Welcome to Meat Systems
A professional development opportunity in grass-based meat systems for agricultural service providers and farmers provided by the Northeast SARE state programs in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Coordinators from all three states, in collaboration with Extension and NRCS partners, are offering training programs that will increase knowledge and skills in:
- sustainable grazing practices
- pasture management and infrastructure
- techniques for year-round meat production
- live animal and carcass evaluation
- livestock processing opportunities
Northeast SARE Connecticut Professional Development Projects
Close to 30 million pounds of the antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used in animal agriculture (80% of all antibiotics sold). The 2014 PDP project assessment questionnaire surveyed 110 agricultural service providers, veterinarians, and university educators. Eighty-four percent (84%) of respondents stated that agricultural service providers and farmers need education about the use of drugs/antibiotics in food animal production.
The grant creates a Health Care Practices for our Food Animals Working Group that will design educational programs over the next three years for agricultural service providers to assist farmers with information and assistance from veterinary, university, and regulatory professionals to address the following key topics:
- Insuring adequate drug protocols to treat sick animals
- Antibiotic use and resistance
- Identify food animal production systems that prevent disease and reduce the need for antibiotics
- FDA and USDA regulations for uses of drugs/antibiotics/hormones:
Increased year-round production of grass-fed meat in Southern New England can help alleviate, if not eliminate, the problems of limited USDA infrastructure for slaughter and processing. While many farmers enjoy the seasonality of their current operations, others would like the opportunity to even out their income flow by slaughtering year-round. Workshops focus on strategies for year-round production, including: breed selection, forage options and use of baleage, rotational grazing, farmstead and facility design and maintenance, meat cutting and fabrication.
Consumers will benefit from the availability of locally grown natural meats and farmers will benefit from selling their meat directly to consumers.—these were the basic premises of this first three-year educational project. More than 7 in 10 farmers surveyed in our tri-state survey of meat producers reported they would expand their business if they had better access to a USDA inspected slaughter facility. Dr. Temple Grandin, notable expert in the humane treatment of animals, offered presentations to consumers, farmers and students that have already resulted in changes in the work of livestock farmers, processors, farm workers, and students.