Thorsby freshmen win state meat evaluation competition - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Thorsby freshmen win state meat evaluation competition

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A team of four Thorsby High School freshmen won the state championship in Meats Evaluation and Technology. Source: WBRC video A team of four Thorsby High School freshmen won the state championship in Meats Evaluation and Technology. Source: WBRC video
The Thorsby team will compete against 52 other teams in October for the national competition. Source: WBRC video The Thorsby team will compete against 52 other teams in October for the national competition. Source: WBRC video
CHILTON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) -

It's not often you can pull an education story out of a meat cooler, but in Chilton County it's part of a Career Tech program.

In fact, Thorsby High School can now boast having the state champions in Meats Evaluation and Technology.

The four member team is made up of freshman who took the competition by storm.

"We went to the Auburn University meat lab and we had the state competition down there and I think we competed against 20 other teams and this was our first time doing it," Cody Lucas said.

In late October, the Thorsby team will take on 52 teams representing all 50 states and Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands for the national competition in Kentucky.

They practice for hours on quality grading sides of beef at Reeds Meat Processing and through computer programs.

Brian Lucas is the Career Tech teacher who is testing their skills that not only include a keen eye, but a lengthy math formula where they plug in the measurements of back fat, the size of the rib eye, and weight of the beef, among other factors.

Jarrett Posey gave another tip on selecting good beef.

"To tell the age you look at the ribs and on the ends, it's like this thing we call a button and if it's real white that means it's real young, and if you can't even see the button that means it's really old," Posey explained.

"A is the best, of course, and E is the worst. You grade them select, prime, choice, utility. Utility is really bad," Aniston Bolding said.

Aniston, the only girl in the group, and said she got her interest from years in 4-H, as well as from her father being a veterinarian.

Lucas says his intent is to spark interest early and keep them for a lifetime. He says the future of the industry depends on it.

"The average age of a farmer is 56. We lose roughly two acres of farm land every day to development and we depend on one percent of our population to feed us that are actually full time farmers," Lucas said.

"You take the U.S., there is only 175 farms that produce 75 percent of our food. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that's not good," he added.

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