NDSU Meat Science Program Meets Big Need In Meat Industry

Your steak, burger or brat props up an entire industry, an industry that can connect to nearly any job you can think of.

FARGO, N.D. (KVRR) – There’s more to your meat than simply what ends up on your plate. Your steak, burger or brat props up an entire industry, an industry that can connect to nearly any job you can think of.
That’s what they’re training students for at NDSU’s Meat Science program.

Jacob Arntzen with NDSU Meat Science says, “You don’t think that you can become a doctor in meat science.”

But that’s what the guy wielding the flaming torch is.

He’s Dr. Eric Berg. Also known as The Meat Doctor. He can dazzle with the sizzle of a steak.┬áBut that doesn’t get into the real meat of the matter. NDSU Meat Science supplies a big need.

Dr. Berg says the program is, “a tool to take into a real career.”

NDSU just started a butcher certification program with NDSCS in Wahpeton. They’re two semesters in.

Dr. Berg says students learn to, “Process meats. Learn to make sausages, so further processing of meats. The whole butchery process.”

The skills that students learn here at NDSU Meat Sciences go well beyond what you put on the grill and on your table.

Dr. Berg explains, “They might be bankers, loan officers. They might work in feed sales or they might go back to their own ranch.”

Or they might learn business skills. The students have their own butcher shop on campus, the NDSU Meat Lab.

Meat Lab manager Jason Bahls says, “It gives them some experience. Butcher shops always need help.”

They’re known for their brats.

Bahls adds, “We actually named one of our brats after one of our students because it was their idea for it. It was an Hawaiian pizza brat, so we called it John’s Hawaiian pizza brat.”

NDSU Meat Science grad Jacob Arntzen took his skills to Cass Clay Creamery.

Arntzen says, “I was the one testing the milk to make sure it was safe.”

He returned to NDSU to help the next generation of meat experts, saying, “Not everyone thinks that in depth of meat, I guess. They just think ‘oh, here’s my steak. There’s my brat’. You don’t really think where does it come from and all that kind of stuff.”

They say the program is important because all jobs have a little meat to them.

Dr. Berg adds, “I play a game with people. I say, name a career that I can’t relate back to meat science. People will say all kinds of stuff like engineer, and I say, well, the meat industry is one of the largest hirers of engineers because everything is so automated.”

Dr. Berg says more people are buying local since the COVID pandemic began, leading the a rise in demand for butchers.

Categories: Local News, Morning – Features, North Dakota News