The word in the goat world is that enthusiasts from Cornwall to Northern Ireland and across Scotland are already preparing their entries for judging in next month’s online Scottish Agricultural Show.
Nationwide respect for judge Agnes Aitken’s knowledge of “the poor man’s cow”, her boundless energy chairing the Grampian Goat Club and her involvement in the committee of the British Goat Society and the Scottish Goatkeepers Federation mean she is well known as an authority in show rings nationwide – and her opinion counts.
On her 17-acre smallholding near Stonehaven, Agnes keeps 31 goats – a mix of British Alpines, British Saanen and pygmies. She takes her judging duties very seriously, as her video on the scottishagriculturalshow.co.uk website makes clear.
She says: “The show ring is the shop window for all breeders and as a judge you have a huge responsibility for shaping the national herd by selecting animals into prize positions.
“The animals that judges place as prize-winners are what new breeders aspire to producing.”
Agnes will judge classes for dairy white adult females, dairy white goatlings, dairy coloured adults, dairy coloured goatlings, pygmy adults, pygmy goatlings, Boer adult females and Boer goatlings.
There are also classes for young handlers – one for children up to 10 years of age and another for those aged 11-18.
All you need to do to enter is complete a form and include an image of your animal and the link to a short YouTube video showing it walking.
The online show on July 3-4 is an ambitious venture by DC Thomson, the publishers of The Courier and The Press & Journal, to recreate some of the excitement and competitiveness of the summer show season and give breeders an opportunity to showcase their best livestock.
It has drawn the support of the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society, organisers of the Royal Highland Show and its main sponsor is EQ Accountants. The goat section is being sponsored by property and land agents Bell Ingram.
Each entry requires a £5 donation via Just Giving to the Royal Highland Education Trust charity and entries close at midnight on June 19.
All details, including videos of the judges outlining what they are looking for, are online at scottishagriculturalshow.co.uk