Meat judging offers members skills, knowledge

Meat is not just something picked up at the grocery store. For the five members of the South Dakota State University Meats Judging Team, meat has become a way for this team to take knowledge they learned in the classroom and apply it to real life situations.

Most of the team members were on the Wool Judging Team last year and have spent many nights together at practice. Most of the members are also hoping to be on the livestock judging team next year.

Each of the members of the team took Animal Science 200, Intro to Meats Judging course, during the fall 2015 semester.

“I really did not know what meat judging was before class,” Jordyn Clark said, a junior animal science major.

The meats judging contests consists of 10 classes to judge, and then, they must write five sets of reasons. The reason section of the contest is when the students have to explain to the judge why they placed the meats the way they did. When judging meat classes the team must look at quality and yield grade.

When looking for quality the team must look at the marbling and trimness of the meat. Yield grade is looking at how much cattle will produce based on the muscle and fat ratio.

“Getting to look at some high quality carcasses with your best friends is pretty cool,” Maggie Vander Laan, junior agricultural communications major, said.

The team has had many interesting adventures together that have helped them gain lifelong memories. One of those memories includes when the team was on their way to Fort Worth, Texas for a contest. They popped a tire along the highway and later the battery in the vehicle died. They all laugh about it now, but at the time, it was a team effort.

The team competed in Denver and placed ninth in the meat judging competition. They also competed in Fort Worth, Texas and placed seventh. The team scored both individually and as a team.

The team will continue working hard as they will compete in another contest in three weeks.