Australian ICMJ team takes out top spot in US meat judging competition

Australian ICMJ team takes out top spot in US meat judging competition

The Australian ICMJ team has been crowned champion team at one of the largest meat judging competitions in the United States.

The National Western Meat Judging competition in Denver, Colorado brings together more than 100 students from 20 universities in the US as well as international teams. It is one of seven major competitions run annually by the American Meat Science Association.

The win is the third time the Australian ICMJ team has taken out the national division title, first winning in 2001 and most recently in 2018.

Led by coaches Molly Greentree and Macky Lawrence, the Australian ICMJ team is made up of Sarah Hamblin, Shania Gough and Holly Johnson from the University of Queensland, Georgie Laurie from the University of New England, and Angus Bartter from Charles Sturt University.

The National Western Meat Judging Competition is a major component of the Australian ICMJ annual study tour of the US meat industry.

As well as taking out the champion team award, three of the five team members also finished in the top 10 overall.

Coach Molly Greentree said the team worked incredibly hard in training ahead of the competition, learning the US scoring system in just a few days.

“The team has soaked up everything they’ve learned so far on our tour of the US industry and it’s fantastic to see them perform so well against such a high calibre of competitors from the US,” she said.

“US meat judging competitions are based on the USDA grading system which is widely recognised throughout America but is quite different to the Australian system.”

The team took out first place in the beef grading class, second in pork judging and second in beef judging.

Individual results saw Sarah Hamblin place equal first in the beef grading class and fourth in the total contest while Angus Bartter took out third place in the total contest after a consistent performance across all classes. (Full list of results below)

The Australian ICMJ team also placed fourth overall at the Southwest Invitational Meat Judging Contest in Lubbock, Texas, earlier in the tour.

The US tour participants were chosen from a field of talented and passionate university students who took part in at the National ICMJ Conference and Competition in Wagga Wagga in July last year.

The ICMJ US red meat industry tour provides an invaluable opportunity for students to get a close-up look at one of the largest red meat processing countries in the world and one of Australia’s major global competitors.

The tour has so far included visits to a range of red meat operations across five states including JBS beef processing plant in Greely, Colorado, Cargill’s Beef Processing plant in Friona, the 100,000 head Five Rivers Feedlot, All American Pet Proteins, and various retail operations.

“This trip has been the most incredible opportunity for a wannabe meat industry leader,” team member Shania Gough said.

“It has given me a globalised perspective on the industry and the industry connections we have made are invaluable.”

The team will wrap up its official tour schedule on Tuesday 23 January, with team members staying on for industry placements in various red meat operations including feedlots, ranches and seedstock production.

ICMJ’s mission is to inspire and develop the next generation of leaders in the global red meat industry and this tour is a key component of our annual program.

ICMJ’s US Tour is supported by foundation partners, Meat & Livestock Australia and Australian Meat Processor Corporation.

National Western Meat Judging Contest – National Division
Australian ICMJ team results:

Beef Grading:
Equal 1st place individual – Sarah Hamblin
6th place individual – Shania Gough
1st place team – Australia

Lamb Judging:
6th place – Angus Bartter
4th place team – Australia

Pork Judging:
4th place individual – Sarah Hamblin
5th place individual – Shania Gough
2nd place team – Australia

Beef Judging:
2nd place team – Australia

Total Beef:
1st place team – Australia

Total Placings:
2nd place individual – Angus Bartter
3rd place team – Australia

Total Questions:
3rd place team – Australia

Alternates Contest:
3rd place individual – Holly Johnson

Total Contest:
3rd place individual – Angus Bartter
4th place individual – Sarah Hamblin
9th place individual – Shania Gough

National Division Champion Team – Australia