The Australian national meat judging team arrived home on Friday after a month-long meat and livestock industry tour of the United States.
Stashed in their luggage were a swag of awards they picked up along the way at three important US meat judging competitions.
The team members included Isaac Allen, Vanessa Campbell and Jordan Hoban of Charles Sturt University Wagga Wagga, Tim Ryan of the University of Melbourne, and Rozzie O’Reilly of the University of New England.
For the first time in the 22-year history of Australian teams competing in the US, the group participated in three contests during the trip, rather than two. As a team, the Australians placed fourth at two contests and received nothing below a fourth place in all categories of their last contest, the South Western in Fort Worth, Texas.
Individual award highlights included Isaac Allen winning the lamb judging at the National Western competition in Denver and Vanessa Campbell securing ninth place overall in the South Western contest at Fort Worth.
Tim Ryan continued to show why he was judged the individual Australian champion meat judge last year by placing ninth overall in the first contest, the Southwest Invitational at Texas Tech University. He improved further to be the highest-scoring individual in beef and lamb judging at the Fort Worth competition.
Jordan Hoban and Rozzie O’Reilly were also successful in securing a great display of ribbons over a number of categories.
Australian coach and Kerwee feedlot manager, Brad Robinson said the team trained extremely hard for the entire trip for these contests.
“Their ability to remain focussed and continue to keep improving was exceptional,” he said.
DAFF Queensland FutureBeef team member Emma Hegarty, who also assisted in the coaching role, paid credit to the group’s passion for the beef industry.
“This is a group of future of industry leaders,” she said. “They have diverse interests within the meat and livestock industry but all are equally as passionate about the future.”
Aside from the competitions, the team spent a month travelling almost 10,000km across ten US states, visiting facilities and industry organisations. The trip gave the students a complete paddock-to-plate insight from ranch and feedlot visits, processor tours covering beef, pork and lamb facilities as well as visits to significant US retail outlets.
Amongst these stopovers included the National Cattlemens Beef Association, meat science faculties at major Universities as well as meeting with the three major US packers – JBS, Tyson and Cargill.
Rozzie O’Reilly was extremely impressed with the visit to the USDA Meat Animal Research Centre (MARC) in Nebraska.
“It was amazing to see how research is performed and how new technology is being introduced to beef, pork and even lamb industries over here,” she said.
The Australian team will be guests at the 2013 Australian Intercollegiate Meat Judging program to be held in Wagga Wagga on from July 9 to 14, inspiring this year’s intake of meat judging enthusiasts.
- Meat & Livestock Australia and the Australian Meat Processors Corporation were the major sponsors of the Australian team.
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