Decision-making skills learned at a young age play a vital role in meeting the challenges that life offers. The University of Nevada, Reno’ s Wolf Pack Meats hosted the Annual Nevada FFA Convention’s “Meats Evaluation and Technology Career Development Event” that provided 48 young people an opportunity to establish a solid foundation for cultivating and practicing these skills.
This year’s honors go to the oldest FFA chapter in the state of Nevada, Pahranagat Valley, in Alamo, Nevada. Wes Wilson, Pahranagat Valley FFA advisor, said “I am very proud of how our students preformed”. Mr. Wilson has spent the past four years insuring that his students are prepared for life’s challenges through agricultural education.
Meats team coach Mike Ray is ecstatic that his team will be going to National FFA conference this October in Indianapolis, Indiana. “The team has been preparing for about two years and that hard work has paid off”, said the coach.
“This year’s individual winner Shota Ray, also from Pahranagat Valley, has been the driving force for the past two years”, said Wilson. “Shota has encouraged and pushed his team to study hard and to take this opportunity to shine”, continued Wilson.
The concept of the meat evaluation program is to train individuals to distinguish differences in relative value of various meat cuts, explained Wolf Pack Meat’s Mike Holcomb. “The beneficial value of involvement goes much further than determining the compositional and quality differences of carcasses”, said Holcomb.
“Students involved with the meat evaluation program develop life skills that they utilize regardless of their occupation later in life”, said Holcomb. Evaluation team members must make rapid, logical decisions and defend their decisions via written reasons. Therefore, students improve their ability for critical thinking and accurate communication.
In addition, invited judge Ken Dias of UC Davis stated that “students become organized and self-disciplined, learn to accept criticism, develop self-confidence and become leaders.” Holcomb agreed with Dias, in that, in many cases, success in meat judging competition translates to employment opportunities, internships and scholarships.
Many alumni attribute their successes in life to their experiences on the meat evaluation team. Dr. Barry Perryman (UNR Range Scientist) said that in his experience the relationships developed among team members and coaches helps students better interact with others and that these bonds are cherished for a lifetime.
For more information about FFA and Meat Judging, click here. To visit the Wolf Pack Meats’ web site click here