The meat science section in the Department of Animal Sciences opened its doors on September 28, 2017 to other university meat judging teams on their way to their first Collegiate Meat Judging Contest (Eastern) in Wyalusing, PA. Dr. Lyda Garcia and the 2017 Meat Judging Team gathered on September 27th to fabricate beef, pork, and lamb carcasses and set up classes to use for their guests. “I am a big fan of our students/meat judgers serving others. At the same time, they understand what it takes to put one of these together and have a further understanding of judging concepts when setting up classes,” said Dr. Garcia. Teams from Kansas State University, Tarleton State University, and the University of Illinois took advantage of the opportunity to sharpen their meat judging skills.
The coach for the University of Illinois Meat Judging Team is an Animal Sciences alumnus. Brandon Klehm, Class of 2015, is pursuing his MS in Meat Science at Illinois. “I spent four years working with Ron Cramer (Meat Laboratory Manager) in the meat lab. The program here at Ohio State and my experiences in the Meat Lab and on the Meat Judging Team prepared me extremely well for graduate school and serving as a coach. Every time I come back to Ohio State, I’m always impressed by all of the new and dynamic things going on here.”
For the first time, Ohio FFA and 4-H meat judging teams were also invited to take advantage of meat products to practice at the Ohio State Meat Laboratory. For two years, Dr. Garcia has been working with Ohio FFA and Ohio 4-H. For the first time, in February 2017, Ohio 4-H launched their meat judging with four teams competing. “My goal is to make our youth meat judging teams more knowledgeable and competitive overall, especially for the teams competing at the national level. Meat judging is a tremendous opportunity. It is on the job training in contest form,” said Dr. Garcia.
“Dr. Garcia has helped make meat judging a cool, fun, program again,” said Klehm. “I think it’s great she’s reaching out beyond the Department. People in 4-H and FFA from my hometown in East Canton have been telling me about it.”
Dr. Garcia believes we should not lose sight of our youth. Ohio is an agricultural state. According to Dr. Garcia, “If our youth coming from an agricultural background take an interest in agriculture, they are one step ahead of the student who does not have the ag background. We need to take care of our students; we need to encourage them to pursue higher education. We need to let them know that they can continue to work in an area they enjoy.”