Thursday, July 11, 2024
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A New Meat School Coming to a Town or Computer Near You!

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

The Western Meat School is organized by the Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network (NMPAN) and partners that include Colorado State University, Oregon State University and many more. It is a modern, accessible, affordable, and time-efficient way for producers 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 computer at home.

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.

Nathan Parker, Manager of the OSU Clark Meat Science Center.

This isn’t the first time the Meat School has been offered. It builds on a pilot project in October of last year, attended by 50 farmers and ranchers. It was hosted by Colorado State University and NMPAN, an extension program housed within the Center for Small Farms and Community Food Systems at Oregon State University. The CSU school was inspired by the format and topics of the OSU Grassfed Meat School held in Central Point, OR in 2018.

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

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

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