Meat cutting may be a hot trade, but skilled butchers and slaughterhouses are still scarce in Vermont. State legislators know it, and last month they came up with $25,000 to fund curriculum development and on-the-job training for skilled meat cutters.
The money will be distributed by the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, which is collecting proposals until the end of the month. “An apprenticeship or certificate for meat cutters heightens the respect in the craft,” says Chelsea Bardot Lewis, the agency’s agricultural development coordinator. “It’s really important that we have people excited to do this work. More and more people are interested in getting humanely sourced and well-raised animals, and [meat cutting] is a really important and critical component of an animal’s life cycle.”
The ag agency recently announced another meat-related grant program: It will provide matching funds to slaughterhouses and processing plants whose owners wish to expand.