STUDENTS will be able to test their beef cattle judging skills in an upcoming virtual event.
Due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions a large portion of junior events at agricultural and royal shows have been scrapped, however, online platforms are offering an educational outlet.
Emma Finemore is the Livestock Show Team Manager with St Paul's College at Walla Walla in southern NSW.
She has a passion for agriculture and is an accomplished equine competitor and has fond memories of entering competitions at shows including junior judging in her days as a student at St Paul's.
Now it's her job to find solutions to help the next generation learn more about agriculture.
She is inviting other schools to join in the St Paul's Virtual Junior Beef Judging Competition. Entries open on August 3 and there will be prizes for first second and third in the different categories, as well as a champion school overall.
"I think the competition will be great ... it is removing physical boundaries," she said.
The online nature of the event means that students from any region of Australia can compete against each other in junior beef cattle judging. Miss Finemore said the initial response to the virtual event had been amazing.
Citing the success of some of Australia's large-scale industry events and breed nationals, where both shows and auctions of stud stock were run virtually rather than at a physical location, she said online judging skills were important.
"School students are the future of the agricultural industry and I believe we need to supply them with ample learning and development opportunities to further enhance their involvement in the long term," she said.
Miss Finemore explained that the competition was formatted to reduce student and parent stress.
"Each (participating) school requires a staff member to nominate as team leader. This staff member is responsible for uploading student registrations, place cards and the student judging videos," she said.
She also identified the crossover between physical and online auctions for the livestock industry.
"I believe the agriculture industry is moving into the online world through the increase of online livestock auctions, students will have the opportunity to develop and adapt their cattle judging skills to an online format," she said.
Cattle to be judged have been provided by Progress Limousins and Le Martres Beef.