The Pennsylvania Beef Council participated in the inaugural Best Beef Butcher Contest May 9 at Penn State University’s meat lab in State College, Pennsylvania.

Contestants represented their meat markets and butcher shops with passion and excitement about what they do daily and the important trade they represent. They traveled from the entire northeast region.

Judging criteria included cutting technique, accuracy, yield and presentation. There was also a consumer sales pitch opportunity as well as a fresh beef cuts identification test.

The contest took place at the beginning of the 80th Pennsylvania Association of Meat Processors Conference. All of the contestants were honored at the PAMP awards dinner May 11 at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center. The top three winners were awarded a banner to display in their market as well as a cash prize.

Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding delivered the official “May is Beef Month” proclamation.

“So much of the growth in Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry comes from the expansion of animal agriculture across our state to meet the growing demand here and around the world for meat,” Redding said. “We want to help smaller or new butcher shops to continue to offer local, in-demand services to farmers and consumers across our state, which is why this component of the agriculture industry has received important recognition in the PA Farm Bill,” he said.

Grand champion of the contest was Joseph Malafy of Malafy’s Meat Processing LLC in Red Hook, New York.

The Beef Council donated the beef used during the contest to the State College Food Bank.

The event was sponsored by the Pennsylvania Beef Council and the Beef Checkoff’s Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative through a grant from the Colorado Beef Council.