Pro Judging Tips: Q&A with Meat Judging Coach Jimmy Carter, Seymour, TX

February is iCEV Judging Month! In honor of iCEV Meat Judging Week, Jimmy Carter, Agricultural Science Teacher at Seymour High School, shares insights and tips on coaching meat judging.


Why do you feel participating on a judging team is so important for students? How does it bring students success in the future?

I feel participating on judging team(s) is important because of the critical thinking skills students begin to hone and continue to develop as they become more proficient. Students also learn how to be part of a team, and since our teams are small compared to competitive sports teams, they understand how important their role is on the team. They also realize that as teammates they have a responsibility to be the best they can be for the sake of the team.

Judging brings success in the future in the form of scholarships, awards, honors, FFA Degrees, collegiate judging and hopefully a desire to pursue a career in the field your are participating in or one that may be similar.


What are the important qualities of a judging team member?

The important qualities of a judging team member include: sacrifice, diligence, dedication, self-motivation, love of competition and hating defeat.


What advice do you have for students that might be interested in judging?

Give it a shot. The worst thing that can happen is you will learn awesome stuff and meet even more awesome people.


How do you prepare your students before each event?

I help prepare students for events by facilitating their needs. I like to focus on areas in which I feel or they feel they are weak. The real learning comes during and after the events.


How do you prepare students to give oral reasons?

Practice, practice, practice. Have them practice in front of as many people that make them nervous as much as possible. Another key is taking good notes that are accurate, specific, organized and to the point.


What advice do you give to struggling students?

If you commit to a team, any team, you have an obligation that is much bigger than just yourself. You must consider the needs of every team member and always do what is best for the betterment of the team.


What are some common challenges a judging team can face and how do you help your students overcome those challenges?

Time management/conflicts: Check all team members’ schedules as early in the year as possible and avoid train wrecks that might occur down the road.

Team member compatibility: Sometimes we just have to work through our differences and focus on our goals. It takes all members working together in order to be successful.