Report by Kristen Fredericksen
The 26th annual Intercollegiate Meat Judging Competition was hosted by Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga at the beginning of this month. Run over 5 days, the competition attracted 130 university students supported by 35 coaches from 11 universities across Australia. Additionally, four international teams competed; Oklahoma State University USA team, Bogor Agricultural College Indonesia team, Japanese National Team and South Korean National Team.
Included in the program were 17 industry speakers providing insight into the numerous aspects of the meat and livestock industry. Sponsored dinners were held each evening at the Wagga RSL club with a meeting the other students and coaches. The final two days comprised a careers expo, opening the eyes of students to job potentials in the meat and livestock industry, and then the contest itself.
Students were required to judge beef, lamb and pork carcases and primals and identify primals and retail cuts from these species. The small stock contest was held at the university supported by Rivalea Australia and JBS on the Friday afternoon and Teys Australia hosted the beef contest on the Saturday morning. A significant amount of time was spent in the chillers at Teys with slowly numbing fingers and toes!
The top 15 contestants were selected to judge an additional beef primal class and give oral reasoning in front of all competitors before the top 10 Australian students were selected. These students were announced at the dinner Saturday evening and included students from a number of universities. These students will travel to Brisbane later in the year for a Meat Standards Australia training course before the five who are to join the national team and travel to America are chosen.
The individual champion award was presented to Chandler Steele from Oklahoma State University, collecting the AMPC Founders Buckle, with the runner-up being Emily Jones from LaTrobe University. Oklahoma State University also collected the champion team award.
Overall the experience was phenomenal and certainly allowed for extensive development of knowledge in the meat and livestock supply-chain, whilst networking with influential people involved in it and students that share a similar passion.