As the 2015 recipient of Angus Australia’s University of Illinois Scholarship, Ellen Simpson from Braidwood spent six months abroad representing Australia and the beef industry.
Flying to the US in early January, Ellen spent four months studying and livestock judging before travelling for eight weeks.
Ellen said “I lived in a Sorority House and attended classes alongside 40,000 other students. Classes included advanced genetics, ruminant reproduction and nutrition and meat science. In addition, I was spending 18 hours per week training for the judging teams. The University of Illinois has an excellent reputation as an accomplished judging team, and I was enormously lucky to join a talented group of students.
Ellen travelled over 7000km to competitions in South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri, Nebraska, Indiana and Texas. The team flew to Texas for the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo and spent a week visiting cattle studs, particularly Brahmans.
Purdue University in Indiana hosted the All East Competition and the University Of Illinois won the High Point Score Overall.
“I was stoked to place individually too, and in a field of 200 I placed 6th in sheep judging, 7th in cattle and 9th overall” said Ellen.
Lincoln, Nebraska hosted the National Meat Animal Evaluation Contest and was the final competition of the semester. It involved a marathon 4-day competition assessing the culmination of a semester’s learning.
“Of the 19 teams competing, we were thrilled to place fourth overall. In addition to cattle, I (very quickly!) learnt to judge pigs, sheep and goats and the carcasses of each species. Competitions are far more thorough and comprehensive than those here in Australia, covering breeding animal evaluation, livestock judging and carcass ranking, pricing and grading” she said.
“The University of Illinois is in the city of Champaign-Urbana, about 2 hours south of Chicago. It’s predominantly corn and soybean growing country and as such, cattle are all finished on grain. I loved being based in the rural mid-west, but enjoyed it’s proximity to larger centres (and airports!). I spent Spring Break in New York City and during my travels I covered 24 beautiful states. I learnt more than I thought possible about livestock assessment, meat judging and the beef industry on a global level. Thank you to Angus Australia for the opportunity to take part in such an enriching and incredible program.
You can read more on Ellen’s trip at
www.alongwayfrombraidwood.wordpress.com where she kept a blog for Angus Australia.
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