O'Brien County's Bell-Times-Courier -

State FFA Champion Meats Evaluation Team


September 6, 2018

Left to Right; Tony Sells, Eric Mars, Abby Boardman, Sean Negus

After many hours of preparation throughout the summer, the day finally arrived for the South O'Brien FFA Meats Evaluation Team to put their knowledge to the test. On Saturday, August 25th, the team donned their warm clothes, white frocks and trademark cowboy hardhats, and entered the Iowa State University Meats Laboratory along with 16 other teams from around the state.

Throughout the morning, the team members placed classes of pork, lamb and beef carcasses along with classes of hams, loins and chops; quality and yield graded five beef carcasses; identified twenty-five retail cuts of meats for species, wholesale cut, retail name and cooking method; and completed a problem solving activity involving the calculations of a ground beef formulation problem and beef carcass pricing problem.

The awards ceremony began with the individual placings and awards. The team looked a little nervous when the 10th through 5th place individual's names were announced and none of the South O'Brien team members were called. However, there were soon huge smiles as Tony Sells was announced as the 4th place individual, Abby Boardman 3rd, Eric Mars named Reserve Champion and Sean Negus taking the Champion individual title. South O'Brien FFA Advisor, Eric Kumm, commented "Since we began competing in this career development event back in 1998, there hasn't been a team in the state that has taken the top four individual spots. We've probably come the closest with 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th in 2014 and 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th in 2015, but to sweep the top four is just a great testament to how the members of our chapter put forth a great effort studying each summer." The team sends out a huge thank-you to former meats team member, Emily Mars, for giving of her time this summer to coach the team while Mr. Kumm was gone to summer classes/vacation. The extra time Emily spent with the team definitely made a difference !

In addition, Tony Sells placed 1st in Wholesale/Retail Placings; Eric Mars 1st in Retail Cut ID in which he accomplished a rare feat by perfectly identifying all of the categories for the 25 cuts of meat; and Sean Negus 1st in Problem Solving with a perfect score. The team also took home 1st place honors in four out of the five categories--Wholesale/Retail Placings, Retail ID, Problem Solving, and Carcass Placing.

With the chapter having the top four individuals, there was little suspense for the team when they were announced as State Champions. The team will represent Iowa in the National Meats Evaluation Contest which is part of the National FFA Leadership Conference and Expo in Indianapolis this October.


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