MFU encourages schools to apply for MEAT grant

Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) encourages Minnesota schools to apply for a new grant program to bring meat cutting and butchery training programs to their students.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Meat Education and Training (MEAT) Grant Program will award about $350,000 in onetime funding to secondary career and technical education programs to fund equipment, facility renovation, curriculum development or faculty training.

“MFU is working to rebuild the state’s meat cutting infrastructure and we thank Sen. Torrey Westrom for carrying this legislation last session and for his help in getting this funding package across the finish line. We also recognize Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen and the state agriculture department staff for their support and their work to setup and launch this new grant program,” said MFU President Gary Wertish. “As secondary students contemplate careers, we want them to think about careers in agriculture. This funding is an opportunity for schools to introduce students to a career they likely didn’t even know about.”

Eric Sawatzke, an agricultural education teacher at West Central Area Secondary School in Barrett, said the MEAT grant is an exciting opportunity to fill a gap in educational programming.

“Just as ag education students have had opportunities to practice welding, small engines, crop production, livestock production, and so many other areas of the agriculture industry, it is evident that meat processing education needs a great boost of support to help close the gap that has plagued livestock producers for years,” Sawatzke said. “It was great to see bipartisan support for this program and schools across the state will be bringing amazing, fresh ideas of how to engage students and create excitement for meat processing careers through this incredible grant program.”

Applicants for the MEAT grant are due by 4 p.m. March 9, 2023. More details can be found on the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Meat Grant webpage.