris Peterson, member of the Washington Go Getters 4-H Club who has been a part of the team for two years.  “I have learned a lot about livestock judging and it’s terminology. When I started, I wasn’t that great at it, having no clue how to give reasons. My coaches helped me out a lot and continually pushed me to get better.”  

 The Iowa 4-H State Livestock Judging contest success was a goal to start this year and the Washington County 4-H junior and senior teams met their goals.  Results include:  

Senior Team  made of Carmen Sieren, Greta Sieren, Iris Peterson, Anna Nafziger: - 3rd High Team Overall, 3rd in Reasons, 3rd in Beef, 2nd in Sheep, 5th in Swine, 3rd in Goats, 4th in Placings 

Carmen Sieren - 2nd High Individual, 8th in Reasons, 4th High in Beef, 7th in Sheep, 4th in Swine, 2nd in Placings, Greta Sieren - 13th High Individual, 9th in Sheep, 9th in Swine, 9th in Goats, 12th in Placings, Iris Peterson - 14th in Sheep, Anna Nafziger - 12th in Reasons 

 Junior Team made of Garrett Greiner, Brynn Younge, Charlotte Sieren, and Peighton Ford earned 1st Overall, 4th in Questions, 2nd in Placings, Garrett Greiner - 8th High Individual, 11th in Questions, Brynn Younge - 7th in Questions 

 Junior Team 2 made of Brynn Northup, Jack Greiner, and Ella Greiner earned 7th High Team Overall and 4th in Placings, Brynn Northup - 7th High Individual, 8th in Questions, 4th in Placings 

Tradition runs strong in Washington County 4-H and so does success.  “I’m a firm believer in ‘success breeds success’ so the more success we can have early in our season and kids can have early in their experience, the more interest this program is going to gain,” said Freel.   

The Washington County 4-H volunteer livestock judging coaching team is made up of Brandon Freel, Dustin Ford, Ted Greiner, and Chad Younge.  They coached anywhere from 10-40 kids at workouts January-August.  This year they are uniquely still working now through the fall and early winter to prepare for the National Western Stock Show in Denver.   

“We are thankful to have such caring adults with a judging expertise who want to invest and teach our young people in this project area ,” said Amy Green, Washington County 4-H/Youth coordinator.  “This is a project area that develops great life skills of teamwork, confidence in decision making and public speaking.  It says a lot about the youth in our county program who have been dedicated to those weekly workouts and learning and now we are extra excited for their success and next level of competition.”  

As the team of four prepare for this national contest, they are also working to collect funds to cover registration and travel expenses to Denver in January.  They are interested in visiting area service organizations to talk more about livestock judging and sharing information about how groups or individuals can be sponsors of their trip.  Contact Amy Green at the Washington County Extension Office, 319-653-4811 or  amygreen@iastate.edu, to find out more about how to support this team and their national contest.   

Follow “Washington County 4-H – Iowa” on Facebook for up-to-date information and photos on 4-H/Youth Extension programming throughout Washington County.  


Judging Teams help youth to develop life skills in the areas of decision making, critical thinking, oral reasoning, self-confidence and problem solving.