ICMJ in focus: Rachel Cruickshank and Edwina Kun

The 2017 Intercollegiate Meat Judging (ICMJ) Competition is coming up next month, with WAFarmers once again supporting the contest through the sponsorship of the Murdoch University ICMJ team.

Teammate Rachel Cruickshank (21), who is studying for a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science and Animal Health with a minor in Applied Animal Production, said she did not have much interest in agriculture or livestock while growing up, despite being raised on a farm.

“I didn’t really have much idea of what I wanted to do for a career,” Ms Cruickshank said.

“I started Animal Science because I have always loved animals and thought this might be a good course.

“The exposure to the industry and the experience I was able to gain from practicals and talks with people in the industry really excited me about agriculture; so many people were so excited about their work and it really translates into enthusiasm about the industry for me too.

Ms Cruickshank said she applied for a position on the Murdoch ICMJ team to learn more about the meat and the industry, and to understand practical approaches to the industry.

“I look forward to gaining a more practical understanding of what makes a good piece of meat,” she said.

“We learn a lot of theory but getting a lot of exposure to a more practical environment and applying the theory has been extremely beneficial for me in understanding meat science and the industry.

“I also look forward to meeting new people in the industry that are also enthusiastic, gaining new skills, learning more from other people, seeing what is new and the possible opportunities in the future, and hopefully getting a job in the end.”

Hong Kong international student Edwina Kun (25) had only seen country living on television or the internet before starting her degree.

“At the beginning of my degree, I still didn’t entirely understand the study of Animal Science; that is, until I attended some of the farm practicals organised by Murdoch University,” Ms Kun explained.

“That’s when I developed a love for the livestock industry, especially when you see the wonderful animals and how they are treated better than 90 per cent of the ones we see on social media.”

Ms Kun said she would like to learn as much as possible about consumer demands of meat cuts and the red meat supply chains throughout the competition.

“Meat is a never-ending production and it is always in demand,” she said.

“I find it very interesting how different breeds of cow produce different qualities meat, like wagyu beef which is a delicacy in every part of the world because of its supreme marbling.

“I want to have a deeper understanding of the livestock industry and to understand the relationship between producing a good quality carcase through nutrition, and farm management.

“Using my studies, I want to be able to create ways to help farmers to improve the health of their animals with better feed and management, so they can increase their productivity and profit.

“It is a privilege to be able to have this experience and have an insight on how meat processing works.”

The Murdoch team, comprising of 10 students, will travel to Wagga Wagga in early July to represent their university, and will gain practical experience in the evaluation of carcasses, primals and retail cuts.

WAFarmers is sponsoring the Murdoch University ICMJ team alongside Harvey Beef, Linley Valley Pork, The Royal Agricultural Society of WA and the Murdoch University Veterinary Trust.

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