Australian ICMJ team excels in US meat judging contest

Sheep Central, January 18, 2023

The Australian ICMJ team placed second overall at the National Western Meat Judging Contest in Colorado and won a range of individual awards. They are from left, standing, coach Nick van den Berg, Austin Smith, Sam Turner and coach Melanie Smith, and seated, Jasmine Wholton, Lawton Elliott and Rachel Franklin. Image – ICMJ.

AUSTRALIA’S Intercollegiate Meat Judging team has achieved the top score in the lamb judging at Colorado’s recent National Western Show.

The Australian ICMJ team also capped off its three-week tour of the United States red meat industry by finishing second overall in the National Western Meat Judging Contest held annually in Denver.

The contest is one of seven American Meat Science Association meat judging competitions run each year and is part of the National Western Stock Show, the country’s premier livestock, rodeo and horse show.

The Australian team of Austin Smith (Murdoch University), Lawton Elliott (University of Queensland), Jasmine Wholton (Charles Sturt University), Rachel Franklin (University of Sydney) and Samuel Turner (University of Queensland) was accompanied by coaches Melanie Smith and Nick van den Berg. The team performed exceptionally well against very high calibre competitors from more than 20 US universities.

Other individual category results included Lawton Elliott taking out 1st individual – total contest, and Sam Turner coming in third.

“The team’s results are a reflection of their dedication to master a globally recognised grading system in just 10 days,” Australian ICMJ team coach Melanie Smith said.

“The USDA grading systems which underpins the US meat judging competition is well recognised by both US producers and consumers alike, but is somewhat different to Australia’s system making the achievement even more significant.”

The Australian ICMJ team also placed third overall at the Southwest Invitational Meat Judging Contest in Lubbock, Texas, earlier in the tour.

The US tour participants were chosen from a field of talented and passionate university students who took part in at the National ICMJ Conference and Competition in Wagga Wagga in July 2022.

The ICMJ US red meat industry tour provides an invaluable opportunity for students to get a close-up look at one of the largest red meat processing countries in the world and one of Australia’s major global competitors.

The tour included visits to a range of red meat operations across five states including JBS beef processing plant in Greely, Colorado, Cargill’s Beef Processing plant in Friona, the 100,000 head Five Rivers Feedlot, Double J small stock processing facility, All American Pet Company, Global Animal Products and various retail operations.

“It was great to get an insight into the US beef industry and to understand how it compares to the Australian System,” team member Sam Turner said.

“It was particularly interesting to hear about traceability challenges, the history of lamb in the US and the geographic distribution of feedlots and farms throughout the nation.”

The team will wrap up its official tour schedule on Saturday, with team members staying on for industry placements in various red meat operations including feedlots, ranches and seedstock production.

ICMJ’s mission is to inspire and develop the next generation of leaders in the global red meat industry and this tour is a key component of our annual program.

ICMJ’s US Tour is supported by foundation partners, Meat & Livestock Australia and Australian Meat Processor Corporation.

National Western Meat Judging Contest Australian ICMJ results

Beef grading: 1st individual – Sam Turner, 2nd individual – Lawton Elliott, 2nd overall team. Beef judging: 1st individual – Lawton Elliott, 2nd overall team. Total beef: High individual – Lawton Elliott, high team – runner up. Lamb judging: (Tie between 1st-4th on 150/150) – Lawton Elliott (2nd) and Austin Smith (4th), 1st overall team. Pork judging: 2nd individual – Lawton Elliott, 2nd overall team. Total placings: 1st individual – Tie Lawton Elliott and Austin Smith, 1st overall team. Total questions: 2nd individual – Lawton Elliott, 2nd overall team. Total contest: 1st individual – Lawton Elliott, 3rd individual – Sam Turner. Overall team division A: 1st – Washington University (3 points ahead), 2nd – Australian ICMJ.

Source – ICMJ.


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