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O’Brien County Sweeps Iowa 4-H Youth Meat Judging Contest

Ames, Iowa – Youth teams from O’Brien County won the senior and junior divisions of the 2022 state 4-H meat judging contest recently at the Iowa State University Meat Laboratory.

The ISU animal science department held the contest to determine Iowa’s representative in the National 4-H Contest set for Oct. 18 during the American Royal in Kansas City.

The O’Brien County senior team captured first place in the contest and will represent Iowa 4-H at nationals. Team members are Hudson Oolman, Kyan Kruse, Leo Sells, and Claire Wagner. Individual awards were given in total placings, which is the combination of all four placing classes. The overall individual winners were first place, Hudson Oolman; second place, Leo Sells; third place, Kyan Kruse; and fourth place, Brett Evans.

O’Brien County also took home top honors in the junior division contest with team members Hunter Lange, Jasper Johnson, Will Stout, and BreLee Rasmussen. Individual honors were captured by BreLee Rasmussen in placings and retail identification and Will Stout in questions. Overall individual placings were BreLee Rasmussen in first place; Will Stout, second place; Jasper Johnson, third place; and Hunter Lange, fourth place. Both teams were coached by Eric Kumm.

Contest participants identified 25 retail cuts by classifying them as beef, pork or lamb; identifying where on the carcass the cut originated; naming the cut; and evaluating beef and pork carcasses based on muscle, trimness, and quality.

Youth also evaluated fresh hams and T-bone steaks based on the amount of edible product and quality. They defended their placings by answering questions about the classes they evaluated. An exploratory class was introduced this year on evaluating summer sausage. Teams sampled the product and then ranked it based on taste, texture, and overall appearance. Terry Houser, meat science extension specialist, coordinated the exploratory class.

Amy Powell, ISU Extension and Outreach animal science education specialist says that meat judging is a very practical contest, teaching youth how to identify meat and choose the best cut based on quality, trimness, and muscling. It also teaches decision making, critical thinking, and public speaking skills, according to Powell .

Champion junior division team: Terry Houser, extension meat science specialist, BreLee Rasmussen, Will Stout, Hunter Lange, Jasper Johnson, and Eric Kumm, coach.

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