BOZEMAN, Mont. — Montana State University Extension, in conjunction with Oregon State University, will offer a new agriculture business development course on direct marketing meat.

The Western Meat School, Montana Edition, is an online or hybrid learning experience for farmers, ranchers, butchers and others. The six-week course will meet on Wednesday evenings beginning Nov. 4. It will cover key topics in production, processing and marketing to produce high-quality meat and then sell it to diverse market channels. It is not a processing or butchering course.

The adult education course is intended for a range of individuals, including farmers and ranchers with at least a couple years’ experience; meat processors and butchers; meat buyers, distributors and retailers; Extension specialists, agents and educators; and those from nongovernmental organizations working on local livestock and meat supply chain issues.

The entire course will be available in real time online. A socially distanced group watching site is planned for 10 to 12 attendees in Billings, depending on guidance at the time from the state of Montana, MSU, local public health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The group component may be adapted or canceled for safety.

The course cost is $120 per individual or $160 for couples or business partners, with online registration at https://westernmeatschool.com/enroll. Registration is open now, and discounts may be available for attendees from Montana. For more information on the course and USDA Western SARE-funded discounts, email or call Tommy Bass, livestock environment associate specialist with MSU Extension, at tmbass@montana.edu or 406-994-5733.

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The course is promoted by Oregon State University and the Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network. Colorado State Extension piloted it in 2019. The Western Extension Risk Management Education Center and other secondary sponsors fund development and management of the course.

More information is available at westernmeatschool.com.