Oklahoma teens evaluate meat quality 

Some teens go to the movies for fun. Others, the mall. Four from Porter? Meat lockers.


Dennis Lang, Jenna Parnell, Melissa Gaither and Katelyn Acree spent hours evaluating meat quality around the state recently, beefing up for a late-October contest at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, according to the Tulsa World. By the end, they placed eighth nationally against 38 other teams.


For those who thought FFA was only about appraising animals when they're still mooing, that's just a side dish. Need to determine the gender of a carcass? Or judge trimness and age, whether beef, lamb or pork? Or tell prime cut from Optimus Prime? They're your go-to guys and girls.


"It's real world," Porter FFA sponsor Brad Criner told World writer Rod Walton. "It's functional; some contests are not."


Among the national contest challenges were: a written exam about meat (!), hamburger evaluations and carcass pricing. If it all sounds a bit drippy, "this crew here is a little bit blood and guts," their sponsor quipped to the World. "They like to see it all." Why, exactly? Ah, the challenge: "There's nobody else who would do it," Lang said. "So we decided to do it."


If you need help with an animal that's still among the living, at least one member of the foursome might someday be able to help you out there, too. While none of the quartet plans to become a meat inspector, Parnell told the World she wants to be a vet after she graduates from college. Her FFA experience might assist her in the grocery store in the interim.


"You know what is good and bad, and mislabled," she said.


Hmm, wonder if that will go for pets, too?


In the meantime, kudos to the quatro " and, we're still chewing on when, exactly, knowing a carcass's gender would come in handy.

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