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WSU Extension to offer direct marketing meat workshops

PULLMAN, Wash. – A series of workshops for livestock producers on direct marketing meat will be offered this fall and winter by Washington State University Extension. Workshop series organizer Tom Platt, a Washington State University Extension educator based in Davenport, said the series will help livestock producers identify and manage the risks they take on when they begin direct marketing meat.

The four-workshop series is being offered in various eastern Washington locations. Held monthly, the series begins in early November and completes in early February 2013.

Platt said that although some of the risks livestock producers face in the direct market meat business are similar to those they encounter in producing feeder and finished livestock, many are new and unfamiliar. The workshop series will address risks related to starting a business, including financing, marketing and product supply management; public relations, product quality and consumer perceptions of healthfulness, animal welfare and environmental stewardship; food safety and liability; and business, sanitary and environmental regulations.

During the series, workshop participants will be guided through a process of identifying risks they deem important enough to manage and then developing strategies to manage those risks.

The first workshop is scheduled for November 1 in Grand Coulee. Topics include business planning, marketing, and dealing with things when they go haywire.

The second workshop on December 13 in Soap Lake deals with risks related to livestock finishing, meat quality, and many other factors identified and discussed by a panel of people in the direct market meat business.

The third workshop is scheduled for January 10 in Ritzville. And will focus on business licensing and regulations, including health, sanitary and environmental regulations, as well as animal care guidelines.

The fourth workshop is scheduled for February 5 in Spokane and will emphasize managing food safety risk and liability. At this workshop participants will be asked to compile a list of strategies for managing risks deemed important based on their direct market meat businesses experience.

All workshops begin at 10 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m. Registration for the four-part workshop series is $85 per person by October 12 and $110 per person by October 29. The registration fee covers lunches and refreshments. A brochure describing the workshops in more detail and containing a registration form may be downloaded from http://bit.ly/meatmarketing. The brochure may also be requested by calling WSU Extension in Davenport at 509-725-4171. For accommodation of special need, or for more information, contact Tom Platt, 509-725-4171.

Additional funding for this series was provided by Washington State University Western Center for Risk Management Education and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture under award number 2010-49200-06203.

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