The Munich FFA Chapter attended the 2019 Western National Roundup Meat judging contest in Fort Collins, Colorado, at Colorado State University in conjunction with the Western National Livestock Show in Denver on Saturday, January 12. Each state is allowed to send their top team to compete in this contest. The teams came from Florida to Washington and from Ohio to New Mexico.
Meat judgers have several areas of the meat industry they are tested on. The first thing is that all team members must take a 30 question written test dealing with food safety, nutrition, safe handling and the history of the meat industry. The students are then given information on pricing of many meat products that are available for the use of making ground beef. The students are given the requirements of the ground beef, and then they must select the correct ingredients from the list of ingredients provided to properly formulate a batch of ground beef that is the lowest cost yet meets all of the government and company guidelines.
After completed all of the written materials for the contest the team members must then evaluate and place six classes of meat. A class is where the judges take and place four ex. hams or any of the other classes (pork carcasses, hams, beef ribs, ribeye steaks, pork loins, and beef rounds) on a table and the students must place them from best to worse according to set standards and criteria. After placing the classes the student are then asked a serious of questions that help justify their reasoning for the placing they selected.
The students must both quality and yield grade four beef carcasses according to USDA standards. Using back fat measurements, ribeye sizes, kidney pelvic and heart fat they can determine the yield grade of the carcass for that specific weighted carcass. In quality grading, they must determine the marbling score and the maturity score of the carcass in determining its final quality grade (prime, choice, select, standard, commercial or utility). The final phase of the contest and, possibly the most difficult, is the retail identification portion. The students must be able to identify every retail cut of meat. The contest has 110 different cuts of meat that the students must learn. From those the judges will places 30 random cuts on a table to be identified.
The students have to determine four different things on each cut of meat. First- they must determine which species it is (beef, pork or lamb), second- they must determine which wholesale cut it comes from on that specific animal, third- they must give it the proper name provide by the American Meat Institute, and finally- they must determine the proper method of cookery best used for that specific cut of meat.
This year’s team consisted of Drew McArthur, Caleb Woodrow, Dawson Biby and joining the team was Aaron Klain from Turtle Lake. The team was coached by Devin Volk (member of NDSU meat judging team), Gary Matterns (rancher from Stanley, ND area) and Rick Vannett (Ag Ed Instructor /FFA Advisor from Munich). The team had a successful day finishing 7th overall with a second place ranking in the retail identification portion of the contest.
The team has advanced a long way and has gained a lot of experience and seen what it takes to be the best as they watched seventime National Champion Hondo, Texas, roll to another championship. The Munich Chapter would like to send a huge thank you to all those that helped makes this trip possible- Munich Public Schools, C&L Electric, Munich Commercial Club, Horizon Bank, Jon Haus, Langdon Eagles, Cando Farmers Grain, Community Club, Marvin Heck, First Insurance Agency and the parents of the judgers.