Meat Judging back on the menu in the Beef Capital

Meat Judging back on the menu in the Beef Capital

Covid-safe plans are now in place to enable the Intercollegiate Meat Judging (ICMJ) Northern Conference and Competition to go ahead in the Beef Capital of Rockhampton in 2021.

After the disappointment of Covid-19 forcing the cancellation of the 2020 event, arrangements are now in place for the second running of the event to be hosted by major sponsors CQUniversity and Teys Australia from April 7 to 10 next year.

The conference is designed to enhance the training of red meat industry participants working in Northern Australia and is open to students at universities and vocational training organisations, as well as agribusiness staff for professional development. ICMJ Northern Conference event coordinator Ethan Mooney, of Teys Australia, said last year’s cancellation was bitterly disappointing given the success of the inaugural 2019 event, which was attended by more than 80 people. “There was such strong interest in the event and support for it to continue that the conference and training program will now be expanded by an extra day in 2021 to include more activities and accommodate more participants,” Mr Mooney said.

“The purpose of the conference and meat judging competition is to build the pool of intelligent young meat industry representatives through a competitive learning environment. “ICMJ has continued to support the industry through 2020 by delivering webinars and online training, which have been incredibly popular, but there is nothing like coming together face to face with your peers to learn and compete together plus build important industry networks. “It will be hugely exciting to bring the industry together again at the 2021 ICMJ Northern Conference. It’s a fantastic opportunity for agriculture students and professionals to gain new skills, as well as network with potential employers and future industry colleagues.”

Intercollegiate meat judging was established in 1927 by meat science professors in the United States and has since grown to encompass major events in agricultural education calendars around the world, including Australia where a competition was first held in 1990. The Australian ICMJ program exposes students to the fundamentals of meat quality, carcase specifications required in today’s market, the requirements of the modern consumer and the role of new technologies in meeting those needs. Platinum sponsors include Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) and the Australian Meat Processing Corporation (AMPC).

CQUniversity agriculture spokesman Michael Thomson said cementing ICMJ as an annual event on the calendar would enhance Rockhampton’s reputation as the Beef Capital and grow its role as the northern beef industry’s prime location for educating future leaders.  “Hosting ICMJ is a significant investment by CQUniversity in growing the capacity of the local meat processing sector, providing a recruitment pipeline to retain local graduates and attract skilled graduates to the region,” Mr Thomson said.

As well as the training workshops and the meat judging competition, the program will feature a careers expo featuring Australia’s major meat processing companies, a number of the large vertically integrated beef supply chains, and industry service providers.