Meat Judging Team Caps Busy Fall Judging Season
(November 14, 2016) – The Fresno State Meat Judging Team wrapped up its first season of competition since 2013 with strong efforts at the International Intercollegiate Meat Judging Contest on November 13 in Dakota City, Nebraska.
Senior John Woodcock (Tollhouse) finished 14th overall in total placings with 460 points and also placed 12th in the lamb judging section.
Seniors Hannah Price (Quartz Hill) led the team in the beef judging (18th), overall beef and pork judging categories. Senior Cody McDougald (O’Neals) paced the team in the beef grading and specifications areas.
Junior Annika Paris (Fresno) also competed at the national finale, and sophomore Steven Pozzi (Petaluma) and senior Elizabeth Gingles (Hanford) participated as alternates.
A month earlier, the team enjoyed a second-place overall finish in total places at the Elanco Animal Health American Royal meat judging contest in Omaha. Fresno State scored 1,950 points, 11 points behind event champion Florida (1,961).
Price led the team in total placings (ninth, 492) – two points behind the overall individual leader (Shelby Teague, 494), while McDougald stood 12th overall. Price also led the squad in beef judging (12th), pork judging, reasons, beef overall and overall standings, and Woodcock paced the team in the sheep judging category.
At its season opener on October 1 at the Eastern National Meat Judging Contest at Wyalusing, Penn., Price placed 15th in both total placings and the overall standings. She led the team in beef grading (11th), lamb judging (14th), overall beef judging (20th), pork judging, beef judging and reasons, and Woodcock posted the squad’s top score in the specifications competition.
“We started the year with a relatively inexperienced group that grew a great deal,” said McKeith. “The contests can be draining when they students are at the competition site at 6 a.m. and competing to 2 p.m. with much of the time in meat coolers between 34-38 degrees. The second-place team finish at American Royal was a high point of the season and something these students will remember for a long time.”
The Fresno State team was composed of upperclassmen from the animal science (McDougald, Paris, Price, Woodcock), plant science (Gingles) and agricultural business (Pozzi) departments.
Each event was composed of a single-day events that first tested competitors’ knowledge of yield and quality grade of 15 beef carcasses. Contestants next tried to correctly identify 10 meat specifications to determine if the meat cuts were correct or had any issues. The final competition included judging of a pair of pork, lamb, beef carcasses, beef whole sale and pork cut classes and a written set of five reasons.
“The team members picked up key meat evaluation skills that will continue to be utilized during their careers and also enhanced important life skills such as working as communication, teamwork and responsibility,” McKeith said. “In their 18 months of practice, traveling and competition, they also met a lot of key leaders in the profession from companies like Tyson, Cargill, BPI and JBS and toured top industrial processing facilities and university meat labs to better prepare them for jobs in the industry.”
Looking ahead, the team focus on fundraising in 2017 with plans on returning to the national competition circuit in 2018.
More information on the Fresno State Meat Science Team is available at its Facebook page as well as ways to support its fundraisers that include ham and steak sales and 30 ounce RTIC My Dogs Depend on Ag mugs.