Fresno State’s livestock judging team has been renamed to honor an alumnus who helped to jumpstart an endowment that has amassed more than $2 million for the team.
The announcement was made Tuesday as the university introduced the newly-named Meyers Livestock Judging Team inside the university’s beef unit near Barstow and Chestnut avenues.
The team was renamed to honor Marvin Meyers, a Fresno State graduate, who provided a lead gift to establish an endowment for the livestock judging team in 2012 after hearing it needed funding support.
About 70 alumni, friends and organizations have joined Meyers by donating to the endowment through the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology’s Ag One Foundation.
“I’m pleased to support these young people,” Meyers said. “I’ve seen firsthand how livestock judging provides lifelong skills that will benefit the students professionally and personally throughout their lives.”
The university has had a livestock judging team for more than 50 years. But private donations helped to revive the program in 2012 because budget cuts put the team at risk.
Kristi Mattes, an agricultural business department graduate, and her mother Luanne Silkwood also contributed to support the team through their Silkwood Family Foundation.
Kristi and her husband Jim, an alumnus and former member of the livestock judging team, continue to be active in agricultural education community along with their two children.
“Fresno State is a part of my family’s history, as is agriculture,” Kristi said. “My husband and daughter represent the past and present in livestock judging. It’s a program that needs to continue enabling us to keep the brightest and best here in California to grow our agricultural industry along with their leadership.”
Hannah Price, a junior and member of the 2015 livestock team, said she gained skills that went beyond judging livestock.
“Livestock judging has instilled many things in me that I feel I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life,” Price said.
Price had joined with no experience and helped the livestock judging team place seventh at the American Royal Livestock Show in Kansas City and ninth at the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky in 2015.
“I just feel that this program is probably one of the best things that’s ever happened in my life and I’ll carry it with me forever,” Price said.
The team recently placed second at the 2016 Arizona National Livestock Show in Phoenix in January.