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Scott Smalley showed 4-H as a kid and has judged multiple animals classes for about ten years. But it has never been like this. Due to the pandemic, some 4-H students elected to submit their projects virtually. Other showed their work in person during the Steele County 4-H Showcase. Smalley, from Ames, Iowa, judged both types of submissions.

I chatted with Smalley after his two-day stint in Owatonna at the encouragement of members of the Steele County extension office after numerous compliments on his judging and kind words from 4-Hers and parents.

4H judge Scott Smalley

Click on Scott's highlighted name above to hear his interview with AM 1390 KRFO.

Roy Koenig/TSM

Smalley modestly stated that he judges cattle, sheep, goats and swine, "I don't know if I'm an expert in anything. I always say it's one person's opinion on one day. The biggest thing is I've grown up in the livestock industry, have the opportunity to show a lot of those different species. There's a lot of similarities between one species to another in what you're really looking for."

Smalley was born and raised in agriculture. He started judging as a high school student and looks at it now as "a hobby and a fun thing to do and my kids are getting to the point where they're showing too."

Roy Koenig/TSM

Regarding the contrast of virtual versus in-person judging, "It certainly is new. It's a good challenge. Obviously it's great to have that virtual option for families that maybe don't feel comfortable coming in to show...These kids have worked so hard on these projects that they deserve to be able to show them."

Smalley enjoys the interaction with the students, "The neat thing is I enjoy talking with the kids...It's exciting to go ahead and congratulate a kid...It's always good to see that bond between the kid and the animal that's been created."

While the judging is complete for Steele County 4-H, the market sale has begun on a virtual basis. More information is available through their Facebook page.