CSU meat judging team receives top honors in Australia

The Colorado State University meat-judging team won high honors recently when it traveled abroad to represent the United States in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia, at the 28th Annual Australian Intercollegiate Meat Judging competition.

The team attended the three-day event earlier this year, learning about the Australian meat industry and the contest. The team received champion honors in Pork Judging, Lamb Judging, Beef Judging, Overall Placings, and Overall Questions and Reasons, as well as runner-up honors in Eating Quality Evaluation.

The categories serve as benchmarks in the Australian meat production system. Students were asked to identify certain qualities about samples of different meats to accurately report how the cuts would best be placed for retail consumption and describe their quality overall.

‘Newfound passion’

CSU junior Brett Meisinger received The John Carter Champion Buckle for being first in the individual contest. Meisinger was also named High Individual in Overall Questions and Reasons and second in Beef Judging. Meisinger grew up in Colorado raising livestock, mainly poultry, and was an active member of his local 4-H and Future Farmers of America programs.

“Agriculture has always been a huge part of my life and was the main factor that influenced my decision to attend CSU,” Meisinger said. “I never would have discovered meat judging without taking the Live Animal and Carcass Evaluation course, but now I have a newfound passion for the meat industry, and I’m incredibly proud to be a part of this team!”

Meisinger will graduate with a degree in Animal Science in the spring of 2020 and plans to work in the meat industry after pursuing a master’s program in the field.

Different grading system

After arriving in Australia, the team traveled alongside a team from the University of New England that helped CSU students to learn the Australian beef grading system.

Michael Semler also scored well, being one of the top contestants in Lamb Judging, Beef Judging and Overall Placings. He got second in Beef Pricings and Overall Questions and Reasons.

In addition to representing the United States in the contest, the team traveled the country to tour industry operations and take in Australian sites. Sites they visited included Fletcher’s lamb packing facility, the Dubbo Livestock Markets, the McPherson lamb feedlot, the JBS Riverina beef packing facility and feedlot, the LambPro sheep seedstock operation, Angus Pastoral Company’s cattle feedlot and seed stock operation, Rockpool Restaurant, Meat and Livestock Australia’s headquarters, King’s Beach, and the Australia Zoo.

Aspiring teacher

Junior Jazmine Brown also comes from an agriculture upbringing; she has been raising goats and swine since she was 8 years old. She soon became interested in beef cattle production and began growing her own herd.

“I chose to attend CSU to pursue a degree in the animal sciences department and agriculture education; I one day hope to teach high school,” Brown said. “Thanks to my experiences in Australia, I am better prepared to advocate for American agriculture. I’m excited to share my story in the classroom, and hope it inspires my students to try new things.”

Other team members included Chloe Carlson, Mac Cassas, Savannah Millburn, Landon Verbeek and Wesley Woolery. The team is coached by a graduate student in the meat science program, Blake Foraker, and supervised by a faculty member in the Department of Animal Sciences, Dale Woerner.