A STUDENT from Wagga has been rewarded for her impeccable meat judging skills.
Jess McGrath, who is studying at Charles Sturt University (CSU), was selected to compete overseas.
Miss McGrath travelled to the US from December 30 2015 to January 27 this year.
The trip was part of a progression following her success in meat judging competitions.
She initially competed in the Australian Intercollegiate Meat Judging (ICMJ) Competition in Wagga in July last year. Her involvement started when she joined the CSU team.
Now Miss McGrath is passing on skills in a coaching role too. She said the US competition was the National Western, held by the America Meat Science Association in Denver Colorado.
“The competition was a truly unforgettable experience,” she said. Miss McGrath won the lamb and beef judging.
This was backed up by a third place in pork judging.
And the team she was in went on to place third in the teams contest. “I placed 10th in the individual contest,” she said.
“During my trip to the US, we were lucky enough to experience multiple aspects of the production chain allowing for the full paddock to plate experience,” she said.
“Throughout the trip we travelled more than 8000 kilometres and visited eight major universities, processing facilities (lamb, beef and pork), multiple feedlots, retail outlets and ranchers,” Miss McGrath said.
She said the aim of ICMJ is to involve and encourage students for a career within the meat industry.
“I was able to meet contacts both within Australia and Internationally,” she said.
“During my trip I learnt (about) the United States Department of Agriculture grading system and how it differs to the Australia grading system,” she said.
“It was valuable experience to see the difference between the Australian and US production systems and understand what producers are aiming for to maximise profitability and sustainability within both countries and how they compare between each other,” she said.
Miss McGrath is currently in her fourth year of a Bachelor of Animal Science at CSU, Wagga.
“When I graduate I would love to work somewhere within the Meat Industry,” she said.
“I would love to develop a further understanding of multiple aspects and sectors within the industry whether it be within feedlots or abattoirs or within reproduction or nutrition,” she said.