The Texas Tech University Meat Science program provides hands-on experiential learning for all students.
“The teaching and research, work together to make the Meat Science program, the success story that it is,” said Tate Corliss, coordinator of the Texas Tech University and Meat Biology program.
Classes within the Department of Animal and Food Sciences, such as general animal science or beef and swine production, have labs that observe the harvest process during the semester.
Ninety percent of the Meat Science program is run by students working in four separate areas throughout the building: production, sales and logistics, research, and the store.
“As a university, we’re here to teach our newer employees and train them on specific tasks in order to make this program run successfully,” said Rodolfo Muro Felix, the program’s production manager.
The research and production team work separately but also work together on completing projects while also training the newer employees. When the Coronavirus pandemic first started, students throughout the Meat Biology program helped within all departments when things got backed up.
Student employees within all areas in the program have no prior experience with their job. Observing fellow employees and learning as you go is important in any job in any career.
“All of the students coming out of this job, have acquired a type of skill and trade to bring their future careers,” Felix said.
An aspect to the production side of the program is the harvesting of animals which customers bring in. Due to the Coronavirus outbreak in 2020, the Meat Science program emphasized to customers to bring their livestock to the facility to have the production team harvest them.
There are four stages to the harvesting process: slaughter, having the carcass age over 14 days, fabrication, bagging and boxing. The time span of the process is at least 30 days from beginning to end.
“In a lab setting, we’re continuously training and lecturing on what steps we’re doing, being careful and concise to make sure everybody can see what we’re doing,” Felix said.
The number of small processors started decreasing over time and it is one of the bigger key factors to the American meat supply. The Texas Tech Meat Science program is wanting to bring more awareness of what they do and how they do things.
“The most rewarding part of the job is experiencing the 30-day harvest period of the animal the customer brings in, once is all said and done,” Felix said. “Seeing the satisfaction on their face and showing them a presentable cut of meat is one of the best feelings as the production manager.”
The customers who bring in the animal, expect the best from the Texas Tech Meat Science program. The student employees on the production team experience hands-on learning to provide the best cut of meat to give back to the customer.