It’s one of the most prestigious YFC competitions to win and this year’s winners of the Senior and Young Stockman of the Year achieved it on their first go competing at the national final, which was sponsored by Kerbl/Rutland Electric Fencing,
Rebeca James, 24, from Llanddewi Brefi YFC in Ceredigion, won the hat trick in the senior category – winning the overall competition as well as coming first in the vet task and the project.
It was the first time I’d got through the county and Wales rounds. I was a bit shocked to be honest, but I’m glad because quite a lot of effort goes into the project. It took a lot of time and the interview was daunting. It was a relief and a shock and I’d like to thank my stockjudging mentor John Green.
Winner Stockman of the Year 2023
The competition, which was hosted at Harper Adams University, requires competitors to submit a project in advance of the competition, which needed to include a health plan, an annual calendar and a diet plan. Competitors were also interviewed by a vet, which despite it being Rebeca’s profession, proved to be a challenge, she admitted.
“In theory, I should have had an advantage but I’m not sure I did. Some of the questions I still didn’t know the answer to,” said Rebeca who also lives on a sheep farm and has her own small flock. “We usually have a questionnaire for our county vet tasks, so having a mini interview meant you didn’t have much time to think. It tested your knowledge better than a questionnaire.”
Rebeca’s skills were also put to the test with an increased number of animals to judge and a lack of paper.
“In county rounds you’re allowed as many pieces of paper as you want to write on and you only judge four in a ring. Judging six in a ring and then having one piece of paper was a baptism of fire for me. It was a bit of a shock on the day. I used very small handwriting!”
For Harriet from Warwickshire, winning the Young Stockman of the Year was an achievement none of her keen stockjudging family had achieved before.
Ever since I joined YFC, I have always entered the county stockjudging competitions as they are my favourite ones to do. Stockjudging is a bit of a family thing – my grandparents, my parents and my siblings have all done it. I have got the furthest in the family though, which is good!
Young Stockman of the Year 2023
“I was shocked to win but I was really pleased. It was my first time getting through to national and the first year I had even entered this competition,” said Harriet who lives on a dairy and beef farm.
Harriet practised for the competition with support from her parents and also at the county organised stockjudging practices.
“I enjoyed judging all the stock and it was nice it was hosted at Harper Adams University, as they have really good stock there. It was definitely the hardest competition I have done so far and the standard of the other competitors was really high. Everyone was amazing,” added Rebecca.
For others preparing for this competition, Harriet advised rehearsing and delivering your reasons, as well as practising judging stock.
“If your delivery is good that secures you quite a lot of points. Your order is kind of pot luck on the day if you agree with the judge,” she said.
The Young Stockmen of the Year competitors also had to complete a vet questionnaire and a meat identification task. Congratulations to Alexandra from Dorset and Jacob Ryder from Yorkshire who won the meat identification task and to Enfys from Pembrokeshire who won the vet questionnaire task.
The competition was sponsored by Kerbl/Rutland Electric Fencing and Sean McMenamin, Areas Sales Manager, Northern England, said:
“What an honour it has been to watch and take part in this competition. They all put in a fantastic effort, and it was great to see the results rewarded at the end of the day. Congratulations to everyone who made it into the final.”