Animal Judging Over the Years at the Iowa State Fair

Our Great State Fair | Clip
Aug 2, 2023 | 2 min

Visitors come from around the country to see the livestock on display at the Iowa State Fair. Qualified judges look at many qualities when selecting a grand champion.


[Narrator] It's also hard to understand the fair without knowing a little bit about agriculture. It is, after all, the reason the Iowa State Agricultural Society founded the fair in 1854. Visitors come from all over the country, even the world, to see the various breeds of livestock on display.  

[Leo Landis] When you think about livestock at the Iowa State Fair, we are the livestock kings in the early 1900s. If you want your animals to be shown and be recognized you need to enter the Iowa State Fair.

[Narrator] After the problems that plagued early agricultural competitions in the 1800s, qualified judges became part and parcel for the fair in the 1920s. When judging animals, they looked for proportioned body parts, outstanding traits, resilient breeds that would produce heartier stock and in turn, allow the farmer to make more money from their animals. Even to this day, judging is critically important to the fair and continues to be a strong driver in the agricultural economy of Iowa.

[Reporter] The buyers are from all walks of life, all interested in the promotion of the great 4-H work.

[Narrator] Youth achievement clubs such as 4-H and FFA formed and taught a new generation how to improve their farming practices, bolster their exhibits and showcase their talents.

[Reporter] We're looking at the Grand and the Reserve Champion Baby Beefs at the Iowa State Fair. The Grand Champion baby beef of Iowa is a Hereford weighing 1,010 pounds raised by Herbert Olson of Benton County.