Governor Gordon’s Wyoming Works initiative has awarded Central Wyoming College $777,809 for the development of a Meat Processing Program that would also serve Eastern Wyoming College and the Northern Wyoming Community College District in a consortium.
The grant will supply, based on a 4-year budget, an agriculture faculty position, meat sciences lab equipment in the Rocky Mountain Complex (RMC) for Ag and Equine Sciences and a mobile meat sciences lab for CWC and college consortium partners.
Eastern Wyoming College (EWC) and Sheridan College partnered with CWC to form the meat sciences consortium. The colleges will share the mobile slaughter unit to enhance student learning in their respective courses through direct, hands-on experience. Since the mobile equipment can be easily transported to various locations, this increases the overall return on the investment over the life of the equipment. They will utilize the mobile slaughter unit for training purposes, providing any needed animals and transportation costs.
Dr. Brad Tyndall, President Central Wyoming College said, “This Wyoming Works funding will really accelerate CWC’s regional economic development strategy for agriculture. We are working to establish an $18.2 million Rocky Mountain Complex for Ag & Equine Sciences and meat processing is an important part of the RMC’s vision. We hope to provide the workforce needs for the state’s big visions for Wyoming Beef, not only locally, but through our partners, across the state. We’re very excited.”
Tyndall explained that the local impact will be immediate since a new USDA-inspected meat slaughter and processing facility, Wyoming Genuine Meats, will be coming online this spring and a local state-inspected facility is considering changing to a USDA-inspected facility.
“Fremont, Hot Springs and Teton counties are really tourism corridors with many thousands of people driving through wanting to experience local food and meats. Our Rocky Mountain Complex, which should break ground in 2021, intends to help meet that agro-tourism need locally and elsewhere by “beefing up main street”, as I like to say. More and more people are contacting us to be a part of this vision.”
In the short term, CWC will use its mobile slaughter unit and partner resources to provide for workforce needs. CWC’s Wyoming Works’ agriculture-related programs will serve, with the benefit of this grant funding, 60 students annually in a two-year program, or 120 students across the four years of this grant period. The consortium will add an additional 76 students annually in a two-year program, or 152 across the four years of this grant period. These students will become the workforce needed for the agriculture business opportunities.
CWC created its animal sciences and meat sciences curricula in consultation with local ag producers and meat processors. Once CWC received approval for the meat sciences curriculum it was then approved as a Wyoming Works program by the Wyoming Community College Commission.
Wyoming Works was approved by the Legislature last legislative session to provide funding for programs and resources for adult students to learn a skill that leads to secure employment. $2 million was approved for scholarships and $2 million for program startup, for which CWC obtained $777,809.
Central Wyoming College
Northern Ag Network – 2019