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Dairy Judging (Part 2 of 2)

Now that we’ve placed the dairy judging class and taken good notes in Dairy Judging Part 1, it’s time to give oral reasons. Reasons are a two-minute speech explaining why you placed the class the way you did to a 4-H or FFA reasons judge. They are usually given about a class of animals the same age of the same breed. Depending on the competition and the student’s age, the contestant may give between one and five sets of reasons per contest.

Basic reasons are typically structured as seen below. The detail, number of traits presented, and thoroughness of reasons will increase as the student gains experience.

Reasons are given in comparative terms such as more or words ending in -er like longer, stronger, wider, etc. There are two-way traits, where the middle option is desirable versus one extreme or the other, and using a clarifying statement helps the reasons be specific. More information is included in the resources. Below are a few examples of comparative traits from each scorecard category. At the end of the post, there will be documents with many, many terms available to use in sets of reasons.

These are just a few examples of comparative conformational trait terms. For more trait, connecting, and grant terms and general statements, “Dairy Judging Terminology A Guide to Saying What She Is, Not What She Isn’t” from UGA has a thourough one here. UConn Extension has a general video about reasons given here.

So you’ve outlined your reasons and generally know what you are going to say. Visualizing the cows helps you remember and give reasons. Some delivery tips are below.

  • Be accurate, say what you see

  • Compare the cows instead of describing them

  • Use the present tense

  • Keep your reasons organized

  • Begin with the most important points first when comparing cows

  • Be as specific as you can be vs using general terms

  • It’s helpful to add in identification points such as I placed 2, the black cow, over…

  • Use the terms lists to have a variety of phrases

  • Use proper terminology, grammar, and pronunciation

  • Speak convincingly with a moderate speed

Overall, giving reasons is an organized, verbal way of justifying your placing of a dairy judging class. Defending your decision-making is invaluable in personal and professional development and is worth learning and practicing. There are multiple resources gathered below that will help you learn how to develop and deliver winning reasons.

General Packets:

General Videos:

Oral Reasons Video Examples:


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