Portal Middle High School’s National FFA Organization Chapter competed in the Area IV Meats Evaluation Career Development Event (CDE) at Toombs County High School in September, where both the Junior and Senior level teams won their respective events and will advance to state for the sixth straight year.
“I can’t remember the last time we didn’t do well at area competition, but the competition at state is always tough,” said Dr. Tom Marshall, PMHS’s FFA adviser and instructor for its agricultural courses within the school’s Career Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) program. “There will be many really good teams there.”
PMHS’s Senior Meats Evaluation Team for grades 10-12 includes AJ Barnes, Brooks Sharpe and James Jackson. The Junior team for grades 6-9 includes Mackenzie Miller, Katie Fondren and Katelyn Hudson. The Senior team competed against three schools at Area IV competition: Screven, South Effingham and Jefferson County. The Junior team competed against 10 schools from Screven, Effingham, Washington, Jenkins, Burke and McDuffie counties.
The Senior team won first place on the strength of its overall team score of 774 in eight different tasks, plus Barnes, Sharpe and Jackson posted the first, third and fifth place top individual scores respectively against 12 individual competitors. Barnes received the High Individual Award.
The Junior team had an overall team score of 658, and Mackenzie Miller achieved the second highest individual score out of 27 competitors.
The National FFA Meats Technology and Evaluation CDE, at the area, state and national level, is a competitive event that helps students develop the skills needed for careers in the meat animal industry. Students complete three different rotations, and they must learn over 100 cuts of meat before the contest.
During the event, members evaluate beef carcasses for quality and yield grade, identify various meat cuts and place carcasses, identify wholesale and/or retail cuts, take a knowledge test of their skills and competencies in evaluating and identifying meat carcasses and products, compete in a merchandising event, and solve a meat formulation problem.
Teams who win at the state level earn the privilege of representing their state at the National FFA Convention & Expo. The National FFA Meats Technology and Evaluation CDE is sponsored by Cargill Meat Solutions, Hormel Foods Corporation, Kraft Foods and Tyson Foods Inc. as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.
In 2012 Portal FFA’s Meats Evaluation Team of Josie Barnes, Kimberly Phillips, Kyle Phillips and Brantley Spence won the Area IV and Georgia Meats Evaluation CDEs and advanced to nationals held during the 86th annual National FFA Convention at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. The team competed against 43 teams and 159 individuals and won silver emblems in both team and individual competition. This year’s Junior and Senior teams will head to Athens on Nov. 11 for the 2017 Georgia FFA Meats Evaluation & Technology CDE held in the Meat Science Lab of the Edgar L. Rhodes Center for Animal and Dairy Science at the University of Georgia.