Feb. 17, 2024
Eckles Hall, University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo.

The meat industry is an important component in Missouri agriculture. The Meat Identification and Judging Contest has been developed to encourage 4-H members to develop skills and abilities needed to enter and advance in careers in the meat industry. These activities are designed to encourage the development of broader analytical skills, critical thinking, the use and understanding of appropriate meat terminology, and the evaluation of meat animal products to optimize economic returns not only to them as producers, but to them as consumers as well.

This contest is open to all 4-H’ers. Registration is $25 per youth – no fee for coaches. Youth and coaches should register in 4-H Online between Dec. 28, 2023, and Jan. 28, 2024. Late registration ($40) runs from Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2024. No registrations will be accepted after Feb. 4, 2024.

Scantrons will be used for the 2024 contest. A sample is linked in the resources below.

  • 8:30 a.m. – Registration for the Meats Contest/Workshop (Eckles Hall)
  • 9 a.m. – Welcome and contest overview
  • 9:15 am – Contest begins
  • 11:30 am – Start reasons
  • 12:30 pm – Lunch 
  • 1:30 pm – Awards

Each team will have a set time to participate in the contest. These times will be decided after registration closes.

  1. To provide county/regional 4-H members an opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge and skills learned in 4-H projects through statewide educational events.
  2. To provide 4-H members an opportunity to practice skills in communication, decision-making, and human interaction in a competitive setting.
  3. To qualify individuals or teams as official delegates representing Missouri at regional and/or national events.

Counties are not limited on the number of team(s) or individual(s) entries. Enrollment in an animal science or meat science project is not required. Classes will include both wholesale and retail cuts, including one or more sets of reasons. Identification includes thirty (30) cuts of beef, pork and lamb. To determine the high state senior team, the total score of the three high senior individuals on each team will be the official score. When four members judge, the low scoring member of the state team becomes the alternate member of the state team, but judges with equal rights in the national contest.

Individuals who are on the first place senior division team in a state 4-H contest are not eligible to compete in the same contest again.

  • Senior Teams — Members must be 14 years of age and not have passed their 19th birthday before Jan. 1.
  • Junior Teams — Members must be 8 years of age and not have passed their 14th birthday before Jan. 1.

Classes and scoring

3 classes:Retail cuts150 points

1 class:Carcasses (Beef, pork, or lamb)50 points

2 class:Wholesale cuts100 points

2 classes:Oral reasons100 points

(from any two of the above reasons)

30 retail cuts for identification300 points


The three classes of retail cuts will come from those usually found in meat markets. The criteria for judging will be the same as for carcasses and wholesale cuts (i.e., trimness, quality and muscling).

Retail cuts

Beef retail cut placing/reason classes shall be selected from among the following:

  • Beef Chuck, Arm Roast
  • Beef Rib, Rib Steak, Lip-on
  • Beef Rib, Ribeye Steak
  • Beef Loin, T-Bone/Porterhouse Steak
  • Beef Loin, Top Loin Steak, Boneless
  • Beef Loin, Top Sirloin Steak, Boneless
  • Beef Round, Round Steak (Bone-In or Boneless)

Pork retail cut placing/reason classes shall be selected from among the following:

  • Pork Shoulder, Blade Boston Roast
  • Pork Shoulder, Blade Steak
  • Pork Loin, Blade Chop
  • Pork Loin, Blade Roast
  • Pork Loin, Rib Chop
  • Pork Loin, Loin Chop
  • Pork Ham, Smoked Center Slice

Wholesale/Primal-Subprimal Judging Class list.

Different numbered options are listed because of regional or market availability preferences.

*Preferred choices, if available.

  • Beef Ribs (103/107*/109/112A)
  • Beef Rounds (158*/160)
  • Beef Short Loins, Short-Cut (174*)
  • Beef Strip Loins, Bnls (180)
  • Pork Fresh Hams (401*/401A)
  • Pork Shoulder Boston Butts, Bone-In (406)
  • Pork Loins (410/411/412*)