FAPC launches Meat Mastery Program

(Photo by Kirsten Hollansworth.)

Oklahoma State University’s Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center recently hosted the first Meat Mastery Program. Organized in collaboration with Osage Nation, this hands-on program was designed to educate participants on various aspects of multi-species meat harvesting and value-added meat product processing.

Ravi Jadeja, associate professor and principal project investigator, said there is a growing demand for trained meat industry professionals to ensure a safe and quality meat supply in the nation.

“Several factors contribute to the increased workforce demand in food and agricultural products processing,” Jadeja said. “Food production challenges include decentralization, demand for local meats, food safety and food security. To combat the critical shortage of meat industry workforce, FAPC developed a hands-on training to train the meat industry workforce.”

Before the development of the training, FAPC investigated several teaching avenues, such as classroom-style workshops and videos. But direct industry engagement is critical for the meat industry workforce.

“The project’s goal is to leverage OSU’s existing relations with two-year colleges and meat industry partners to prepare the next generation of the meat industry workforce,” Jadeja said. “For the next three years, a cohort of 60 students will receive hands-on meat processing training in federally inspected meat processing facilities located in OSU and the Osage Nation.”

The project was funded through a USDA-NIFA workforce training grant.