AN Intercollegiate Meat Judging conference and competition will be held in Australia’s Beef Capital of Rockhampton for the first time, as the red meat industry supports new training initiatives designed especially for the needs of the northern beef industry.
Up until now, ICMJ has run an annual tertiary competition each year in southern Australia, held at Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW. Last year’s event attracted students from ten Australian universities and international teams from the US, Korea, Indonesia and Japan.
From 2019, in conjunction with sponsors Teys Australia and CQUniversity Australia, ICMJ will be hosting a Northern Beef conference and competition in Rockhampton, QLD.
The event will be held on 25-27 April 2019 and is open to universities, vocational training organisations and agribusinesses with staff beginning a career in the Australian red meat industry.
ICMJ’s northern conference event coordinator Ethan Mooney, from Teys Australia, said the purpose of the competition was to build the pool of talent considering a career in the red meat industry through a competitive learning environment.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to build the capacity in the northern beef industry and for young agriculture students to gain new skills as well as network with potential employers,” Mr Mooney said.
Unlike the Wagga competition, where students also have to assess sheepmeat and pork products, the Rockhampton competition will be unique in its focus on the needs of the northern beef industry, and equipping attendees with knowledge of the carcase characteristics and eating quality of breeds produced in this region.
Intercollegiate meat judging was established in 1927 by meat science professors in the US and has since grown to encompass major events in agricultural education calendars around the world, including Australia where a competition was first held in 1990.
The Australian ICMJ program exposes students to the fundamentals of meat quality, carcase specifications required in today’s market, the requirements of the modern consumer and the role of new technologies in meeting those needs. Platinum sponsors include Meat & Livestock Australia and the Australian Meat Processor Corporation.
CQUniversity agriculture spokesman Michael Thomson said creating a new Australian event in Rockhampton was an important milestone in building the Beef Capital’s reputation as not just an industry hub, but as the prime location for educating the beef industry’s future leaders.
“Hosting ICMJ is a significant investment in growing the capacity of the northern meat processing sector, providing a recruitment pipeline to retain local graduates and attract skilled graduates to the region,” Mr Thomson said.
As well as the training workshops and the meat judging competition, the program will feature trade fair displays from Australia’s major meat processing companies, a number of the large vertically integrated beef supply chains, and service providers. These businesses use the event to recruit graduates – for example, Teys Australia employs 10 graduates each year who must have participated in ICMJ.
CQUniversity Bachelor of Agriculture students competed at ICMJ Wagga for the first time this year, gaining invaluable insight into the skills and knowledge needed to succeed at a national level, Mr Thompson said. With the support of Teys Australia, CQUniversity is already preparing its team for next year’s event in Rockhampton.