Intercollegiate Judging Teams

The Department of Animal Science has a rich heritage of successful judging teams. Many former team members who have gone on to obtain leadership roles in the industry as alumni strongly support the judging team experience. Participation on a judging team enhances a student’s ability to think, reason and make decisions, and to communicate with others. These skills are in great demand regardless of the career choice.

Students enrolled in dairy, horse, livestock, meats or welfare judging have the opportunity to travel and visit farms across the US. They can meet and talk to the owners and managers of some of the most successful operations in the world. These contacts help students better understand current management and marketing strategies as well as assist students in making and securing career choices.

Judging is more than visiting farms and taking a class. It is competing against schools all across the U.S. in contests held in conjunction with the major industry events. Some of these are: World Dairy Exposition, Madison, WI; North American Livestock Exposition, Louisville, KY; Quarter Horse Congress, Columbus, OH; and Arabian Nationals, Albuquerque, NM.

Read the Spartan Judging Review newsletter for recent team activities.

Students may earn a maximum of 8 credits from ANS 200A Sec 001, ANS 200A Sec 002, ANS 200E, ANS 200F, ANS 300A Sec 001, ANS 300A Sec 002, ANS 300B, ANS 300C, ANS 300D, ANS 300E, ANS 300F. Many of these courses have a re-enrollment provision so that a student might be able to compete on one or two intercollegiate judging teams.


Animal Welfare Judging Team

Coach - Dr. Jacquelyn Jacobs

Facebook: Updates through MSU Animal Welfare Club

ANS 200E Introductory Animal Welfare Assessment (pre- or corequisite)

  • Fall Semester - 1 credit

ANS 300E Animal Welfare Judging

  • Fall Semester - 2 credits


The Animal Welfare Judging team is open to all undergraduate students, and is recommended to those who wish to learn to critically assess animal quality of life and improve their public speaking skills. Animal welfare is evaluated using an ethical framework supported by scientific research, and the team focuses their studies each year on four diverse species (livestock/poultry, companion and exotic) determined by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Undergraduate Welfare Judging Team members tour animal care facilities, listen to experts in the field, and practice presenting evidence-based reasons. Team members will compete alongside the graduate and veterinary teams at the AVMA’s annual Animal Welfare Assessment Contest (1 weekend commitment per year, each November). Animal welfare judging alumni have gone on to lead diverse, successful careers in the veterinary and animal care industry fields. The Animal Welfare Judging Team is supported by the Animal Welfare Club, the Department of Animal Science, and the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources Alumni Association. 


Dairy Judging Team

Coach - Dr. Joe Domecq

Dairy Judging Team website - Dairy Judging

        Dairy Judging Program Archives - Year in Review

ANS 200C Introductory Judging of Dairy Cattle

  • Spring Semester - 1 or 2 credits with a maximum of 3 credits

ANS 300C Advanced Dairy Cattle Judging

  • Fall Semester - 2 credits


Horse Judging Team

Coach – Dr. Karen Waite

Facebook: MSU Horse Judging

ANS 200D Introductory Judging of Horses

  • Spring Semester - 1 or 2 credits with a maximum of 3 credits

ANS 300D Advanced Horse Judging

  • Fall Semester - 2 credits


Livestock Judging Team

Coach - vacant

Facebook: Michigan State University - Livestock Judging Team

ANS 200A section 001 Introductory Judging of Livestock or Carcasses

  • Spring Semester - 1 or 2 credits with a maximum of 3 credits

ANS 211 Animal and Product Evaluation

  • Fall Semester – 3 credits

ANS 300A section 001 Advanced Livestock Judging

  • Fall Semester - 2 credits


The livestock judging team is open to all undergraduate students but is commonly comprised of students with a strong interest in animal agriculture and its related industries. Interested students are strongly encouraged to enroll in ANS 211 (Animal and Product Evaluation) the fall semester of their junior year, along with ANS 200A (Introductory Judging of Livestock or Carcasses) during the spring semester in order to compete in the All East Livestock Judging Contest. In the fall of their senior year, students enroll in ANS 300A (Advanced Livestock Judging) and participate in regional and national competitions throughout the year including, but not limited to, the National Barrow Show (Austin, MN), the American Royal (Kansas City, MO), and the National Collegiate Livestock Judging Contest held in conjunction with the North American International Livestock Exposition (Louisville, KY).

Not only do team members learn to evaluate livestock and make sound selection decisions utilizing both phenotypic and genetic measures, but they also gain confidence in their ability to make quick decisions. In addition, they learn to effectively communicate the underlying principles and reasoning associated with the decisions they make. Just as importantly, livestock judging provides an opportunity for students to network with the industry as they visit with producers at the farm or ranch about livestock and production practices. It provides an opportunity to learn from those directly involved with the industry regarding the principles and variability of livestock production and management throughout the United States. Simply put, livestock judging gives students the confidence and skills that are necessary to make them more marketable upon graduation. No other activity can parallel judging in terms of professional and self enhancement.

Advantages of participating in the Livestock Judging Program:

  • Learn to evaluate livestock
  • Become a proficient and effective public speaker
  • Build courage and leadership
  • Reinforce team-building skills
  • Enhance decision-making skills by making quick and confident decisions
  • Travel throughout the U.S. and have fun
  • Meet new people and make new connections
  • Build life-long relationships with teammates and industry leaders
  • Make yourself more marketable to employers and/or graduate schools
  • No experience necessary
  • Earn agriculture academic scholarships


Meat Judging Team

Coach - Dr. Andrea Garmyn

Facebook: Michigan State University Meats Judging Team

ANS 200A section 002 Introductory Judging of Meat

  • Spring Semester - 1 or 2 credits with a maximum of 3 credits

ANS 300A section 002 Advanced Judging of Meat

  • Fall Semester - 2 credits


Agricultural Technology Judging Teams

The contact persons for the Agricultural Technology Judging Teams are:

Dairy: Dr. Joe Domecq

Horse: Dr. Karen Waite

Livestock: Dr. Denise Altemose