Iowa 4-H Youth Participate in Meat Judging Contest

November 15, 2023, 8:32 am | Sydney Peterson, Amy Powell

AMES, Iowa – Thirty-eight youth from across Iowa gathered on Nov. 11 to compete in the 4-H meat evaluation contest. Youth teams from O’Brien and Madison counties won the senior and junior divisions 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 for 2024 during the American Royal in Kansas City.

Youth contestants identify 30 different cuts of meat.During a judging workshop before the contest, youth and educators learned more about meat evaluation. Jacob Manternach, meat science extension specialist, and Sherry Olsen, meat science professor, conducted the workshop.

The O’Brien County senior team captured first in the contest and will represent Iowa 4-H at nationals. Champion team members are Brett Evans, Will Stout, BreLee Rasmussen and Bensen Rohwer. Individual awards were given in total placings, retail identification and questions. Izabella Klein of Sioux County won top honors in placings, and Gabe Moermond of O’Brien County won high individual in retail identification.

Five individuals tied for top honors in the questions portion: Brett Evans, O’Brien County; BreLee Rasmussen, O’Brien County; Austin Negus, O’Brien County; Blake Oostenink, Sioux County; and Izabella Klein, Sioux County. The overall individual winners were determined by combining all scores from each class, and winners were first place, Brett Evans, O’Brien County; second place, BreLee Rasmussen, O’Brien County; third place, Izabella Klein, Sioux County; fourth place, Blake Oostenink, Sioux County; and fifth place to Gabe Moermond, O’Brien County.

The second-place team was also from O’Brien County, and team members were Gabe Moermond, Austin Negus, Ethan Schwarz, and Eliot Boardman. Third-place honors went to the mixed team from Sioux and O’Brien counties with team members Izabella Klein, Blake Oostenink, Delanie Roland, O’Brien County; and John Puhrmann, Sioux County. Clinton County was in fourth place with team members Ty Henningsen, Lucas Burken, Hannah Grantz and Kyle Deppe.  

Madison County won top honors in the junior division contest with team members Lucas Radke, Nicholas Brakhane, Evan Moetsch and Lucas Moetsch. Jasper Johnson, O’Brien County, captured the top award in retail identification, Trevor Grundmeier, Hamilton County, was the high individual in placings, and Lucas Radke, Madison County, was the high individual in questions.

Overall high individuals in the junior division were first place, Jasper Johnson, O’Brien County; second place, Hunger Lange, O’Brien County; third place, Lucas Radke, Madison County; fourth place, Nicholas Brakhane, Madison County; and fifth place, Trevor Grundmeier, Hamilton County.

Contest participants identified 30 retail cuts by classifying them as beef, pork or lamb; identifying where on the carcass the cut originated; naming the cut; and evaluating pork carcasses based on muscle, trimness and quality.

Youth also evaluated beef ribs, fresh hams, pork chops and porterhouse steaks based on the amount of edible product and quality. New for this contest was a bacon evaluation class. They defended their placings by answering questions about the classes they evaluated.

“This is the second time we have held the contest in the fall and offered an educational workshop before the contest. Our goal is to increase interest in meat evaluation and expose youth at an earlier age to the many job opportunities that the field of meat science has to offer,” said Amy Powell, ISU Extension and Outreach animal science education specialist.

Shareable photos and captions

  • Youth contestants identify 30 different cuts of meat by identifying species, carcass cuts, cut name and cookery methods.
  • Champion Senior Teams – First, O’Brien County; Second, O’Brien County; Third, Sioux County. Left to Right: Sarah Puhrmann, Will Stout, Bensen Rohwer, Brett Evans, Ethan Schwarz, Eliot Boardman, Austin Negus, Gabe Moermond, Delaney Roland, Izabella Klein, Blake Oostenink and John Puhrmann.
  • Champion Senior Individuals (Left to Right): Brett Evans, BreLee Rasmussen, Izabella Klein, Blake Oostenink, Gabe Moermond, Bensen Rohwer, Austin Negus, Ethan Schwarz, Will Stout and Eliot Boardman.


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