NMPAN launches new hybrid learning short course for meat processors

A New Meat School Coming to a Town or Computer Near You!

Are you interested in learning more about production, processing and selling high quality meat to diverse market channels? Would you like new ways to manage risk in your livestock business and improve your profitability? If the answers are yes, then you’ll want to check out the Western Meat School.

The Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network (NMPAN), an Extension program housed at Oregon State University, is excited to announce this new hybrid learning short course for meat producers and processors. This is a collaborative effort of NMPAN, Montana State University, University of Wyoming, Colorado State University, and Mesalands Community College.

Funded by Western Extension Risk Management Education grants and the Globetrotter Foundation, the Western Meat School is a modern, accessible, affordable, and time-efficient way for farmers and ranchers to learn the most practical aspects of producing and marketing meat while deepening their understanding of the full niche meat supply chain. The six-week course is modestly priced and is suitable for start-ups & seasoned producers. You can attend classes at one of 13 sites in Oregon, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico, or from your own home computer.

All speakers will be beaming in via the Zoom webinar platform. Classes cover marketing, production, and processing topics – all critical for direct marketing high-quality meat. Classes will also include a live beef animal evaluation and yield analysis demonstration with Nathan Parker of the OSU Clark Meat Science Center and similar “hoof to rail” demonstrations on a pig and lamb carcass at the UWyo Meat Lab. Participants will receive a copy of the book “The New Livestock Farmer: The Business of Raising and Selling Ethical Meat,” written by project lead Rebecca Thistlethwaite. They will also gain access to a resource guide, recorded videos, and optional add-on modules: one on hogs (breeds, forages and finishing) and another on meat pricing.

This isn’t the first time the Meat School has been offered. It builds on a pilot project in October of last year, called the Colorado State University Meat School. Response to this pilot educational course was overwhelmingly positive. Producers really appreciated the opportunity to network at the in-person locations or to have the flexibility to still learn the course content from home. One Colorado grassfed beef producer had this to say about the school:

“Outstanding use of my time, rich learning experience, very targeted to the pressing questions and needs of my small, growing grass-fed beef finishing and direct marketing operation. [The speakers] were obviously people who had direct, lived, relevant expertise. Their presentations were very professional.”

Registration is Open Now. Deadline to enroll is October 28th.

Classes begin on November 4th and run every Wednesday evening through December 16th (skipping Thanksgiving week). Visit the Western Meat School website to learn more and enroll. For more information, please contact NMPAN Director Rebecca Thistlethwaite at thistler@oregonstate.edu.