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Cooperative Extension offers certification for meat slaughter and processing

Posted 5/28/2015

Staci Emm and Loretta Singletary holding their award.

Cattle roundup in Northern Nevada. Photo courtesy of Staci Emm.

Certification classes hosted at Wolf Pack Meats in June and July

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Herds and Harvest Program is offering certification classes this June and July for those who want to learn about meat harvesting and processing. Basics 1 and 2 are hands-on classes, taught in partnership with the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources, that teach skills in sanitation and food safety, and provide insight into the processing and retail sales of meat in Nevada.

"This program is for beginning farmers and ranchers, agriculture producers involved in the meat industry, or others interested in where their meat comes from," said Extension Educator Staci Emm, who helped coordinate the classes.

Basics 1 covers the basics of meat harvest (slaughter) during the first session on June 11, and meat processing (cutting) during the second session, June 23. Classes cover how to keep meat safe and sanitary for consumers, while maximizing the meat’s use and profit. Each session has its own certification, and though taking both is recommended, it is not required for certification. Both sessions are 6:30 a.m. — 1 p.m. at Wolf Pack Meats, 5895 Clean Water Way in Reno. Register for the first session at secondwolfpackmeatsslaughterclass.eventbrite.com, and for the second session at secondwolfpackmeatsprocessingclass.eventbrite.com.

"Basics 2 takes education one-step further, starting with the live animal, the ultrasound of the animal to identify cuts, and following that animal through the slaughter and processing process and finally being able to evaluate those cuts," Emm said. "This three-day process is geared toward Nevada livestock producers."

The Basics 2 sessions are July 1 — 3, also at Wolf pack Meats.

"This series is especially for small livestock producers to get them more familiar with the process of how to get their meat directly to the market," said Extension Educator Steve Foster, who is teaching the series. "It’s for producers who want to know about processing and what the meat packers are looking for."

Register online at wolfpackmeatsbasics2.eventbrite.com. Sessions are:

  • July 1, 8:30 a.m. — noon, Understanding the USDA Grade & Yield System. Topics include how packers make their money, livestock evaluation, grade and yield, and a live evaluation of cattle and ultrasound evaluation of cattle.
  • July 2, 6:30 a.m. — 1 p.m., Slaughter at Wolf Pack Meats. Participants will be harvesting the cattle evaluated in session one.
  • July 3, 6:30 a.m. — 1 p.m. Processing at Wolf Pack Meats. Participants will be grading and yielding carcasses and evaluating the cuts from session two.

All classes are limited to 10 students, due to the size of the Wolf Pack Meats facility. Each Basics 1 session costs $135. The Basics 2 series costs $135 for all three sessions.

Those attending are encouraged to preregister at the websites given above to ensure ample space and educational materials are available. Or, register by contacting Kaley Sproul, 775-945-3444, ext.12 or sproulk@unce.unr.edu. Persons in need of special accommodations or assistance should call at least three days prior to the trainings they intend to attend.

Cooperative Extension began offering the courses in spring 2014. Since then, more than 60 producers have been certified, and demand for the trainings remains high.

The workshops are part of Cooperative Extension’s Herds and Harvest Program that helps farmers and ranchers across the state develop agricultural entrepreneurship, implement sustainable agricultural marketing strategies and improve profitability. The program is supported by the USDA’s Risk Management Agency and the USDA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

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