Five teams of Iowa youth won scholarships while participating in the Senior Division of the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) Youth Swine Judging Contest. The contest was held at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines earlier this month.
There were 128 teams represented in the Senior Division of the competition. The top five teams came from Louisa County 4-H, Grinnell High School FFA, Central De Witt High School FFA, and Bellevue Community School District FFA.
A total of 552 students participated in both the Senior and Junior divisions.
“The contest is a learning opportunity that you can’t replicate in the classroom and is hard to find off the farm,” said Cory Van Gilst, IPPA’s producer outreach director. “For young people, this event opens the door to discovering the possibility of making a career in the pork industry. That’s the whole goal of the event, trying to lay the groundwork for the next generation of the pork industry.”
Top Senior Teams
The top team was Louisa County 4-H Livestock 1, earning 735 points. Team members included Will Hoopes, of Letts; and Madeleine Howell, Drew Totemeier, and Gabe Totemeier, all of Columbus Junction. Each receives a $500 scholarship.
Grinnell FFA 2 had 725 points for second place. Team members were: Ireland Sebetka, of Chelsea, and Dominick Clayton, Colton Sieck, and Lexi Spooner, all of Grinnell. Each receives a $250 scholarship.
Central De Witt earned 716 points and third place. Team members were Megan Clark, Grand Mound; Nic Reemtsma, De Witt; and Cole Tobey, Charlotte. Each member earns a $125 scholarship.
Grinnell FFA 1 placed fourth with 713 points and wins $125 scholarships for each team member. They are: Nicolle Donnelly, Kolton Kline, Nina Walton, and Aden Wolfe, all of Grinnell. Donnelly had the highest score in the competition.
Bellevue FFA 1 received fifth place with 709 points. Each receiving $125 are team members Beau Cota, Maverick Duesing, and Grace Hingtgen, all of La Motte; and Hunter Merrick, Bellevue.
Top Junior Teams
The top five junior teams are Benton County 4-H 1 — first place; Jackson County 4-H 1 — second; Chariton Middle School 1 — third; Newton Community School District 3 — fourth; and Buena Vista 4-H Livestock — fifth. Each of the junior teams wins a plaque.
Points were awarded for each of the following activities: tests on meat quality and knowledge of commercial pork production; as well as judging four classes of hogs that required students to test their commercial gilt selection and market hog evaluation skills; score a keep-cull gilt class; and do a live carcass evaluation, which involved examining 10 pigs individually to determine each animal’s weight, loin eye size, and back fat, then comparing and ranking them on carcass value.
The day also included a demonstration of pork carcass fabrication and a seminar about careers in the pork industry.
This is the 13th year for the event, which was canceled in 2021 because of COVID-19.
“It was great to have the judging contest back after taking a year off,” Van Gilst said.
Editor’s note: Photos of winning teams and other participants are available by request.