Meat Animal Evaluation Judging Team
The concept of the meat animal evaluation (MAE) program is to continue to enhance the skills of students participating on the livestock and meat judging teams to better understand the economic value of livestock and their carcasses. The MAE is different from other traditional contests because of the unique aspect of individual estimation of yield and quality factors, as well as pricing groups of animals.
The MAE contest has 4 portions, market animal evaluation, breeding animal evaluation, meats evaluation and communications. The contest is essentially a marathon, requiring students to be prepared and focused to survive a multiple day, species and type contest.
The educational experience of the MAEC is unmatched because of the focus given to economic value and EPD’s (in the breeding division). The MAEC is a culmination of meat and livestock judging incorporating value as a key component. Students evaluate market livestock to determine yield and quality factors and then determine individual animal prices, as well as lot prices. Then students view the carcasses derived from those animals to determine meat prices. This allows students to better understand live animal traits as they relate to meat and carcass value. However, probably the most important component is to understand market fluctuations and what animals/meat is the most value during certain seasons and various global events.
Students have a much broader and better understanding of livestock and meat value along with various factors that impact those values. They are better equipped to communicate pricing structures and marketing options; thus, making them more employable or able to succeed in their own production operation.
Pictured Above: 2015 OSU Meat Animal Evaluation Judging Team National Champions
Honors & Recognition
Team PhotosAll of our judging team photos are available online on Flickr.
The Meat Animal Evaluation contest has been, since its conception, specifically designed to stimulate college teaching programs and encourage students to seek more complete understanding of meat animal evaluation – from conception to consumption. This coordinated approach was initiated to assist and encourage students of animal science to be more aware of the relationships and limitations that exist when evaluating breeding and market animals. It also has encouraged students to appreciate the importance of carcass excellence as it relates to production, as well as meat processing, merchandising and consumption.
The basic idea of this approach took root April 21, 1955 in Chicago when the National Livestock and Meat Board, through encouragement by concerned educators, sponsored the first of several clinics to provide an opportunity for animal science students to view market livestock and then see the carcasses after slaughter.
The contest aspect of this endeavor developed when several educators and businessmen of the livestock industry designed an activity that would emphasize all aspects of meat animal evaluation. It was decided that breeding livestock, market livestock and carcasses should be included and that such a program be educational,
stimulating and competitive. They organized the first three held at Rath Packing Company, Waterloo, Iowa in 1964 and 1965 and Farmbest Inc. and Iowa Beef Packers in Denison, Iowa in 1966.
In 1967, the contest moved to Omaha, Nebraska where 117 students from 11 universities competed under the sponsorship of the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben, Safeway Stores, Inc., Union Stock Yards Co. (later known as the Omaha Livestock Market, Inc.), and Wilson & Co., Inc. During the next 12 years, the contest expanded.
In 1976, the Geo. A. Hormel Co. Fremont and Armour Food Company joined in sponsoring this event. In 1990, ConAgra, Inc.
became the major sponsor of this national contest. In the same year the meats contest was moved to the Animal Science Department at the University of Nebraska.
In 1992, a proposal was made by instructors to formulate a communications component to the event. This was in response to the growing demand for improved communications, problem solving and interpersonal skills required of students as they graduate. The instructors also desired to develop a “team work” aspect to the contest. The formulation of this fourth division was approved and conducted on an experimental basis in 1993 and was conducted as a formal part of the competition first in 1994.
Because of changes in sponsorship, a new home, and a new name was given to this contest in 1995. Known as the United National Collegiate Meat Animal Evaluation Contest, the contest was hosted by the United Stockyards in St. Joseph, a subsidiary of the United Livestock Marketing Services. IBP became a major sponsor of the contest. In 1996, in order to reflect the importance of the feeder cattle industry, a feeder calf grading and pricing component was added to the contest with the support of the USDA Livestock Market Reporting Service.
Due to a change in management, the last contest held at the St. Joseph Stockyards was in March of 2003. South Dakota State University agreed to host the event until a permanent location could be secured. SDSU hosted the 2004 and 2005 contests. Oklahoma State University was the host school from 2006 to 2012. Currently 4 schools are rotationally hosting the contest, Texas Tech, Kansas State, Nebraska, and Oklahoma State.
Thus, through continual innovation and revisions, this intercollegiate event remains an impetus for learning, and the “granddaddy” of all intercollegiate judging and evaluation contests worldwide.
"My experience on the 2015 Meat Judging Team provided me tremendous opportunities to travel, develop critical thinking skills and cultivate friendships that will last a lifetime.
"My team had the unique opportunity to represent the United States at the Australian Intercollegiate Meat Judging Contest in Wagga Wagga, Australia, last summer. Traveling thousands of miles with my teammates to learn about the Australian meat industry and compete at their contest was an indescribable experience. Bringing the Roy McDonald Shield back to Stillwater and joining the 2008 team from OSU as ICMJ Champions was an honor. We are proud to be a small part in the storied tradition of judging programs in the Department of Animal Science.”
- Chandler Steele, 2015 OSU Meat Judging Team member
About the Coach
Gretchen Mafi has coached the Meat Animal Evaluation Team since 2010. Under her leadership, the teams have won many national and reserve national championships, including the 2016 Meat Animal Evaluation Reserve National Championship.
“Being a member of a collegiate judging team is an invaluable experience because of the skills gained, like decision making, organization, time management, responsibility, team work and work ethic. In addition, team members gain life-long friends from within their team and around the country, as well as industry contacts for future employment. Collegiate judging contests are highly competitive and require tremendous dedication and desire from participants.”
- Gretchen Mafi, OSU Meat Judging Team coach
We invite you to learn more about our department and the many opportunities available to you. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.
Meat Animal Evaluation Judging Coach
104E Animal Science
Meat Animal Evaluation Judging Coach
109C Animal Science