$50k grant helps local FFA program start meat processing lessons

Updated: Jan. 26, 2021 at 6:20 PM CST
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MARLOW, Okla. (TNN) - Marlow Public Schools FFA program is now the only program across southwest Oklahoma to have a meat processing lab.

Marlow is one of 11 schools in Oklahoma to receive the grant allowing them to be part of a pilot program through the state’s career tech program.

FFA Instructor Derek Mitchell says the grant helped purchased every piece of equipment they needed for the meat lab.

”The students are having a really good time learning and doing a new set of skills learning about food safety, and machine safety, and it’s something just kind of out the bubble. It’s not quite livestock and welding like we’re known for,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said this grant has already opened up job opportunities for a few of his students.

“A friend of mine is a meat processor, and he said he is currently looking for two full-time employees, and he has said he is very interested in hiring some of these guys as part-time, after school, and weekends, during the summertime to process and cut.”

Mitchell expects sophomore Corben Baker to land one of those jobs since his family has been processing meat for years.

“I’ve been doing it for four or five years and just as long as I can remember. I’ve just always loved to do it, and just doing it at school with my friends is just really fun,” Baker said.

Career Tech Director Marcie Mack was one of several state officials to visit Marlow on Tuesday.

She said she was excited to see how far the meat lab has come along.

“To be here in this classroom at Marlow and watch the students go through the process from packaging to tenderizing, to grinding, it is amazing,” Mack said.

Mack said if it wasn’t for Mitchell stepping up for his students this wouldn’t be possible.

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