Livestock show

An upcoming conference will teach participants how to judge and organize livestock shows.

A conference in May will train people how to judge goats and sheep or run a livestock show.

The 2019 Pacific Northwest Sheep and Goat Judges School and the Pacific Northwest Show Management Conference will be May 16-17 on the Washington State University campus in Pullman.

Registration fee is $150.

“A lot of judges are getting older in the Northwest, and people need to stay current as far as what the show industry is looking for,” said Mark Heitstuman, director of WSU Extension in Asotin and Garfield counties.

The conference includes the opportunity to evaluate live animals and collect carcass data after harvesting them, Heitstuman said.

The conference targets new and current sheep and goat judges who want more knowledge, and fair board and livestock committee members who work behind the scenes, Heitstuman said.

Show management covers the range from when the animal is initially weighed in and tagged to sales at a 4-H or FFA auction to carcass data.

Some experience with livestock is recommended for judges, Heitstuman said. For show managers, the conference will connect newcomers with experienced judges.

The show management track covers proper animal handling, working to ensure that a fair or show has a good reputation and high quality product.

Heitstuman hopes for 30 people in the judging track and 25 or more for the show management track.

It’s the first livestock judging and show management conference WSU has offered since 2004. Heitstuman hopes to have other conferences in the coming years.

“It takes a lot of work to put these programs together, and they’re fairly expensive,” Heitstuman said. “We’re kind of starting out small at this point, that’s why we’re focusing on primarily sheep and goats, that’s a bit more affordable than a beef program, and hopefully get these started up again.”

Conference participants will also learn about the importance of 4-H and FFA youth livestock shows, Heitstuman said.

“We need to make sure that the animals they raise are healthy and meet the consumer’s expectations,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if they’re raising one animal or the person has a thousand head, all of those animals are going to wind up in the food chain, so we’ve got to be doing a good job and making sure it’s a healthy product.”

The event is sponsored by WSU Extension, the University of Idaho Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, and the UI Department of Agriculture and Extension Education.

The registration fee is requested by April 25. The fee includes two lunches, one dinner, refreshments and course materials.

For more information and to register, contact Janet Schmidt with WSU Whitman County Extension at or 509-397-6290 or Heitstuman with WSU Asotin & Garfield Counties Extension at or 509-243-2009.

To register and for additional information, go to”

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