RAPID CITY, S.D. — Western Dakota Tech has a new partnership with Wall Meat, and the benefits are expected to reach far beyond the classroom.
In April 2020, Wall Meats reached out to Western Dakota Tech to start a meat processing course, and the collaboration was approved by the WDT board of trustees this month.
“This gives ranchers a better price for their meat and a more stable market,” said President of WDT, Ann Bolman. “It also gives consumers a better opportunity for good quality meat at a price that they can afford. And for producers in the middle, it gives lots career opportunities.”
Meat processors have been busy, and are still scheduled out until 2022.
“Meat cutting is a craft that has really fallen by the wayside with the way that meat processing has changed to the big companies,” said Bolman. “I think the pandemic showed us more than anything that there are some real disconnects in the food supply chain that we can overcome if we’ve got people with the craft.”
The course will be either a one year diploma or two year degree program complete with an internship and lab course at Wall Meats in Rapid City. Students would have the opportunity to work with industry professionals, and use their knowledge to work at other plants, or even start their own processing businesses.
“This new meat processing program coming into the play, gives my farm and ranch management students a little bit more insight on what their end product is going to look like,” said farm and ranch management director, Kaden Eisenbraun. “And how to get it there as effectively, and efficiently as possible, as well as to make as good a profits on it as possible.”
“This partnership, it adds that academic side to our profession, and it gives us a leg up once the students are done with this course curriculum, they are now trained butchers,” said Wall Meats owner, Ken Charfauros. “That’s what’s really lacking, one is manpower, and two is learning manpower. And the efforts for this is to overcome that.”
Courses are set to be offered beginning in 2022.