High school FFA students had no beef with the judges.

The Santa Maria High School Beef group’s steers earned the Best Carcass, a gold seal and the Third Best Carcass for efforts at the Santa Barbara County Fair. The FFAers recently received the recognition during a banquet for the Santa Barbara County Fair Carcass Competition.

The 69 steers in the competition were judged for meat quality, yield grade, the size of the rib eye and other criteria. SMHS entered six steers in the contest, five of which earned Carcass of Merit awards. The Angus-Maine Anjou Cross steers were fed Kruse Grain and Milling Beef Grower/Finisher.

Carina Fulgencio, who won first place in the carcass competition, proved she is a natural at raising steers.

“Raising a steer for the first time was an amazing experience,” the 11th-grader said. “It taught me that hard work and dedication can pay off.”

Eleventh-grader Carla Fulgencio described her market meat project as an “exciting challenge.”

“It was difficult, yet fun in many ways,”said Fulgencio, who received third place. “Having to control a thousand pound animal was not easy. However, the time I put into it paid off in the end.”

Beef Team adviser Melissa Flory-Guerra said there are many variables that go into producing the best beef.

“One is genetics, some animals have more muscle and lay down their fat differently,” she said. “Another is your feed and how you feed.”

The girls are looking forward to getting another steer within the next month to try not only to win the carcass competition, but also Champion Steer at the fair.

— Kenny Klein is a media affairs coordinator for the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District.