Youth apply knowledge as contestants in Michigan 4-H/FFA Meat Judging Contest

Michigan 4-H and FFA members experience a unique learning opportunity as contestants in the state meat judging contest.

Contestants compete in the 2015 Michigan 4-H Meat Judging Contest.

Contestants compete in the 2015 Michigan 4-H Meat Judging Contest.

As July comes to a close, so does two full weeks of youth competitions including livestock, dairy and meat judging. Michigan State University Extension and the MSU Department of Animal Science are proud to be part of the numerous events that enrich the 4-H animal projects at the state level.

The 2015 Michigan 4-H/FFA Meat Judging Contest was held Friday, July 24, 2015 with 31 4-H members and 12 FFA members participating. These youth took the extra step, applying the knowledge they gained through other animal-related activities all the way through processing to seeing the final, consumable product.

Contestants judged seven classes, including beef short loins, porterhouse steaks, pork hams, pork chops, lamb carcasses, beef carcasses and pork carcasses. Contestants also identified 20 retail cuts and analyzed three beef carcasses for yield grade and quality grade and answered a set of questions about one of the classes. Additionally, 4-H members gave one set of oral reasons to defend their placing and FFA members completed a multiple choice test.

Participants had the opportunity to score up to 640 points during the morning event. Once all contestants had concluded their reasons or test, the officials described each class in detail and announced the proper placing of the class. At that point, contestants were able to calculate their own score based on the information presented.

Contestants illustrated their ability to evaluate carcasses and identify meats through individual and team competition, as well as developed important life skills in communication and decision-making. With the assistance of the Michigan Livestock Expo, contestants were able to see the animals at the show and watch them win before viewing and evaluating them in the meat cooler. This unique opportunity provides an even richer learning opportunity for Michigan youth.

Contestants competed in four divisions including Junior 4-H, Senior 4-H, Junior High FFA and High School FFA. Winning the Senior 4-H Team division is the team from Ottawa County 4-H, consisting of Jessica Timmer, Jolyn Timmer and Jaycee Wise. Wise was also named the high individual in the Senior 4-H division.

Kent County youth ranked the highest in the Junior 4-H division, with a team consisting of Tori Kik, Gage Snarski and Mitchell Snarski. Shelby Souva of Branch County was the high overall individual in the Junior 4-H and Junior High FFA divisions.

Winning the Senior FFA Team division is the team from Centreville FFA, consisting of Alyssa Richards, Megan Schlabach and Sarah Quirin. Cailyn Hines of Branch Area Career Center was named the high individual in the division.

At the conclusion of the contest, coaches were surveyed and 100 percent of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed the contest had an educational impact on their contestants. The contest was generously hosted by the MSU Meat Laboratory. High placing teams and individuals received awards sponsored by the Michigan Meat Association. Congratulations to all of the contestants on their very unique learning experience.

For more information about the contest, visit the Michigan 4-H Animal Evaluation webpage or contact me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 517-432-1626.

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