Value added: Meat program helps Missoula students learn to raise, butcher, sell

On a brisk fall morning with the pigs huddled in their pen, Tom Andres lamented the lack of a meat processing plant in Montana, but praised a small Missoula program that’s adding value to its products – and a lesson to its students.

Andres, the instructor at the Agriculture Education Center run by Missoula County Public Schools, said the program at School House Meats, now in its third year, helps students raise their animal to the butchering process, and teaches them the business that results from the sale of the product.

“Some of our students will find their way into meat processing, but this isn’t specifically for turning out butchers,” Andres said. “It’s about teaching students where their food comes from and about creating food safely. Getting those skills are valuable. We teach them how to work and run a business.”