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 2019 Iowa Pork Congress in Des Moines in late January.
There were 64 teams represented in the senior division of the contest. Winners came from Bellevue Community Schools FFA, Grinnell High School FFA, Benton County 4-H, Southeast Polk High School FFA, and Ballard Community Schools 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 Bellevue FFA 1; they earned 770 points. Team members included Nick Deppe, Brooklyn Moore, Jeb Schwager and Wade Schwager. Each member receives a $750 scholarship.
Grinnell FFA 1 earned 744 points and second place. Team members receiving $500 scholarships each are: Makaylin Sellers, Jack Nickel, Caden Chrisinson and Nicolle Donnelly.
Benton County 4-H Team 1 earned third place with 718 points and $250 scholarships for each team member. They are: Gabe Hanson, Alex Ludeking, Jacob Ludeking, and Josh Wiley.
The Southeast Polk FFA Team 3 had 712 points. Team members are: Lydia Johnson, Traci Veldhuizen, Wyatt Bailey, and Emma Hay. Each receives a $125 scholarship.
Ballard Community Schools FFA Team 1 earned a total of 710 points for fifth place in the competition. Each team member also receives a $125 scholarship. Members are: Grace Hill, Connor Finch, and Ashley Kahler.
The top five junior teams are Benton County 4-H Junior Team 1 – 1st; Sheridan 4-H Junior Team 1 of Grinnell – 2nd; Benton County 4-H Junior Team 2 – 3rd place; Benton County 4-H Junior Team 3 – 4th; and Sheridan 4-H Junior Team 2 of Grinnell – 5th. Each of the junior teams wins a plaque.
This is the 11th annual judging contest that was held at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. 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., Swine Genetics International and the Pork Checkoff all partnered with IPPA for this year’s contest.