Texas Tech University

Meat Judging Coach Earns American Meat Science Association Honor

George Watson

June 17, 2016

Mark Miller will be recognized at the AMSA conference in San Angelo.

Mark Miller
Mark Miller

In sports parlance, Mark Miller is the Bill Belichick of meat judging. His teams win. A lot.

That tradition of success for the Texas Tech University San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo Distinguished Chair in meat science and professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences will be recognized later this month when Miller is awarded the 2016 Intercollegiate Meat Judging Meritorious Service Award by the American Meat Science Association (AMSA).

Sponsored by the Food Safety Net Services and Agri-West International, the award recognizes effort and success on two separate fronts in meat science – coaching winning judging teams while also conducting noteworthy research. He will be presented the award at the AMSA's 69th Reciprocal Meat Conference June 21 in San Angelo.

“I am very honored and humbled by the selection of this most prestigious award from the American Meat Science Association,” Miller said. “I am very thankful for all of the support of the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo and all of the coaches, students, judges and their families, industry, faculty, staff and administration who have helped to make this award possible for the Texas Tech family.”


Miller, who earned his bachelor's and master's degrees at Texas Tech and was a member of the Texas Tech Meat Judging Team as a student, has taught and coached at Texas Tech since 1990. In that time, he has coached 11 national championship teams at Texas Tech and has sent 110 former students to coach multiple judging teams at the 4-H, Future Farmers of America (FFA), Division A or Senior Division levels.

Five of his former students have coached 10 or more meat judging teams – Gretchen Mafi (Angelo State University and Oklahoma State University), Dale Woerner (Colorado State University), Keith Underwood (South Dakota State University), Clint Alexander (Garden City Community College) and Tim Tatsch (Hondo High School FFA).

“Through meat judging, Dr. Miller has positively impacted the lives of many students over the years,” said Michael Orth, dean of the Department of Animal and Food Sciences. “The experiential learning and development that takes place while being on a team are hard to replicate in a classroom. What has been the most impressive to me is meeting many of his former students and seeing not only how successful they have become in their careers but also their exemplary character.”


But Miller's reach doesn't stop at meat judging. Through his research into muscle biology and food safety, Miller has played a key role in helping underdeveloped areas of the world deal with hunger and food supply.

Miller and other researchers have ongoing studies in several Latin American countries to improve the safety of meat being imported into the United States while also conducting research through carcass data, food safety samples and consumer studies in Australia, New Zealand, Poland, France, Japan and Korea.

To date, Miller has conducted or assisted with research projects totaling more than $36 million resulting in more than 200 referred journal articles, 15 books or book chapters, 320 technical articles, 342 abstracts and two U.S. patents.