My name is Blaine French and I am originally from Batesville, Arkansas. I grew up on a family farm where we raised polled Hereford Cattle. I got heavily involved in FFA once I entered high school as a freshman and really found a passion for livestock judging, along with showing livestock. After high school, I judged collegiately at Fort Scott Community College and the University of Arkansas. After completing my undergraduate degree at the UofA, I took the tremendous opportunity to stay and complete my master’s degree in animal science there, while also serving as the assistant livestock judging coach. After finishing my master’s degree, I took the assistant livestock judging coach position at Connors State College in Oklahoma. After being there for a year, I was blessed to be afforded the opportunity to be hired here as the livestock judging coach.
What is your position at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln?
I am currently the head livestock judging coach, serve as an assistant professor of practice and am an assistant Extension educator.
What drew you to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln?
I was drawn to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for multiple reasons. First of all, the hunger and support level for a competitive livestock judging program was the driving factor. The program is what I am absolutely passionate about, so finding a place that had the resources in order to develop a competitive team was very important to me. Not to mention, Nebraska is a livestock driven state and that was huge. I also really enjoyed my visit with Clint Krehbiel, Department of Animal Science Head, during my interview process and knew that he was someone that would really be a proponent for our livestock judging program here at UNL.
What aspect of working in an education setting do you enjoy the most?
The thing I enjoy the most is seeing the young people grow into prepared adults that are ready to enter the workforce and be as productive as possible. I truly enjoy teaching, along with coaching students and using livestock judging as a venue for them to gain so many intangible skills that will aid them in their career paths moving forward.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
From a career standpoint, I’d have to say my greatest achievement to this point would have to be just having the opportunity to pass along the skills that I have learned to others so that they can be better down the road because of it. The skills a student gains from a program like livestock judging are truly second to none and I know what the program did for me, so I just strive to generate that same impact for others.
What is something that most people don’t know about you?
I am a huge golf fan. Any time I can, I try to get out on the course and play. I am a very competitive person so it is just another activity that can keep my competitive juices flowing. Sometimes I just like going and playing a round by myself as well. It’s a great opportunity to simply clear my mind and focus on the game.
What is your life like outside of work?
I try to spend as much time as possible with my beautiful wife, Chelsea. Being the livestock judging coach, we are gone a ton during the season so it is vitally important that I spend time with her anytime I can. After a long day of work, it’s always nice to come home, have dinner and then hangout in the living room with her while watching our favorite TV show. I also love to engage with my family as much as possible and try to get back to Arkansas when I am able. I love to judge livestock shows and as stated above, play a round of golf any chance I get. My close group of friends are certainly important to me and I try to stay in communication with them.