2020 Maine Meat Cutting School

Monday, May 11 – Friday, May 15, 2020
8:30 AM to 5:30 PM each day
University of Maine Campus in Orono, Hitchner Hall & Pilot Plant

cutting steak on stainless steel counter

Given the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation in Maine, UMaine Extension has made the decision to cancel this event. We ask for your patience as we begin processing refunds. Thank you for your interest in this event and please do not hesitate to contact Melissa Babcock at 207.581.2788 or 1.800.287.7170 (in Maine) if you have questions.

We are keeping your name and email on our interested participants list in the event that we are able to hold this class at a later date this year.  

We know that many of you were looking forward to this class and we will do everything we can to offer it again this year.  

Thank you for your understanding and interest.

Space is limited. Maximum number of participants: 35
Registration deadline: April 15, 2020
No refunds barring family or medical emergencies.  Changing your mind or inconveniences will not be considered.

Cost: $400 per student. Price includes Lunch, reference materials, and 6-inch boning knife.

Limited financial assistance* available.

Who should attend: Anyone interested in professional meat processing, especially young professionals interested in a career in meat cutting/processing. However, this is a tremendous opportunity for livestock producers interested in learning more about meat cutting and processing.

Description: The University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering a 5-day course in professional meat cutting/processing in Orono, ME on May 10-15. This course includes both classroom and hands-on training. Participants will learn about: History of US meat production, consumer trends, humane handling and slaughter of livestock, meat quality, food safety, labeling, and customer service. In addition, participants will have hands-on training with beef, swine, and lamb cutting, as well as, sausage making. Students will have the opportunity to tour professional/commercial meat processing facilities.

Special guest, Dr. Gregg Rentfrow will serve as the lead instructor. Doctor Rentfrow is a meat professor at the University of Kentucky, and serves as the state extension meat specialist, the University of Kentucky’s meat lab director and teaches courses in meat science. Other instructors include Dr. Robson Machado, Assistant Extension Professor and Food Science Specialist, Dr. Jason Bolton, Associate Extension Professor and Food Safety Specialist, Dr. Jennifer Eberly, State Veterinarian, Maine Meat and Poultry Inspection, Dr. Colt Knight, Assistant Professor of Extension and State Livestock Specialist, and Certified Executive Chef Robert Dumas, Food Science Innovation Coordinator and Facility Manager.

What is different this year? This year the University of Maine Dr. Matthew Highlands Pilot Plant was licensed as a custom meat processing facility. This allows us to offer this training to a larger group of participants. We have classroom space on campus to accommodate learning in a much more comfortable environment. Also, the meat cutting room is more spacious so participants will have an easier time interacting with the instructor and each other. However, the greatest benefit is that will be able to source more animals for the hands-on cutting portion of the class so participants will get to cut more animals than previous cutting schools. We are excited about these new developments, and look forward to hosting the school this Spring.

Thank you to our sponsors:

Topics covered

  • History of Meat and USDA Meat Inspection
  • Consumer Trends
  • Humane Handling
  • Beef Processing Laboratory
  • Hands-On: Knife Safety; Sanitation/Cleanup
  • Meat Quality-Color
  • Food Safety and Personal Health
  • Common Pathogens in Meats and the Meat Room
  • Swabbing Activity
  • Lamb Processing Laboratory
  • Meat Quality-Fat/Marbling
  • Age Verification
  • Labeling
  • What is HACCP?
  • Pork Processing Laboratory
  • Meat Quality-Tenderness
  • Hand-On Learning: Proper handling of animals before slaughter and the proper process of killing
  • Customer Service
  • How much Meat to Expect from Each Species
  • Sausage and Processes Meats
  • Meat Inspection and Sales
  • Touring of two Meat Processing Plants


Hotel Accommodations

*Financial Assistance

Eastern Maine Development Corporation (EMDC) Workforce Program Assistance:

Financial assistance is available for individuals who meet income guidelines and are one of the following:

  • Recently dislocated workers; i.e. Have you been laid off or become unemployed recently?
  • Residents of Piscataquis, Penobscot, or Hancock Counties
  • In any county in Maine, workers who have been employed in agriculture within the last 2 years.
    Assistance may include course tuition, mileage assistance, tools and supplies, and other costs of training.

Contact Chris at EMDC (chuh@emdc.org; 610.1521) to find out if you qualify.

Apprenticeship & Strategic Partnerships:

This funding is available ONLY to people in Androscoggin, Aroostook, Franklin, Kennebec, Knox, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, Waldo, and Washington counties.

Contact: Joan Dolan
Director of Apprenticeship & Strategic Partnerships
Maine Department of Labor
55 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333

If you are a person with a disability and need an accommodation to participate in this program, please call Melissa Babcock at 207.581.2788 or 1.800.287.7170 (in Maine) to discuss your needs. Receiving requests from accommodations at least 10 days before the program provides a reasonable amount of time to meet the request, however, all requests will be considered.