Wyoming’s first Meat Science degree will officially launch this fall at Central Wyoming College (CWC). The degree program aims to train the next generation of local butchers and food scientists. Wyoming Public Radio’s Taylar Stagner spoke to her program director, Amanda Winchester, about the program and what she hopes students will learn.

Amanda Winchester: It is arguably the only one in the state and probably one of the few countries to have this particular type of program. We participate in more complex programs than we do. Most of us work on learning how to do everything from harvesting to manufacturing to quality to customer service.

The main purpose of this program is to teach students how to become well-educated workers in the industry. That’s why we try to offer a semester-wide program. This allows them to earn higher wages than those who have to be well-educated, learn the skills to become well-informed employees, and be trained. All Food Safety and do everything from scratch. Students can go through the certificate program and complete the remaining requirements for an associate’s degree. They can use it to go to college, go to meat science or animal science, enter and manage a huge processing plant, or become a USDA or state inspector. [is] job guaranteed.

Taylor Stagnar: How do you prepare students to slaughter animals? I hear that’s a big cause of burnout in this industry.

AW: That’s what even my student who was with us did it on her farm back in California. However, we took several tours and she panicked. And I told her I want her to give me a chance.

It doesn’t suit everyone. Some students might get carried away with it and decide, “This isn’t for me, I don’t want to do this part of the class.” that’s probably fine. I really want to encourage them. We are not going to throw them out there.

They can see, they can dive into it a little bit, and slowly they’ll be able to work on it. And if they’ve done things and they’ve decided, ‘That’s not the side of me that I want to be in the industry,’ that’s what they’ve decided that’s what they’re doing. I know However, they were able to go into production and still do well.

They will have the knowledge and skills. It is beneficial for small factories. But if they go into a bigger factory, they can pick and choose what they want to do.

TS: Most of us stay away from food. Can you talk a little bit about that? And I think that in that farewell, a slight discontinuity will be born.

AW: Realistically, people don’t realize that even grocery store meat comes from live animals at some point. I think it’s because society has this misunderstanding of what farmers and ranchers really are, what they do, or how they treat their animals.

Still, they go to the grocery store and buy things. they don’t make connections. I think children need to learn from an early age that there is a relationship: “the animals in the fields are what we eat.” I don’t think every child needs to know the whole process, but I do think they need to understand that those animals have a purpose.

I think this is a real problem that we need to educate the public to have a better understanding of where our food comes from. I really hope I can help. I think everyone should. Especially during COVID that you need to know where your food is when you don’t have a script, you don’t always have meat, you don’t have toilet paper, you don’t have all these products had to learn Rather than relying on a large company to supply you with a product, you will know what is in it, that it is of high quality, and that it is available.

TS: The CWC now has a USDA-approved non-profit organization that conducts slaughter in the community, not only as an educational tool, but as a way to support the program. Can you tell us a little bit about that? I believe it’s called the Rustler Cattle Company.

AW: The money will be returned to support the program. It runs year-round, so we’re processing and harvesting all summer long when the students aren’t around, and we’ll continue while the students are in. It’s a real business. But it’s still part of my education, so I use it as a tool.

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