MCC Meat Processing Program Continues to Advance
Montana Farm Bureau Federation is thrilled that the Miles Community College’s meat processing program continues to advance, including the hiring of a coordinator for the program. The college, along with the Montana Meat Processors Association, had been working for four years to get a meat processing course in place. The Montana Farm Bureau was integral in building support for the program and working with MCC and MPPA make this program a reality.
“The coronavirus pandemic highlighted strengths and weaknesses in our food system. Farm Bureau worked to identify improvements that could be made for producers and consumers,” noted Nicole Rolf, national affairs director, MFBF. “Montana Farm Bureau was active in working on federal legislation to expand meat processing capacity nationwide, but also wanted to do something on a more local level. Knowing that there is a shortage of processing capacity in the state, we started exploring options to help get more workers trained to do this important job. That’s where involvement in this program started on the Farm Bureau side.”
Brian Engle, who owns Pioneer Meats in Big Timber, noted, “The Montana Meat Processors is very excited to be part of the training platform on the internship side. In Montana, three new plants are being built which will just add to the every-increasing demand for more employees. Having these small plants is vital business for our state and our economy. We really appreciate Kim Gibbs’ efforts at MCC and the state’s Montana Meat Processing Infrastructure Grant. We thank Montana Farm Bureau for their support; if their support wasn’t there, this wouldn’t have happened.”
Rolf welcomed the new meat program coordinator, Tina Rutledge, who is going to facilitate the course, providing students with knowledge on everything from fabricating meat to marketing strategies. The 29-credit remote course include classes on food safety, business math, elementary technical writing and biology. Small meat processing facilities across the state will provide hands-on internships.