ISU judging coach has dream job
By KELSEY SANDS
Iowa Pork Industry Center
AMES (IPIC) – New livestock judging coach Chris Cassady said it’s a dream come true to be working in the animal science department at Iowa State University.
“Iowa State has such a rich tradition of excellence in the world of agriculture,” Cassady said, “and it’s impressive to be involved in a department that’s played such an influential role in the world of animal production.
“And beyond faculty, the students are second to none.”
Cassady began his new coaching position this fall, but his personal judging experience has been years in the making.
“I grew up on a diversified, family-owned purebred Angus and grain farm in North Central Illinois and began judging competitively in FFA in high school,” he said. “I was named to the 2006 Illinois State 4-H Livestock Judging Team and honored as an All-American.”
He continued livestock judging at Black Hawk East Community College and was named to the Junior College Coaches All-American Team. While attending Texas A&M, where he received a bachelor’s degree, Cassady was a member of the Reserve National Champion Team and earned the High Individual honor at the American Royal, in Kansas City.
Already in his professional career, he has judged shows in more than 25 states including The National Western, North American, Fort Worth Stock Show and Houston Livestock Show.
Cassady attended the University of Illinois where he earned his doctorate in beef cow-calf nutrition and management in 2016.
During this time, he served as the livestock judging team coach, and taught several courses including an introduction to animal science course and several breeding and market animal evaluation courses.
“I am a firm believer in youth development through livestock programs,” Cassady said. “I enjoy working at a nationally recognized institution, but the best part of my job is interacting with students.”
Currently he teaches two upper-level animal science courses – livestock judging and competitive livestock judging courses. He said the students in both classes bring forth different strengths that help the class become more knowledgeable.
The students make class fun to teach, yet seeing them improve their knowledge and succeed in life beyond the classroom, he said, make up the icing on his cake.
“My position fits in perfectly with judging, as I am responsible for all animal evaluation courses and coaching the livestock and meat animal evaluation teams,” Cassady said.
Eventually Cassady would like to design and teach a sophomore-level class focused on the basics of livestock principles, including animal evaluation.
For now, he’s focusing on his dream job one day at a time.
Kelsey Sands can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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