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Penn State's Poultry Judging Team Wins National Honors

Posted: November 14, 2012

The poultry judging team placed second overall in national competition in Arkansas, just eight points out of first place.
Penn State poultry judging team - Seated, Thomas Edwards and Sarah Nafziger; Standing, from left, Coach Phillip Clauer, Jared McIntire and Stephen Linde.

Penn State poultry judging team - Seated, Thomas Edwards and Sarah Nafziger; Standing, from left, Coach Phillip Clauer, Jared McIntire and Stephen Linde.

Penn State Department of Animal Science's poultry judging team placed second overall at the 47th Annual National Collegiate Poultry Judging held in Fayetteville, AK Nov. 4-6.

This is the highest scoring team Penn State has ever had in the contest, placing just eight points behind the first place team, Texas A & M, and having 4206 out of 4500 possible points. This was the second best finish since the team won the contest in 2005. Ten teams competed.

Team members were Thomas Edwards, New Holland; Stephen Linde, Kirkwood; Jared McIntire, Chambersburg; and Sarah Nafziger, Montgomery County. Overall, Edwards placed second, Linde tied for 4th, and McIntire tied for seventh. The team was coached by Phillip Clauer, senior instructor in poultry science, with assistance of Ashley Collins, research technician and a member of the 2007 Penn State poultry team.

The team captured first place in the Egg Production and Quality division, with Edward placing first individually and Nafziger placing third.

They were second in the Breed Selection and Carcass Quality division, with Linde 4th, McIntire, 6th and Edwards 8th as individuals.

Dr. Terry Etherton, Head of the Department of Animal Science, said, "This is an outstanding accomplishment for the team, and is a well-deserved recognition of their dedication and hard work. I congratulate the team and the faculty who prepared them so well."

Clauer added, "The concepts we teach are not just for the contest, but are ones that students can apply to life and to the industry when they graduate. We have built a very strong poultry judging program at Penn State and haven't placed lower than fourth at this contest in the last ten years. This achievement is a strong affirmation of the time and work commitment the students make to attain success."

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.          

Other teams in the contest were Louisiana State University (third), Mississippi State University, North Carolina State University, University of Arkansas (fifth), University of Wisconsin River Falls, West Virginia University, University of Georgia and Kansas State University (fourth).

The Egg Production division includes seven classes: ranking two classes of production hens for past production traits, two classes of 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 layers, a male and female class of turkey breeders and grading two classes of 25 ready-to-cook carcasses to USDA grade standards.

In these classes competitors 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. Contestants 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.