Specialty Meat Development Center

Master Meat Crafter Program

The Master Meat Crafter Program is a newly developed meat processing certification program held at the University of Wisconsin Meat Science Laboratory. The program is the first of its kind and will take approximately 2.5 years for an individual to complete. The program will consist of completing four elements for successful graduation and subsequent accreditation as a “Master Meat Crafter.”


Acceptance into this program will be based upon the quality and content of the required training program application. Applicants with at least five years of experience in ownership, operation, or employment in a meat processing facility will be viewed favorably. There will be no guarantee of acceptance into the program. The program is limited to 25 participants per class.

Program Elements

Six three-day Workshops:

  • Wisconsin Meat Processing School – March
  • Fresh Meats School – June
  • Food Safety & Meat Micro School – August
  • Meat Curing School – January
  • Cooked & Emulsified Sausage School – May
  • Dry & Semi-Dry Sausage School – August

HACCP Training for Meat and Poultry Processors – Required if not previously taken

Workshops will include presentations, demonstrations, and product manufacturing. Experts in specific areas from industry and academia will serve as instructors.

Targeted Topic Homework Assignments: At least four homework assignments will be administered throughout the program to expand on specific learning objectives.

Mentorship Program: Each participant will be expected to mentor an employee or other individual on various meat science and meat processing topics based on their existing knowledge and principles learned from the Master Meat Crafter Training Program. Participants must develop their own mentoring program (approved by training program personnel) prior to the beginning of mentoring.

Plant Project: Participants will be required to conduct a plant project. An example might be that a participant would be given the topic of “phosphates.” That participant would need to research phosphates, develop and carry out a small in-plant study regarding phosphates (i.e. impact of cook yields from different levels or types), and write a report about the project. A final written and an oral report will be required in order to graduate. Participants will be required to present their plant project at a special one-day graduation program ceremony.

Program Timeline

Year One:

  • Wisconsin Meat Processing School
  • Fresh Meats School
  • First Homework Assignment Due
  • Food Safety & Meat Microbiology School
  • Presentation and Approval of Mentorship Program Ideas
  • Second Homework Assignment Due

Year Two:

  • Meat Curing School
  • Presentation and Approval of Plant Project Ideas
  • Cooked & Emulsified Sausage School
  • Mentorship/Plant Project Updates
  • Third Homework Due
  • Dry & Semi-Dry Sausage School
  • Fourth Homework Due
  • Completion of Mentorship and Plant Projects
  • One-Day Graduation Ceremony and Presentation of Plant Project and Mentorships

Program Fee

The cost for the entire program will be $3,000 for in-state plants and $5,000 for out-of-state plants. The fee can be paid in full up front or broken into quarterly installments ($375 per quarter x 8 quarters). The fee includes: registration for six two-day workshops, participant materials and handouts, business meals and banquets, awards, and certificates.


After successfully completing the four program elements, participants will be accredited as “Master Meat Crafters.” A one-day graduation ceremony will take place after completion of the program.


Jeff Sindelar, Ph.D: 608-262-0555, jsindelar@wisc.edu
Madison Potratz: 608-890-3633, mpotratz@wisc.edu