STUDENTS will be scrutinised and guided by one of the best in the business during an upcoming online junior judging competition.
Grame Hopf is one of Australia's most esteemed judges of all types of livestock and will oversee the St Paul's College Virtual Junior Beef Cattle Judging.
Mr Hopf, of Murwillumbah is being accompanied by fellow over-judge Glenn Trout of Holbrook, and the students will be required to assess Limousin females.
While the competition is working within COVID-19 pandemic requirements, the ultimate winner will earn the opportunity to judge at a physical show next year.
Mr Hopf said the prize would be flexible given the current coronavirus environment. But it was his aim to give back to the industry.
In addition to judging livestock in Australia and overseas Mr Hopf works with youth. In fact, he has raised 36 children as a foster carer.
He tells the story of growing up during tough times when there may not have been enough money to put food on the table.
At the same time he had an interest for country shows and an ability to judge, dairy and beef cattle as well as poultry.
His judging narrative winds back to 1967 when he was in Kings Cross, Sydney and decided to visit the Sydney Royal Show.
There was a serendipitous moment at the royal, which provided an open door to a plethora of agricultural opportunities.
These opportunities have given him an appreciation for agriculture that he enjoys sharing with the next generation.
"I am always looking for the next generation and talent scouting," he said.
Mr Hopf said the online competition would provide a platform for participants to share their honest opinion on the different animals.
"You must be honest ... honesty overrides everything," he said.
Mr Hopf said the competitors also needed to have a natural ability to identify livestock and to see the strengths and weaknesses.
"They also have to be able to justify their places, many people can judge but not a lot can justify their places," he said.
And for those with aspirations of judging at royals and bigger events he said it was important to have some charisma and an ability to entertain.
Mr Hopf said online judging was important. "I have been involved in about 20 online shows with four different forms of livestock," he said.
He said the competitors would use a video, and pictures of the animal. He said it was an opportunity to assess the structural correctness of the exhibits.
Over the years Mr Hopf has judged 38 different beef breeds and six dairy breeds he has also been instrumental in the promotion and coaching of teenage students in livestock management and judging and was the instigator of the first dairy and beef youth camps held in Australia and New Zealand.
Emma Finemore of St Paul's College at Walla Walla has been involved in organising the upcoming online competition and encouraging participants to enter.
"I am very grateful to both Grame and Glenn for giving the competition their time and expertise," she said.
"They bring a high level of knowledge to the table and I am really excited to see them in action," Miss Finemore said.