Smiles of achievement, excitement and relief were seen on many faces at the first ever Master Meat Crafter Training program graduation ceremony was held at the DoubleTree hotel in Madison, WI on January 20th, 2012. This day marked the end of a two year rigorous meat processing training program for seventeen individuals as sausage makers and meat industry leaders from across the state, University representatives, and WI state government officials gathered to recognize these deserving individuals as a Master Meat Crafter…
Beginning in 2010, after being accepted into the program, each Master Meat Crafter candidate embarked on a 2-year journey to gain a deep understanding of their craft in this first-of-its-kind program. For successful program completion, and subsequent distinction as a “Master Meat Crafter”, four elements of the program were undertaken. Part 1 included attending 6 short courses on meat processing topics including “ Basic Meat Processing School”, “Fresh Meats School”, “Food Safety and Meat Microbiology School”, “Cured Meat School”, Cooked & Emulsified Sausage School“, and a “Fermented & Dry Cured Meat Products School” held at the University of Wisconsin-Madison or River Falls campuses. Part 2 included completion of several extensive topic-targeted homework exercises. Part 3 included developing and successful execution of a mentorship training program to pass along knowledge learned. Part 4 required each candidate to develop and conduct in-plant research project carried out in the participant’s establishment on a Meat Science topic of their choice. A day of mentorship program and in-plant research project presentations was held during the day leading to the much anticipated evening graduation ceremony.
The Master Meat Crafter training program was developed in conjunction with the Specialty Meat Development Center (SMDC) of Wisconsin and is supported by the University of Wisconsin Meat Science Extension, University of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, and the Wisconsin Association of Meat Processors. The goals of the program are to 1) provide participants with well rounded, in-depth, and comprehensive knowledge about Meat Science/meat processing principles, 2) provide development opportunities for the future meat industry leaders, and 3) help ensure the Wisconsin and US meat industry remains strong and viable for years to come.
With an immeasurable amount of time, hard work and dedication, 17 Master Meat Crafter candidates successfully completed the inaugural 2-year program and were the first to receive the distinction of a “Master Meat Crafter”…or as a master of their craft.