University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Herds and Harvest Program is offering certification classes this February and April for beginners who want to learn about meat harvesting and processing. The trainings, taught in partnership with the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources, provide insight into the processing and retail sales of meat in Nevada and teach skills in sanitation and food safety.
“Different meats have different methods for processing,” Jennifer Kintz, Cooperative Extension community-based instructor, said. “These classes teach producers how to keep their meat safe and sanitary for consumers, while maximizing the meat’s use and profit. They provide hands-on learning.”
There are two different courses: one for meat harvest (slaughter) and one for meat processing (cutting). Each has its own certification. Kintz recommends participants take both classes, but this is not required.
The one-day courses are held 6:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., and are offered several different dates this spring. The meat harvest course is offered Feb. 6, Feb. 13, April 3 and April 10. The meat processing course is offered Feb. 18, Feb. 25, April 15 and April 22, and will cover the processing of beef, lamb and hogs. All classes will be held at Wolf Pack Meats in Reno at 5895 Clean Water Way and will be limited to 10 students, due to the size of the facility. Cost is $100 per class. Lab coats, plastic caps and gloves will be provided. Participants will also receive a book that covers safety regulations and procedures.
Cooperative Extension began offering the courses last spring. Since then, more than 60 producers have been certified, and demand for the trainings remains high.
“Most of the calls I get are from producers and cattle ranchers who want hands-on learning and training in techniques,” Kintz said. “Many others want to be certified because they’re seeking a job in the industry. Some small business owners, such as local restaurant owners, want to be more professional and participate in the local food movement. Others are just curious about where their meat comes from.”
The Herds and Harvest Program helps farmers and ranchers develop agricultural entrepreneurship, implement sustainable agricultural marketing strategies and improve profitability. Since 2011, the program has reached several hundred farmers and ranchers across the state. Two-thirds of the participants reported they would make changes in their business practices because of what they learned through the program.
For more information or to register for one of the classes, contact Kintz at 775-945-3444, ext.12 or firstname.lastname@example.org.