ARDMORE, Okla. — The Noble Research Institute announced the winners of the 2017-2018 Junior Beef Excellence Program during a special awards program on April 9, 2018, at Southern Tech in Ardmore, Oklahoma.
Forty-one students entered 56 steers in this year's event, which highlights the carcass merit of steers at junior livestock shows in 12 south-central Oklahoma counties. The top 10 entries were awarded a total of $9,650 as part of the annual contest.
Alli Willis, Turner FFA, entered this year's champion steer. As the first-place finisher, Willis earned $2,000 and a custom jacket. The second through 10th place winners are:
- Second place, Maddi Willis, Greenville 4-H, $1,500
- Third place, Rance Howard, Ringling 4-H, $1,250
- Fourth Place, Racelyn Gemmell, Wilson FFA, $1,000
- Fifth Place, Kage Collins, Tishomingo 4-H, $900
- Sixth place, Braden Jackson, Ringling FFA, $800
- Seventh place, Kristen Lovett, Tishomingo FFA, $700
- Eighth place, Daniel Prentice, Tishomingo FFA, $600
- Ninth place, Sydney McGowen, Wayne FFA, $500
- Tenth place, Natalie Keesee, Elmore City-Pernell FFA, $400
"The Junior Beef Excellence Program strives to reward and encourage production of superior beef cattle, while providing our future ranchers a glimpse into the commercial aspects of the industry," said Austin Miles, program coordinator. "The students put a lot of hard work and good management into their steer projects this year, and it paid off. Many of the cattle produced very desirable carcasses."
FFA and 4-H students enter their show steers in the carcass contest after their show season has concluded. The steers are individually valued on a marketing grid, meaning they are sold on their own carcass merit instead of on the expected average of the group. Miles said the average total price for a contest steer was $1,680.
This is the 23rd year of the Junior Beef Excellence Program and the fourth year of the voluntary record book and interview program, which is divided into two divisions: junior and senior. The junior division is seventh through ninth grade, and the senior division is 10th through 12th grade. Participants in fourth through sixth grade are encouraged to participate but do not compete for prize money.
The junior division winners are:
- First place, Parker Garrett, Dickson FFA
- Second place, Kade McGowen, Wayne FFA
- Third place, Merideth Behrens, Colbert FFA
- The senior division winners are:
- First place, Krista Carroll, Tishomingo FFA
- Second place, Braiden Poston, Bray-Doyle FFA
- Third place, Sydney McGowen, Wayne FFA
"The participants in the Noble Research Institute's Junior Beef Excellence Program are learning what it takes to produce quality beef for today's consumers," said Hugh Aljoe, director of producer relations. "The students' efforts, even on this scale, are important and will contribute to the United States' future efforts to provide safe, healthy and affordable food for consumers locally, nationally and even internationally."
For additional information about next year's program, visit www.noble.org/education/junior-beef or contact Austin Miles at 580-224-6475.