Perhaps it is the high price of meats or the fact that there are so many small hobby farms in the Four-State Area, that livestock judging was the most popular of the 15 different contests at the 45th annual Crowder Aggie Day.

About 350 high school agricultural students taking part in livestock judging were greeted by a pen of Brangus bulls. These beautiful creatures looked docile, but an overseer warned each group of participants to stay back from the fence.

Each of the students was judging the animals from statistics given for the animals and their own knowledge of what makes a “good” bull. Some kids took notes from the instructor, some simply filled out their judging forms.

The instructor said that besides statistical information, each student judged on his or her thoughts about the muscling, shape, walk, and body structure. The instructor commented that “good” bulls have a special “masculine look.”

Aggie Days offers a “hoof to steak” view of livestock. One of the contests involves students judging various cuts of meat and from hanging meats such as hind quarters.  
Newton County is in the top 10 counties in Missouri for cattle numbers. Local rumors have claimed Newton has been No. 1 with cattle numbers in the state.

Crowder College must have a large core of volunteers to pull off Aggie Days. Nearly 3,000 high school students visit the campus on this day. All the current Crowder agricultural students pitch in, plus many alumni, and other local volunteers with an interest in agriculture and youth.

One group with a special interest in beef and Crowder College is the Newton County Cattlemens Association. This group will hold a special calf auction at 9 a.m. on April 2, at the Joplin Regional Stockyards, located on Interstate 44.

The calf auction will be conducted like an old fashioned pie auction, where the top bidder may turn in the calf he just bought and have it auctioned off again. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the calf auction will go to the Crowder Aggies and Vet Tech activities. Other donations will be accepted to help the students.

With continued cooperation between the Crowder College Agricultural Department, the Newton County Cattlemens Association, and the 3,000 high school agriculture students who attend Crowder Aggie Days each year, we will no longer have to ask “Where’s the beef?”

It is right here in the four state area.