THE Australian national meat judging team has backed up its outstanding campaign in Texas last week winning the National Western Stock Show competition in Denver, Colorado – for the first time in 17 years.
“To beat the locals at their own game is an impressive accomplishment and one rarely before achieved by the Australian team” head coach, Tim Ryan said.
“This group of young and enthusiastic students trained hard over the past two weeks and they should be proud of their achievements.”
The results are easily the best ever for a touring Australian meat judging team.
Along with top team honours, the team will return home with trophies for highest team in placings, questions, pork judging and – well timed for Australia day – lamb judging.
Individual awards to Australian team members from the National Western Stock Show included:
“It has been really interesting learning the ins-and-outs of the American grading system and I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know like-minded students over here in the US,” said Australian team member and overall individual champion, Bridie Luers.
“I’m really grateful for the opportunity to represent Australia and the Intercollegiate Meat Judging Association in such a prestigious competition,” she said.
The National Western Stock Show culminates the training and competitive component of a month-long US industry tour by the ICMJ team. The team will now focus on visiting a broad cross section of the US meat industry, including seedstock producers, ranchers, lotfeeders, universities, processors and retailers, travelling across Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas over the next two weeks.
During a tour around College Station, Texas, the group visited Kallion Farms, a Brahman Stud recognised for the docility and quality carcase traits of their cattle.
“After working on large cattle stations in the Northern Territory, I believe the breeding objectives of Kallion Farms would benefit Northern cattle producers, resulting in a superior quality product,” said CSU student, Lachlan Woods.
The highlight of the tour so far for team-member Jake Bourlet from CSU was visiting the 44 Farms Angus ranch.
“Their facilities were world-class and after learning of their young history, the sheer scale of the operation was mind-blowing. I look forward to the remainder of the trip and furthering my knowledge of the American red meat industry,” Jake said.
The US tour is coordinated by the Australian Intercollegiate Meat Judging Association (ICMJ) which has been developing young leaders in industry since 1990. Each year ICMJ runs a national meat judging competition and conference, in which 130 students from universities across Australia and its key export markets attend. ICMJ also coordinates a range of high school competitions and a development program from which it selects the Australian team.
The body is principally funded by Meat & Livestock Australia and the Australian Meat Processor Corporation, along with industry contributions from a range of Australian companies.
“The ICMJ program each year injects young and enthusiastic students into the Australian meat industry” said ICMJ president, Pete McGilchrist.
“I am looking forward to seeing where this intelligent and passionate group end up in our industry.”