FOR the first time since 2001, the Australian intercollegiate meat judging team has been triumphant at a US competition, winning the Southwest Invitational, hosted by Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas.
The competition is part of a month-long annual tour of the US industry, designed to build industry leadership capacity across the supply chain by exposing students to US production systems and supply chains.
The team of five students, selected from the Australian competition, includes Emily Webb Ware (University of Melbourne), Lachlan Woods (Charles Sturt University), Jake Bourlet (Charles Sturt University), Bridie Luers (Murdoch University) and Harriet Moss (Murdoch University). The team is coached by Tim Ryan (market analyst), Nick van den Berg (project manager) and Sarah Stewart (meat science).
“The team achieved an outstanding result against the locals, through mastering the USDA grading system over the past week and training extremely hard in the chillers” said head coach, Tim Ryan.
“They are a talented group of students who have a real passion for the industry. It will be exciting to see them continue to develop as they enter the workplace.”
In addition to championship honours, the team dominated most judging categories, winning beef judging, overall questions and was reserve champion for pork judging. The Australians also beat the US teams at their own game, taking out USDA beef yield and quality grading.
In the individual categories, Emily Webb Ware was judged overall beef champion and scored highest placed individual, smashing the local competition by almost 30 points, while Lachlan Woods took out champion in pork judging.
Agricultural Science student Emily found the competition a fantastic networking and learning experience.
“The Southwest Invitational has been a highlight of the trip so far. The competition was challenging, and learning about USDA grading and how it compares to our systems in Australia has been really interesting,” she said.
Students are required to judge beef, lamb and pork carcases and primals as well as USDA grade beef carcases.
Competition organiser Loni Lucherk from Texas Tech was impressed with the team’s efforts. “The Australian team definitely set the bar high for meat judging this year. We are all very proud of this team and their coaches,” she said.
The Australian National team will also compete in the National Western Meat Judging Competition, held in Denver Colorado mid-January and will tour the US mid-west throughout the remainder on month.
The four-week tour includes some of the largest players in the US meat and livestock industries. The itinerary consists of visits to JBS, Tyson and Cargill beef processing facilities, 44-Farms and Gardiner Ranch Angus studs, Five Rivers feedlots, Smithfield Creek pork, Mountain State Rosen lamb plant and a range of universities, including Texas Tech and Texas A&M.
The Australian Intercollegiate Meat Judging association is a not-for-profit organisation that exposes and encourages students into careers in the meat industry. The Australian team’s tour was sponsored by Meat & Livestock Australia and the Australian Meat Processors Corporation.
- For more check out the ICMJ website or follow the tour on Facebook.