"How do you make the process of slaughtering cattle more public friendly?"


This was one of the questions asked of the Crowder College Career Specialist Beef Production team at a national contest in Hershey, Pennsylvania in mid-March.


"How do you make the process of slaughtering cattle more public friendly?"

This was one of the questions asked of the Crowder College Career Specialist Beef Production team at a national contest in Hershey, Pennsylvania in mid-March.

This team, made up of three freshmen agriculture students, Whitney Harrison, Bryce Holloway and Ethan Griffin placed first, second, and third in the junior college state contest. These wins allowed them to compete in Pennsylvania against both junior and four-year college agriculture teams. Their efforts were successful as they are now ranked third in the nation.
As a team, the members found the strengths of each individual. Holloway has a talent for talking his way through questions. Harrison gives short and precise answers to her questions. Griffin gives longer and more detailed answers.

The combination of talents worked well enough to bring the third place honors back to Crowder College.

 Whitney said the national contest is "quite different than a high school FFA beef contest...You have to know a lot more."

"It is like judging on paper," Holloway added.

The competition begins with a 100-question test. The majority of the test was general beef science knowledge, but many questions were on "the management side of beef raising." Some questions dealt with feed conversion, hormones, tool identification, and cattle breeds.
Harrison said her Crowder College classes in animal science, animal reproduction, and feeds and nutrition were most beneficial in the national test.

After taking the written exam, the trio were given the impromptu subject of "Making the Public More Aware of the Beef Industry." They had an allotted time for preparation, then each student gave a solution to the problem. Then there was a question period with three judges asking questions.

One question dealt with grazing on public lands, and asked if ranchers exploited the public lands. The group said they had little knowledge of this subject as most public lands in Southwest Missouri were forests and non-grazing lands.

Then they got the question about a way to make cattle slaughtering more public friendly. Holloway said that educating children popped into his head. He told the judges he would devise a cartoon which explained how cattle were raised by farmers and ranchers. Near the end of the cartoon, the steer would be taken to the processing plant, and then the cartoon would move on to the packages beef steak, avoiding the slaughtering details.

Although these three agriculture students have another year of studies at Crowder College, they have all decided on their degrees. Harrison will get a degree in general agriculture, Holloway in agriculture business, and Griffin in agriculture education.

But regardless of which way they turn for a career, they also have added to their resumes with a third place finish at the National Agricultural Post Secondary Students Organization Competition. And they have the coveted plaque and some big smiles to prove it.