Wisconsin specialty meat development center formed

This is absolutely awesome news for Wisconsin’s meat processing industry!  Supported by state funds, this center will help the state’s special meat processors in areas like product development, regulatory concerns, and business growth.  This is fantastic news for Wisconsin’s small-scale meat processing infrastructure.

Reposted from: The Business Journal of Milwaukee

Monday, January 4, 2010

Wisconsin specialty meat development center formed

The Specialty Meat Development Center has been formed to assist artisan sausage and cured meat makers operating in Wisconsin with the growth of their businesses.

The nonprofit center formed through a partnership between the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protectionand the state’s meat-processing industry. The center will support the state’s specialty meat processors in five key categories: Business development, product development, labeling and packaging, market development, and food safety and quality.

The center is dedicated to “growing Wisconsin’s state-inspected meat facilities by providing them with business resources and alliances they might not have the resources to obtain on their own,” said Rod Nilsestuen, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

Nilsestuen said the center will help find new markets, develop new cured and specialty meat products and provide training and market development support to meat processors seeking to improve their businesses and increase sales.

Wisconsin has more state-inspected meat facilities than any other state in the country. There are 289 official state-inspected meat-processing facilities and 65 slaughter plants operating in Wisconsin, according to state officials.

It is estimated that these facilities produce more than 77 million pounds of meat and meat products bearing the state-inspected stamp.

The total impact of the state’s meat industry to the Wisconsin economy is $12.3 billion and the industry accounts for more than 19,400 jobs in the state, according to the state. Any Wisconsin meat-processing facility is eligible to apply for assistance from the center.

“Wisconsin’s meat processors are some of the best in the nation, upholding a tradition of excellence by routinely winning top awards at the nation’s meat-processing shows,” said Bob Andorfer, president of the Specialty Meat Development Center.

About 95 percent of Wisconsin’s state-inspected plants have fewer than 25 employees and “have little-to-no capacity to tackle growing their businesses,” Andorfer said. “Our goal is to help these processors take their businesses to the next level while ensuring Wisconsin’s meat products are always the highest quality available.”

A key initiative of the center is the creation of a two-year master meat crafter training program. The program, affiliated with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, currently is in development and will launch in spring.

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