CLIVE, Iowa — A team of FFA members from Southeast Polk High School in Pleasant Hill took top honors in the Iowa Pork Producers Association’s 9th annual Youth Swine Judging Contest at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines on Jan. 26.
Southeast Polk team 4 edged out a Bellevue FFA team to win the senior division of the contest. Nodaway Valley placed third, a Grinnell FFA team took fourth and a team from Washington rounded out the top five.
In the Junior Division, two Benton County 4-H teams placed first and second.
More than 400 4-H and FFA students from 38 Iowa schools formed 112 teams to participate in the contest and attend the Iowa Pork Congress trade show.
“It was exciting to see the increased participation this year and we truly appreciate the support of the schools around the state and their willingness to provide their students with this opportunity to learn more about swine production,” said IPPA Producer Outreach/Federal Policy Director Stephanie Carlson.
Each team in both divisions was required to judge four classes of hogs to sharpen their gilt selection and market hog evaluation skills. The students scored a keep/cull gilt class, did live carcass evaluation, and judged market hog and commercial gilt classes. The students viewed a carcass demonstration and were tested on their commercial pork industry and meat quality knowledge. Points were awarded for each activity.
Each member of the top five Senior Division teams earned scholarships: $750 for first place; $500 for second place; $250 for third place; and $125 for the fourth and fifth place teams. Overall, IPPA awarded $7,000 in scholarships. The Benton County Junior Division teams received plaques from IPPA.
“These kids are our future pork industry producers and leaders and we believe it’s important to provide the students with the educational opportunities they need to be successful,” Carlson said. “With continued growth in the pork industry, there will be strong demand for knowledgeable people.”
Waldo Genetics, Smithfield, Producers Livestock, Eldon C. Stutsman, Inc., Swine Genetics International, Marting Manufacturing/Smidley and the Pork Checkoff all partnered with IPPA for this year’s contest.
— Iowa Pork Producers Association
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