HISTORY AND PURPOSE: The American Goat Society began a classification program early in its history, in the early 1940’s. Classification is a more accurate way to evaluate an animal’s conformation than judging is because, in classification, the animal is compared with the ideal, not against whatever competition is in the ring at the time. Classification scores are important in figuring sire summaries, and, when combined with DHI production figures, can be used to figure Predictable Difference in sires (how much improvement over dams they throw).
WHAT IT IS: In classification, an animal is given a final percentage score based on 100 being perfect. In addition, each area of the animal is evaluated and assigned points based on how close that part comes to being ideal. For example, if an animal is given four (4) points out of the allotted five (5) on teats, that is 80%, and the owner knows that the teats on that animal are only 80% of the ideal.
HOW TO DO IT AND COST: If you want your animals classified, contact the classifier nearest you and time for the classifier to come to your herd. If one of them is going to be in your area to judge, you might be able to better afford him/her, as the owner of the animals being classified is responsible for the expenses of the classifier. If several breeders unite to hire a classifier, it becomes more affordable. In addition, you notify the office that you are going to have your herd classified. The office will send you a form on which you list all animals being classified, including name, number, birth date, freshening date, and tattoo. The list and fees are sent to the office before classification is done. Whole herd classification is recommended. Does must be at least second fresheners and bucks at least eighteen (18) months old when they are classified. Spontaneous, on-site classification of individual animals may be done at shows and other places where breeders may meet classifiers, and that under those conditions, classifiers are allowed to collect the fees and send the Society portion (50%) to the office. (BOD, 2002)
Classifiers are ineligible to classify animals ever owned or bred by the classifier.
SCORES AND CERTIFICATES: Final scores are Excellent (90-100), Very Good (85-89.9) Good Plus (80-84.9, which is considered average or acceptable), Good (almost average or 70-79.9), Fair (60-69.9), and Poor (under 60). The classifier keeps a copy of the scores, gives one copy to the owner of the animal, and sends one to the office. The office issues an official certificate to the owner. The score becomes a part of the animal’s permanent record. Classification scores may not be lowered with successive classifications, but they may be raised. Once an animal has been classified excellent, they cannot raise their score on successive classifications.
CLASSIFIERS: Potential Classifiers are selected from the most experienced judges. In order to be considered as a candidate for AGS Classifier training, one must meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 25 years of age,
- have been an AGS Member in good standing for a minimum of 5 consecutive years,
- have been a licensed judge for "all dairy breeds" for a minimum of 5 years, including at least 5 years as a fully licensed AGS judge.
- have judged a minimum of 10 multi breed dairy goat shows, and successfully complete apprentice training under an existing Classifier. This training will consist of classifying a minimum of 10 animals representing a minimum of three breeds, with a minimum of 85% accuracy.
The Board determines when classifiers are needed and votes on whether to accept a successful candidate who has completed the training.
Current classifiers are:
Tim Flickinger, 208A S. Spring St, Wakarusa, IN (574) 862-4378 firstname.lastname@example.org
Alice Hall, 17227 Hall Ranch Rd, San Bernardino, CA (909) 887-3466 email@example.com
Keith Harrell, 2257 Fred Everett Rd, Kinston, NC (252) 522-1762 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ann Weikel, 20430 Salem Rd, Blairs Mills, PA (814) 259-3036 email@example.com