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Hattie Duncan

After a yearlong search, Purdue Animal Sciences has selected Hattie Duncan to lead its livestock judging team as well as the department’s newly formed livestock judging program. Duncan is a Wingate, Indiana, native who was raised on a Hereford cattle farm.

After earning her master’s degree in animal sciences from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Duncan lectured on beef production, animal ethics and introductory animal sciences courses at the university. She comes to Purdue with extensive experience in livestock judging from both sides of the arena, having assisted in the organization of several judging events for Illinois 4-H.

John Blanton, professor and department head of Animal Sciences, said Duncan’s talent and motivation for livestock judging will enable the newly formed judging program within the department to flourish. The program will include introductory judging experiences for first-year students so they can determine if joining Purdue’s teams would be the right fit for them.

“Coming in as freshmen, students will get their first experiences with judging in our classes with live animal evaluation and learn to write out their reasoning and arguments,” Blanton said. “Having Hattie as our livestock judging coordinator will also allow for better recruiting and hiring of judges, putting Purdue on the path to win a national championship.”

Duncan said her decision to return to Indiana is one that she will utilize in her recruiting processes.

“I was a student who was passionate about agriculture and specifically livestock, and I left the state,” she said. “I think there are a lot of people who found themselves in the same boat as me. So I think it’s really important we work to keep our in-state students here by providing opportunities for them to become the future leaders of Indiana agriculture.”

One of the major perks Duncan hopes to replicate for Purdue students is the networking opportunities that come from being involved with judging teams.

“It is common during off weekends for competitors to take a group trip to a livestock operation to judge their animals as practice,” Duncan said. “These excursions allow for students to meet so many important people to help in advancing their careers.”