I recently had the pleasure of sitting down and chatting with 4-H Ontario Alumnus Brian Carscadden. Brian is a Sire Analyst for Semex and he’s actively involved in about a million different judging opportunities. Ok, maybe a million is a bit of an exaggeration but you catch my drift.
Brian is one of those warm and amazing people who you feel instantly comfortable with. Over the course of our conversation the one thing that stuck with me the most was the story he told about his favourite 4-H memory, which was a trip to the Hays Contact Classic in 1983. Check out the article below to read about Brian’s favourite 4-H memory (it’s a good one, I promise) and learn his 4-H story.
At the young age of 14, Brian Carscadden travelled with his Ayrshire calf to a competition for 4-H dairy Club Members called the Hays Contact Classic in Markham, Ontario. This spur of the moment trip was quite nerve wracking for this young 4-H’r. “I was the lone representative from Russell County,” Brian shares, “I was incredibly scared, nervous and shy.” Now, Brian looks back on this experience as a pivotal moment in his life. It was on this day that Brian met one of his mentors, Lowell Lindsay and to top it all off, this rookie took home first place in Junior Showmanship with Lowell as the judge. “I hardly remember yesterday but I remember that,” Brian says.
This 4-H Alumnus now works for Semex, a world-renowned bovine genetics company, as a Sire Analyst. He developed an interest in judging, analysis and sire acquisitions after being exposed to the industry through 4-H, his work on his parent’s farm and industry role models, including Lowell. Brian was interviewed and hired for United Breeders Inc. and eventually Semex by Lowell immediately after he graduated from the University of Guelph’s Animal Science program.
Brian has had tremendous success as a Sire Analyst and dairy cattle judge. His expertise is in high demand and his judging assignments have taken him to over 20 international destinations. This 4-H Alumnus is extremely well respected globally for his outstanding judging skills and he attributes a great deal of his success to 4-H.
“To be successful in my field you have to have a good knowledge of the industry, good knowledge of what a good cow should look like, as well as strong communication and people skills,” Brian explains. “Early on in my 4-H career we had to do demonstrations. My brother and I were taken under the wing of an older 4-H’r and we were very successful with it [demonstrations]. That early experience of having to stand in front of people and speak really shaped who I am today and I truly believe that.” Brian’s involvement in 4-H dairy clubs also taught him skills in judging, showmanship and communication, which are all imperative in his field.
Brian recognizes the importance of strong mentors and leaders in youth development. Even with his busy schedule Brian still volunteers his time to help groom the next generation of agriculture leaders. For the last two years he’s helped prepare young Wellington dairy 4-H’rs for showmanship competitions at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. “I feel like I have something to offer and I want to be a positive influence,” Brian says. Brian also helps youth improve their showmanship skills during competitions; he’s well known within the 4-H dairy community for taking extra time and care with each competitor to provide constructive feedback.
Between international judging assignments, a flourishing career, and spending time with his family, he hopes to find time to lead a 4-H Club in the future. For now, 4-H’rs can continue to benefit from his superb judging skills and helpful feedback. Good thing Brian worked up the courage to travel to the Hays Contact Classic.