Nation’s best young sheep judges to flock to Tasmania for national competition

Sheep Central, September 25, 2023

AUSTRALIA’S most promising young judges of meat breeds sheep have been announced by Agricultural Shows Australia as eligible to compete in the national finals of the prestigious annual competition to be judged next month.

The competition brings together the best young judges and paraders aged from 15 to 25 in each state to compete at the national finals. Qualification is via success in competitive regional and state competitions.

Cody Jones

One young judge from South Australia, Cody Jones, will be competing in an unprecedented four events; meat sheep breeds, Merino fleece, Merino sheep, and poultry.


The national championships are held in a different location each year. This year, the event is being hosted by Tasmanian Ag Shows and held at the Launceston Royal Show. The winner of each competition will also take home a pair of boots from Blundstone Australia.


Cody Jones, 19, from Leighton will be representing South Australia in the young meat breeds sheep judging. Cody will also represent his state in the Merino sheep, Merino fleece, and poultry, becoming the first person to compete at the national level in so many competitions.

A woolbroker at Quality Wool, Cody is looking forward to ticking off a personal bucket list goal.

“It’s definitely been on the bucket list to, not only go to Launceston, but to compete at the nationals. The goal is to try and do my best to represent SA to the best of my abilities in all four events,” he said.


Thomas Holt

Thomas Holt, 17, from Southbank will be representing Victoria in the meat breeds sheep young judges competition.

“In 2022 I was heading to the Bendigo Show with our family’s store, Ethical Outback Wool, and my Dad thought I should enter most of the competitions. I love the junior competitions; I did the wool sheep and wool judging and didn’t place but it was a good experience, and it was when I went into the meat sheep judging that I realised I had experience in other areas that could carry over,” Thomas said.

“I also really enjoy public speaking and conveying my thoughts about an animal, as well as being able to place it. You can look at your own sheep and flock after and apply the knowledge you gain from the judges because they really do give you so much. I’m so keen on judging and would also really like to go into cattle judging in the future.”


Michelle Fairall

, 24, (pictured below) from Harden will be representing New South Wales in the meat breeds sheep young judges competition.

“I went to my local show when I was younger and was encouraged to go in all the competitions I possibly could. I made it to state a few times a few times and I’m now using those skills I gained in my role as a science and agriculture teacher. What’s wonderful about the competition is that it’s a valuable networking opportunity and if you make a mistake you don’t get judged for it, you get pointers on how to improve,” she said.


Zarah Squiers, 17, from Quairading will be representing Western Australia in the meat breeds sheep young judges competition.

“My family have taken sheep to the Perth Royal Show for over 25 years, it has always been a major part of my life and the sheep industry will always be my passion,” she said.

“Junior judging provides me an opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge about different meat breeds, their conformation, and meat quality attributes. Participating in these events enables huge personal growth for me, interacting and broadening my network with judges and professionals in the industry. As a young female, participating in these events is not only helping raise awareness about the importance of farming and bridging the gap between farmers and the city folks, but promoting gender diversity working in the field.”


Kate-Elizabeth Worth, 22, from Warwick will be representing Queensland in the meat breeds sheep young judges competition.


Mitchell Green, 16, from Longford will be representing Tasmania in the meat breeds sheep young judges competition.


Overall there are nine categories for judging and parading each year under the Agricultural Shows Australia national competition program: beef cattle, dairy cattle, alpaca, poultry, Merino sheep, meat breed sheep and Merino fleece judging, as well as parading competitions in beef and dairy cattle.

Competitors in the meat breeds sheep young judges competition will rank sheep from first to fourth based on several characteristics, form, and function.

Dr. Rob Wilson is chairman of Agricultural Shows Australia, the peak body overseeing 572 agricultural shows in Australia which attract six million visitors annually and contribute nearly $1billion to the national economy, and says the competition is designed to recognise the best new talent in livestock judging nationwide.

“It’s an extremely prestigious event and positions at the nationals are keenly contested,” Dr. Wilson explains.

“These young people are the future of agricultural show competitions which are crucial to the continual improvement of Australia’s food and fibre. The national competition is a coveted opportunity to grow personally and professionally by practising skills against the cream of the crop.”


Source: Agricultural Shows Australia


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