Meet our Alumni: Gordon Jones

Author: UTIA Advancement

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Category: Donor Stories

Gordon Jones

What team were you a part of and what contests did you compete in?

I was on the 1965 meats judging team which placed third overall and a mere twelve points shy of first place at the international. I was third overall individual in the contest, and two other team members were fifth and seventh in the contest.

The next year I was on the 1966 livestock judging team. In the spring we competed at the Southeastern Live Animal Evaluation and Livestock Judging Contests (a two-day event with live animal evaluation the first day and the second day a traditional 12/8 judging contest). We were fortunate to win both contests. In the fall we competed in the Mid-South Fair Contest (Memphis, Tennessee), Southeastern Contest (Atlanta, Georgia), Eastern National (Timonium, Maryland), and the International (Chicago, Illinois). We had a good run in the fall where we were announced as high team at both the Mid-South Contest, and Southeastern Contest. I was second overall in both these contests and finished up second overall in the swine division at the International.

What is your favorite memory from the team?

Some of my favorite memories were from the Live Animal Evaluation class taught by Prof Lidvall. This class was required and a prerequisite for becoming a member of the Live Animal Evaluation and/or Livestock Judging teams. In this class, pigs were evaluated on Tuesday, harvested on Wednesday, and the carcasses were evaluated on Thursday. We were given our evaluation scores each week along with Prof Lidvall’s scores. It was always a challenge to be competing with the professor. In addition, another memorable experience was exchanging oral reasons with other members of the class. Much of our learning to speak effectively was the extensive practice of oral reasons with the members of our class.

What are you currently doing?

From 1979 to 2010, I was an animal science faculty member in the Department of Agriculture at Western Kentucky University. From 2010 to 2012, I continued to teach and advise students in a part time role. Currently, I assist my son and his family with the Red Hill Farms operations where we run 100 sows and 450 cows. Our cow herd includes Red Angus, Simmental, and a few Black Angus. We have two bull sales each year, one on the third Saturday in March and the other on the fourth Saturday in October. In the past three years we have sold bulls to seventeen different states. In 2017, Red Hill Farms was selected as the Red Angus Breeder of the year. During the summer months, I manage cattle and pastures on six farms in the northwest corner of Allen County, Kentucky. Along with this I serve on the Ag Development Board in Kentucky and the technical committee for the Re Angus Association.

Would you consider the livestock judging team important to you and your future? If so, please explain why?

Absolutely. I have been fortunate to have many opportunities within the agricultural field. Much of the success I have had can be attributed to my meats and livestock judging team experiences. Because of my collegiate judging experiences, I have had the opportunity to judge cattle, swine, and sheep shows at the county, state, and national levels. One of my major goals was to judge national swine shows. I have been very fortunate having had the opportunity to judge National shows for Durocs, Hampshire, Landrace, and Yorkshires. I have judged at National Type Conferences, the National Barrow Show, and the World Pork Expo. In addition, I have judged major swine shows in Japan, Australia, and Thailand. Even though we are strong proponents of the EPDs and Indices that result from genetic evaluation, every selection decision we make on our operation is also phenotypically driven. The lack of competent phenotypic evaluation has resulted in major problems in both the beef cattle and swine industries.