A steak in education

FFA students win meat evaluation competition and get ready for nationals

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Four Moffat County High School students will represent Colorado at a national meat evaluation competition in October in Louisville, Ky.

The team showed its expertise in meat inspection a week and a half ago at the Future Farmers of America state competition at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

The team of sophomore Kacey Snowden, junior Justin Coupe, sophomore Sarah Kawcak and junior Derrick Thompson took home a state championship in the competition, competing against about 40 other teams from Colorado.

This is only the second year Moffat County High School has had a team in the competition.

The team of four had to identify 40 different meat cuts.

The most any one competitor missed was three.

Team members also took a written test, judged the quality of meat and identified the age of

carcasses.

Coach Rick Murr said he was proud of his students, who had been working since last fall in preparation for the state event.

"This group has put a lot of time in," he said. "I'm very proud and excited for them."

The students have not only made a commitment by attending after-school practices, but also have done a significant amount of reading and studying at home, he said.

Practice has included spending time in local grocery store meat lockers such as Safeway and City Market, studying different

meat cuts.

Snowden said she and her teammates are learning skills they will use for the rest of their lives.

"A lot of people don't realize the importance of FAA," she said. "They don't realize how important it is in our day to day life."

Expert meat inspectors are important from a public health standpoint, Snowden said.

"Without it the chances of disease are much higher," she said.

Her coach agreed.

"It's teaching them life skills in general," Murr said. "And they're learning how the meat industry works."

The team has more work ahead of them between now and the national competition.

"They'll be spending a lot of time in meat lockers looking at meat cuts," he said.

Josh Nichols can be reached at 824-7031 or jnichols@craigdailypress.com.

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