ARMED with a swag of newfound industry experiences, five students have been named as the 2016 Australian National Meat Judging team to travel to America in January.
The team, picked from a field of 10 finalists, includes Macky Lawrence, from Charles Sturt University; Olivia Swan, from Murdoch University; Chloe Gould, from the University of Queensland; and Gabrielle Ryan and Rachel Tulloch, from the University of Sydney.
The 10 finalists, and 10 coach's pick students, were selected for their performance at the Intercollegiate Meat Judging week held in Wagga Wagga from Monday, July 4 to Friday, July 8.
Here almost 170 students from 14 different institutions from Australia, Japan, Korea, Indonesia and the USA participated in industry presentations, interactive workshops, a careers expo and two meat judging competitions.
Last week the 20 Australian tertiary students received an exclusive behind-the-scenes meat industry experience, spending five days in south-east Queensland with the Australian team selectors.
The itinerary included stops at the 4Real Milk robotic dairy in the Scenic Rim, Brisbane- based beef processor and Coles supplier Australian Country Choice, Swickers Bacon Factory at Kingaroy, Oakey Beef Exports, and Kerwee Feedlot at Jondaryan.
Super Butcher and Cabassi & Co Artisan Butchers also opened their doors to the students, rounding out the supply chain tour.
Among the top five selected for the USA tour, University of Sydney Bachelor of Animal Veterinary Bioscience student Rachel Tulloch said the ICMJ program reinforced her drive to work in the meat industry.
"I know as students we worry about what jobs are out there after graduation, but this tour has made me realise that there are jobs out there for us, and that industry wants us,” the 22-year-old said.
"It's not always about who you know, but how much you put yourself out there.”
University of New England Bachelors of Agriculture and Business student Emma McCrabb, from the coach's pick team, said the tour of south-east Queensland "drove home” the connection between industry decisions and eating quality.
"It makes you realise what you're trying to produce when you seeing it (the carcase) hanging up in front of you,” the 20-year-old said.
Australian head coach Demelsa Lollback said being able to judge a carcase was just part of the skills possessed by the 2016 Australian team.
"The whole idea is to retain these students and train them up to be our next industry leaders,” she said.
"As well as being extremely talented, smart kids, they all have a passion for the meat industry and strong career aspirations.
"This year our team also possesses a great cross-section of industry interest, ranging from pork, beef, lamb, processing and livestock production.”
The Australian Intercollegiate Meat Judging Association Inc is a not-for-profit association driven by a goal to expose and encourage students into a career with the meat industry.
The Australian team will depart in early January for a four-week industry tour of the US. While over there the team will compete in three American meat judging competitions. The ICMJ program is sponsored by Meat and Livestock Australia and the Australian Meat Processor Corporation.
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