Ashland FFA earns sixth at state meat evaluation

Gavin M., Staff Reporter

               Ashland High School’s FFA recently earned sixth place at the State Meat Evaluation and Technology competition. The team led by FFA adviser Todd Fox and Madeline K. (11) the team captain. They competed from the high school this year as the competition was online. 

              The FFA has been competing in this since the ‘80s and has had several victories. The team competes six or seven times a year, judging cuts of beef and grading it on several categories. Ashland’s group of students earned an honorary plaque from sixth place. The top five teams go and compete at a national level against the best meat judgers in the country. 

              Many students have gone through the program and have received jobs in the workforce because of it. Fox said,  “They do it to develop the skills that could get them a butcher job or even a job at the FDA”. This can be an extremely important position, protecting the public from any unhealthy meat, Fox says. They make sure that all cuts of meat are up to the FDA standards and do not contain any dangerous bacteria. 

              The competition was altered this year due to coronavirus, and the team competed online. Madeline K. (11) said about the impact of coronavirus “We had to compete over the internet this year so I feel like we didn’t do as well as I know we could’ve”. 

              The team having to evaluate meat off of pictures instead of actually looking at it obviously has some disadvantages such as not viewing cuts of meat at the preferred angle or not getting as close a look as one would like.