New computer program will enliven UWP livestock contests

February 12, 2003

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PLATTEVILLE - A new computer program is being developed to make University of Wisconsin-Platteville School of Agriculture livestock contests more user friendly - and faster.

For the past 10 years, each second Friday of October, UWP's Block and Bridle Club hosts a livestock judging contest for beef, sheep, swine and horses.

Student teams from 10 to 15 regional high schools yield an annual attendance averaging more than 100 contestants.

A typical contest consists of six livestock placing classes evaluated by contestants with three additional classes of questions to be answered on selected animals. All of the classes and questions are then discussed and officially placed by a contest official.

Speeding up scoring and calculating contest results will benefit all schools, but particularly those in outlying areas such as Viroqua and Cambridge.

Under present programming, only about 60 percent of the contest format has been computerized, which increases the possibility of potential errors and delays results calculations.

The program could be adaptable for high school and university contests statewide and nationally as well.

According to UWP faculty members Mark Zidon and Robert Nusbaum, co-creators of the program, plans call for completion of the new program this summer, including basic programming and livestock input and trials.

Funding for the program is provided in part by the UW-Platteville Foundation Opportunity Fund, which awarded nearly $45,000 for 15 grants this year.

The UWP Foundation initiated the fund program in 1998-99, and the total number of grants thus far is 86, with a total monetary value of $411,000.

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