Meat Short Courses Offer Hands-on Learning for Industry Workers

Training opportunities for those in the meat industry

October 11, 2023, 8:57 am | Terry Houser

AMES, Iowa – Meat processors and those with an interest in learning more about the meat handling industry can improve their skills during several short courses offered by the Meats Lab at Iowa State University.

Eight courses are planned, beginning with the Basic Sausage Short Course, Nov. 14-16, followed by the Cured Meat Short Course Jan. 16-18, 2024; Fresh Pork Processing Short Course Feb. 6-8;  the spring HACCP Workshop March 26-28, and a Dry and Semi-Dry Sausage Short Course, April 9-11.

Participants in the fresh beef processing short course.During the summer of 2024, classes continue with the Sausage and Processed Meats Course July 15-19; and the Fresh Beef Processing Short Course Sept. 10-12. The HACCP class will be offered again Oct. 1-3, 2024.

“These courses provide important training for the industry and tend to fill up quickly,” said Terry Houser, extension meat specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “Last year, more than 800 people participated in our courses, where they received hands-on education and instruction by experts in the industry.”

Speakers vary depending on the session, but include a mix of Iowa State staff and faculty, experts from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, as well as the private industry.

Participants come from across Iowa, as well as other states and other countries.

The upcoming Basic Sausage Short Course will focus on the beginning principals of sausage-making involved with fresh sausage production, smoked sausage and also fermented sausage.

Registration for this class is open through Nov. 7, with a reduced rate for those who register by Oct. 24.

Houser said he continues to see new interest in the meat industry, whether it’s new entrepreneurs or those who have taken over existing meat businesses and seek training. He’s also seeing new demand for certain meat products, including dried sausages and snack sticks.

The Meats Laboratory allows class participants to witness all meat processing steps, from slaughter to packaging.

All courses and registration deadlines can be viewed by visiting the Iowa State University Meat Science Short Course web page. Houser said registration is limited for some courses, in order to provide adequate hands-on learning opportunities.

Most courses are offered annually, and the HACCP is offered twice annually. If you miss an event or registration is full, check back the following year for more opportunities.

For more information, Terry Houser can be reached at 515-294-7434 or

Shareable photo: Participants in a recent beef processing short course at Iowa State University.

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