There is nothing like a delicious country cured ham. Or what about the taste of barbecue just off the grill? Learn how to cure your own ham and/or bacon, identify different meat retail and wholesale cuts, select a quality meat product and then know how to prepare it for a meal. These hands on activities and experiences will last you a lifetime.
Resources for all levels
ME114 Country Cured Bacon
MU Extension publications
ME115 Country Cured Hams
MU Extension publications
ME116 Meat Evaluation Project
The Pork Checkoff and other commodity groups updated the Guide to Identifying Meat Cuts. It can be ordered by contacting the Pork Checkoff department at 515-223-2621. Meat judging contests resources can be found at Texas A&M's Aggie Meat page.
Policies and procedures
To exhibit your food animal project at the Missouri State Fair, you must be a member of good standing in 4-H. To maintain your good standing, you must comply with the 4-H Food Quality Assurance Policy.
4-H Food Quality Assurance Policy
All 4-H members enrolled in food animal projects (including beef, sheep, swine, dairy cattle, meats, meat and dairy goats, rabbits, and poultry) must complete the appropriate level of Missouri Show Me Quality Assurance (MSMQA) certification to be considered 4-H member in good standing in that project. Additionally, members must complete their MSMQA program by June 1 to participate in the Missouri State Fair. Other county good standing guidelines may also apply. Check with your local 4-H youth specialist for current local guidelines.
State Meats Judging Contest
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.
Show Me Quality Assurance
Online tutorial available
*Please check with your county 4-H professional to see if online completion is an option for your county or if training should be completed in-person.
The Show Me Quality Assurance (SMQA) program is a youth-focused training emphasizing good livestock management practices in the handling and use of animal health products. This program encourages youth involved in livestock projects to take an active role in the health of their livestock. By completing this program, youth demonstrate their commitment to animal production and producing safe and wholesome food. Completion of this program serves to benefit both the livestock and food industries, by reducing the risk of management-based incidents that could destroy consumer confidence in the food supply.
Objective: Increase the knowledge and awareness of Missouri youth about food quality issues related to animal production.
Who should take SMQA: All 4-H members enrolled in food animal projects (including beef, sheep, swine, dairy cattle, meat and dairy goats, rabbits, and poultry) must complete the appropriate level of the Show Me Quality Assurance (SMQA) certification to be considered 4-H member in good standing in that project. Additionally, members must complete their SMQA program by June 1 to participate in the Missouri State Fair. Other county good standing guidelines may also apply. Check with your local 4-H youth specialist for current local guidelines.
The Program: The Show Me Quality Assurance Program consists of two parts. The information presented is different in each part. Most counties alternate which part is presented each year; this is why it is required to take it two consecutive years in a row.
One part covers information on daily care and management; animal handling; farm/animal identification (Premise ID); reading feed labels; withdrawal times; and biosecurity (disease prevention).
The other part provides information on HACCP; animal health products; proper injection locations; carcass quality; and carcass value.
A refresher course is required when the 4-H member turns 14. After that is completed, the 4-H is certified through age 18.
Definition of terms:
- "Qualified to show" means the member has participated in Missouri Show Me quality Assurance training within the current 4-H program year.
- "SMQA Conditional Certified" for youth age 8 to 13 by January 1 of the program year certification is conditional. To obtain the conditional certification status a member age 8 to 13 by January 1 has participated in two consecutive years of training. Once they obtain a conditional status they do not have to take a refresher course until they are 14 by January 1 of the program year. Upon completion of the refresher course they would be SMQA Certified for the remainder of their youth exhibition career in 4-H.
- "SMQA Certified" Youth in 4-H who attend one training after they have turned 14 by January 1 of the program year will be considered SMQA Certified and no further training will be required for the remainder of their 4-H exhibition career.
For more information
Contact your local county Extension office or Dr. Marcia Shannon.
If a demonstration or animal activist activity happens at an event: