Big Sky High School adds meat processing class


by Shannon MacNeil, NBC Montana

May 8th 2019


MISSOULA, Mont. — The Missoula Agricultural Center recently built a USDA-inspected meat processing plant.


The concept started with a bond and ended with $200,000 worth of grants.


In addition to their farming courses, Big Sky High School will be adding a meat processing class.


“We say it’s from conception to consumption,” says agriculture teacher Tom Andres.


The students will take part in every step of the animal’s life, from the time they’re born up until slaughter.


“You get attached, but you’ve got to kind of accept the fact that they’re used as a meat animal, they’re going to feed somebody,” explained sophomore Colter McWilliams.


Andres is in the final steps of constructing the class. Students will be graded on things like how to handle and sharpen a knife, safety tests and food safety.


“All of the certifications will have to be accomplished before they’re actually allowed to process the meat,” said Andres.


Andres said the agriculture program used to ship the livestock away when it was ready for butchering, but now they can keep them here and profit off the meat. Selling a hog is worth $300 but processing it to bacon and ham can be worth up to $700.


They want to sell the meat to Big Sky High School to use for school lunches...


more, including video report 2:06 min.]