Your online source for the show lamb industry.

Jess Yeaman

This edition of A Few Minutes is with Jess Yeaman from Texas, the market judge for the State Fair of Texas Market Lamb Show this upcoming week. Enjoy reading our candid interview with Mr. Jess Yeaman and be sure to check back for more state fair judge interviews!

Why do you take the time out of your busy schedule to judge market lamb shows? 
I love getting to work with young people, and I love looking at livestock. Judging shows is great way to give back to a program that teaches responsibility and work ethic.

What is your background and current involvement in the sheep industry?
I grew up helping my grandparents with their ranching operation, which included several thousand commercial fine wool sheep. After I graduated from college I worked for three years in the Texas AgriLife Extension Service as an extension assistant to the state sheep and goat specialist. Currently my parents and I raise fine wool and fine wool cross club lambs.

How does your current operation effect what you look for when evaluating sheep?
My current operation makes me like sheep that are practical and useful in their build and design. It makes me focus a bit harder on the traits like base width, rib shape, and structural integrity.

What person/people influenced or helped to shape your view on what the ideal sheep should possess?
I have had the opportunity to be around a large number of what I consider to be great livestock minds. I try to absorb everything I can and learn from those folks at every opportunity. My view of what the ideal sheep should possess comes from a culmination of their ideas blended with my own philosophies.

 Where did you attend college?
I received my Bachelor of Science from Texas A&M University and my Master of Science from Angelo State University.

What are your initial sorts when evaluating market lambs? 
Adequate muscling and leanness are my first priorities. Then soundness and design come into play.

When you get down to those top end lambs, what separates them for you?
Skeletal quality and eye appeal. In my opinion you can’t have one without the other. I like seeing animals on the move in order to pick up on flaws that a skilled showman can conceal.

What would you consider an acceptable fat range?
.2 to .3.

Who are some people that you credit with helping you get to where you are today? 
First and foremost my parents. They have supported me every step of the way. My family as a whole is a huge asset. I have had many friends, professors, and colleagues that have helped me along, and I am grateful for all their kindness and assistance.

What’s the best market lamb you have ever seen?
That’s a tough one. I really liked Jim Breck Bean’s lamb that was reserve overall at Houston in 2011.

Who’s the person you most like to sit down and watch judge?
Kyle Smithwick.

What do you think is the most important issue facing the sheep industry?
Drought currently tops the list. Followed closely in my opinion by predators.

You’ve got one night to go anywhere in the country and watch one band? Where is it and who are you watching?
Cross Canadian Ragweed, anywhere in College Station, TX.

Who is your favorite sports team? 
The Fightin’ Texas Aggies!

What’s your biggest pet peeve in the showring?
An exhibitor that loses their temper, or rolls their eyes when placed.

Do you consider yourself more of a handle judge or a profile judge?
I don’t think you can do a good job without utilizing both ways of assessment, but I would consider myself more of a profile judge. When I really want to see what’s in the class I put them on the move. 

What is your favorite place to vacation? 
Of the places I have been, the central coast of California is hard to beat.

Thanks Jess for your time!