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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Aggie Poultry Judging Team claims 16th national title

Poultry+judging
Photo by Provided
Poultry judging

The Texas A&M Poultry Judging Team flew to victory at the National Collegiate Poultry Judging Contest at the University of Arkansas on Nov. 6.
The poultry judging team competes in one national competition in the fall and another in the spring semester. It consists of five team members selected from the top students in the poultry judging class. Head coach Craig Coufal, associate professor and extension specialist for the Department of Poultry Science, said the fast-paced competitions involves two phases — evaluating characteristics of live birds and grading eggs and poultry carcasses according to USDA standards.
Coufal said although many of the team members are poultry science majors or students who competed in poultry judging in high school, there are no requirements for the team.
“They don’t have to be poultry science majors,” Coufal said. “It’s open for anyone who wants to try out. Whoever is the best makes the team, regardless of their major.”
Cougal said the three-credit hour poultry judging class teaches students how to evaluate poultry birds according to USDA standards for the competition.
“Each day we will set up examples and it will be like a miniature contest every day,” Coufal said. “They will turn in their scores and whoever scores the best over eight or nine weeks, we will select for the team, and then we do it all over again the next semester for the next competition.”
Poultry science sophomore Mikalah Collins said being on the team has been an exciting experience.
“We love to represent Texas A&M — making other people proud and being a part of something made it more than just a club,” Collins said. “The coaches gave us a lot of confidence and that’s what made it really fun for us.”
Collins said the team’s win on Nov. 6 was an especially important accomplishment after semesters of dedication.
“This is my third semester taking the class and last semester we didn’t get first, so it felt really good after three semesters of hard work to win,” Collins said.
Daniel DeLeon, current assistant coach and previous competitor for the team, helps the students develop their skills in the class. DeLeon said he is grateful for being a coach because of everything the position has taught him.
“I have learned patience as being a coach, quite a bit,” DeLeon said. “I feel like part of the reason I want to be a professor is because as a part of this class being able to teach others and pass on my knowledge has been really beneficial to me.”
Accounting sophomore Abigail Knox said being a part of the team has taught her many important skills which she has applied beyond the class and the competitions.
“I think that this team has a lot of benefits for me even though I’m not a part of the poultry industry,” Knox said. “When I’m taking a test, I’ve learned that I have to have confidence in myself and be able to think on my feet and use those elements to make a decision.”
Knox said she has learned a lot about the values of teamwork as part of the group.
“Being a part of a team is another good factor that this team has brought to me,” Knox said. “You can lean on each other through bad times and good times and you can learn from each other.”
Assistant coach Jacob Leopold said he was proud of the team’s success at the national competition.
“It was an honor to represent Texas A&M,” Leopold said. “I was very proud of the team for their hard work and their accomplishments.”

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