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Penn State's Poultry Judging Team Places Second in National Contest

Posted: November 14, 2014

The Penn State Department of Animal Science's poultry judging team captured second place overall at the 49th annual National Collegiate Poultry Judging held in Fayetteville, Arkansas last week, building on a strong winning tradition.

Isaac Haagen of Howard was high individual overall, the second time he has been high individual in a national contest. In 2012 he was high individual in the national dairy judging contest in Madison, WI. In the poultry judging contest, he was fifth in Breed Selection and Carcass Quality and eighth in Egg Production and Quality. Isaac had an exceptional second day of competition and only dropped 23 total points out of a possible 500 points in the product grading classes to bring home the individual championship.

Hannah Misner, Waynesboro, was sixth overall and seventh in Breed Selection and Carcass Quality. Sarabeth Royer, Elizabethtown, was ninth overall and second in Egg Production and Quality. Lindsay Royer, Elizabethtown, rounded out the strong Penn State team which was trained and coached by Phillip Clauer, senior instructor in poultry science.

The team's very strong placings included first in the Egg Production and Quality division and second in the Breed Selection and Carcass Quality division.

Dr. Terry Etherton, Head of the Department of Animal Science, said, "I congratulate the team for their outstanding performance on the national level and Isaac for his personal success. The achievement of our Penn State Poultry Judging Team demonstrates our students' commitment to excellence and willingness to work with diligence. It is also a tribute to the faculty who helped them to prepare for the contest."

Clauer said, "We are extremely proud of this team and their success nationally. It is very gratifying to receive national recognition for the outstanding program we have built, and for our exceptional students. We strive to teach concepts that can be applied to professional work in the poultry industry." He noted that the team has not placed lower than fourth since he started coaching PSU teams in 2004 for this national contest.

Students are selected for the team by enrolling in a 15-week poultry science course and competing for a spot during the spring semester. The team then completes a rigorous nine week training program to prepare for the fall contest.

Seven universities participated, including Texas A & M University which won the contest. The University of Arkansas was third, North Carolina State University was fourth and Louisiana State University was fifth. Mississippi State University and Ohio State University also participated.

The Egg Production division includes seven classes: ranking two classes of five production hens for past production traits, two classes of five Pullets for future production traits and grading three 25 egg classes of exterior quality, interior candled and broken-out.

In the Breed Selection division, there are eight classes: ranking a male and female eight-week-old broiler class, a male and female class of 24-week-old broiler breeders, a male and female class of turkey breeders and grading two classes of 25 ready-to-cook carcasses for USDA grade standards.

In these classes, contestants must demonstrate their ability to select the breeders that will produce the most eggs and the offspring that will produce the meatiest carcass most efficiently. Students also are judged on how well they have mastered U.S. Department of Agriculture rules and regulations governing the grading of eggs and poultry carcasses.

The Poultry Judging Team received partial funding from the Office for Undergraduate Education "Student Activities fund" to enable participation in this event.