This edition of A Few Minutes is with Craig Beckmier from Morrisonville, Illinois, the market judge for the California State Fair 4-H & FFA Lamb Show this Friday. Enjoy reading our candid interview with Mr. Craig Beckmier and be sure to check back for more state fair judge interviews in the coming weeks!
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Morrisonville, IL it is located in the central part of the state
What was your experience with sheep growing up?
We always raised a few commercial sheep, but it was only once we started showing sheep through 4-H that we began to focus on the genetic and show ring aspects of the sheep industry. Shortly after that we sold our cattle herd and increased our ewe flock from 8 head to 120 head in a four year period. At that time we were raising Hampshires, Montadales, and Columbias. We then began showing at not only all the county fairs we could in IL, but also at state fairs in the Midwest.
Where did you attend college?
Lake Land College in Mattoon, IL for my associates, I went on to the University of Illinois for both my Bachelors and Masters Degrees.
Where do you work now?
I am the animal science instructor and livestock judging coach at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, Illinois.
Do you still raise sheep?
Yes, Club Lambs, Hampshires, Montadales, and Southdowns
As a livestock judging coach what do you believe is the most important thing to teach your students?
If a student is not related to the livestock industry, what do you feel is the most important thing for them to learn about the livestock industry?
A basic foundation of knowledge that will help them to be intelligent in their discussion of the importance of the industry to our society and defend basic production principles to those who question our current means of livestock production.
Everyone that judged has had that one card they wish they could go back and change. What would it have been for you?
The Limousin Bull card that I turned in my final contest at Louisville. The committee followed the requests of the scenario more than I did. Lesson learned.
What is the proudest moment of your professional/sheep/personal career?
Watching my son feed, care, prepare and show his sheep.
Who was the most important influence in your sheep and/or judging career?
I have benefited from many people in my life that have helped me in my career. All my coaches over the years as well as my judging teammates have had a profound effect. Steve Austin was my 4-H coach and helped me to develop my foundation along with tremendous support from my parents. Brad Angus and Larry Mrozinski each took a chance and promoted me as a young judge coming out of school which opened up many opportunities in my career. Most importantly my wife understands and supports what I do, knows my passion, and allows me to continue to take time away from our life to judge shows. From the sheep side I have been lucky and blessed to work with some great people, but having my brother to work with has been awesome. Appreciate your family, your friends, and enjoy being part of the livestock industry, it has so many great things to offer.
Lastly a fun question to end on...do you own an IPOD? If so, what’s some of the most played songs?
I did, it was a gift from one of my judging teams. I don’t because someone borrowed it permanently (I hope whoever that person is they are enjoying my Red Dirt and Gary Allen).