Dr. Lyda Garcia, Assistant Professor – Meat Science, The Ohio State University
The Ohio State University Extension Meat Specialist offer two day workshops to tackle meat industry labor challenges.
When COVID-19 hit the US meat industry early 2020, many disruptions quickly surfaced – impacting our livestock and meat industries. As large-scale meat plants were in the process of slowing and even shutting down, local meat processors were looked upon to relieve the pressures brought forth by COVID-19. As many, if not all, local meat processors stepped up to fill these needs, significant stresses were quickly felt by the employees on the front lines. As many small scale, to very small scale meat processors were accustomed to a slower steady pace, the onset of doubling or tripling work load caused employees to reconsider their future. In the world of the meat industry, physical labor is a major component to the job that not many could or would do. Smaller meat processors offering a slaughter service are accustomed to harvesting significantly fewer number of animals when compared to large-scale meat processors. For instance, a small-scale meat processor may harvest two to four thousand beef cattle annually, whereas a large-scale beef plant will harvest over 125,000 head. A small meat processor typically operates with a small group of employees of twenty or less versus hundreds and thousands employed by large scale meat plants. With the mass amount of livestock producers relying on small sale meat processors, the labor workforce has been pushed to the limit resulting in many quitting or leaving for better wages. This led meat processors to hire new employees that may have started with minimal to no background in meat cutting. This added challenge can, and will, lead to inefficiencies in meat cutting that impacts profit margins. A significant outcome of the occurrence of a pandemic and meat processors was the reminder to agriculture of the essential role local meat processors continue to play.
Dr. Lyda G. Garcia, Extension Meat Specialist, is offering two-day workshops relating to meat cutting. Day 1 will consist of in the classroom learning from impacts of animal welfare on meat quality to understanding the impacts of anatomy and muscle myology to species meat cutting guidelines. Day 2 will consist of hands-on learning of the value of a cutting test (yields) using sides of pork. Although pork carcasses will be used for demonstration purposes, skills obtained from this short course will be applicable to our small ruminant species as well. Participants will have a better understanding of their role in workmanship, skills on consistent retail cuts, and profit margins.
Workshops are to be held on Friday and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. on the dates listed below.
- March 26 – 27
- April 9 – 10
- April 23 – 24
- May 7 – 8
- May 21 – 22
For more information regarding these events, please review the attached flyer. For those interested in participating, please contact Dr. Lyda Garcia at firstname.lastname@example.org.