THE elite Australian Intercollegiate meat judging team did the nation proud during January, winning the lamb judging and performing creditably in beef at both competitions they entered in their recent tour of the US.
The team of five, selected from a field of more than 120 students at the Australian competition held in July last year, returned home from the US at the weekend after an intense four-week program.
Not only did the team win the lamb judging at the Southwest Invitational and the National Western competitions, they were placed in the top three in some beef and pork categories, and came third overall at both competitions.
Hauling home some impressive prizes were Simon Kensit, Anna White and Georgia Clark from the University of Sydney, Jessica McGrath from Charles Sturt University Wagga Wagga and Reuben Welke from Murdoch University Perth.
With some intense training sessions under their belt, noteworthy individual results included Georgia Clark taking fifth place in the Alternates Contest at National Western. Jessica McGrath was placed sixth in a tie-breaker for total questions, and took out tenth place individually overall.
Impressively, Anna White won total placings, which is calculated from a combination of beef, lamb and pork judging were she scored 496/500 points. Reuben Welke placed third in lamb judging, second in total questions and won the beef judging. Simon Kensit placed third in pork judging, third in total placings, third in total questions, second in beef judging and third individually overall.
Australian coach, Demi Lollback said the team was one of the most dedicated to success she has seen.
“I was extremely proud of the team this year. They trained so hard from the minute we got off the plane. Some days they would be training in chillers for up to eight hours. The results paid off,” she said.
The primary focus of the trip is to provide a unique insight into the US meat and livestock industry, complementing the Australian competition where the team was selected. To do this, the team covered nearly 10,000km across seven US states.
The paddock to plate tour included meat science faculties of eight major universities, processor tours of beef, pork and lamb facilities, including the three major US packers – JBS, Tyson and Cargill – and organisations such Global Animal Products in Amarillo.
The team also visited numerous ranches, feedlots, steakhouses and retailers, the Meat Animal Research Centre (MARC) in Clay Center NE and the National Cattlemans Association to round out the experience.
Simon Kensit reflected his thoughts of the journey.
“It was such a privilege to be picked in the team. The trip has been an amazing experience and just made me realise that the opportunities in agriculture at the moment are endless.”
Reports from each student on an industry relevant topic, from their US tour research will be made available at www.icmj.com.au during March.
The Australian team will be guests at the 2016 Australian Intercollegiate Meat Judging program to be held in Wagga Wagga on 6–10 July, inspiring the next intake of meat judging enthusiasts.
Meat & Livestock Australia and Australian Meat Processors Corporation continue to be the major sponsors of the Australian team.
Seeking feedback from former ICMJ participants
The Inter Collegiate Meat Judging organising committee is reaching out to all former participants in the program, asking them to take the time to complete a quick survey, aimed at generating an estimate of what value the program has been to industry over the past 26 years.
The red meat industry’s middle and senior management ranks are studded with former ICMJ participants who have gone on to bigger things. There are prizes on offer for those who complete the survey, including a $500 RM Williams gift voucher.
The survey can be accessed through this link, and closes at the end of February.