Five teams of Iowa youth won scholarships while participating in the Senior Division of the Iowa Pork Producers Association Youth Swine Judging Contest. The contest was held in conjunction with the 2020 Iowa Pork Congress in Des Moines in late January.
There were 60 teams represented in the senior division of the contest. The top five teams came from Grinnell Community Senior High School FFA, Central De Witt High School FFA; Bellevue Community Schools FFA, and Southeast Polk High School FFA.
Each team in both divisions was required to judge four classes of hogs to sharpen their commercial gilt selection and market hog evaluation skills. They also scored a keep/cull gilt class, did live carcass evaluation, and viewed a carcass demonstration followed by tests on their knowledge of meat quality and the commercial pork industry. Points were awarded for each activity.
The top team was Grinnell FFA 1; they earned 737 points. Team members included Jack Nickel, Makaylin Sellers, Brianna Mouchka, and Nicolle Donnelly, all of Grinnell. Each of these receives a $500 scholarship. Nickel was also noted for having the second highest individual score.
Central De Witt FFA 1 earned 729 points and second place. Team members were Carson Deppe, Emma Sailor, and Kailey Clark, all of De Witt, and Holly Kremer, La Motte. Each member receives a $250 scholarship. Carson Deppe had the highest scorer in the competition.
Bellevue FFA earned third place with 723 points and $125 scholarships for each team member. They are: Nick Deppe, Quinton Schwager, Wade Schwager, and Austin Hager, all of Bellevue.
Central De Witt FFA 2 received fourth place with 712 points. Each team member received $125. Team members were: Cole Tobey, Fayeth Henningsen, Elyce Burzlaff, and Megan Clark, all of De Witt.
The Southeast Polk FFA Team 4 had 711 points for fifth place. Team members were: Ross Cooper, Brayden Hall, Brome Churchill, and Lexi Boord, all of Altoona. Each receives a $125 scholarship.
The top five junior teams are GKO 4-H Club of Dallas County – first; Benton County 4-H Team 3 – second place; Sheridan Team 1 of Poweshiek County – third; Benton County 4-H Team 2 – fourth place, and Hominy Ridge 4-H Team 2 of Jasper County – fifth. Each of the junior teams wins a plaque.
This is the 12th annual judging contest held in conjunction with the Iowa Pork Congress. Students who participated could also attend the Iowa Pork Congress trade show to see current technology and products used in pig farming.
“This is a great learning opportunity for the kids and we strive to provide a truly educational experience,” said Emma Lasco, IPPA education director. “If we can inspire these kids to pursue careers in pork production, we think that is success,” she said. “The pork industry provides a variety of job opportunities and we need to keep bringing knowledgeable, passionate and dedicated young people into the industry.”
Iowa State University Department of Animal Science, Smithfield, Producers Livestock, Smidley, Eldon C. Stutsman, Inc., and the Pork Checkoff all partnered with IPPA for this year’s contest.