SUNY Cobleskill Offers New Certification Courses for the Modern Butcher

The State University of New York College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill is partnering with AgriForaging Food Safety to offer a new career training certificate in Meat Processing and Food Safety. The fundamental skills of professional butchering will be taught in a four-part training starting in May and concluding in mid-June.

“SUNY Cobleskill is excited to provide this extensive meat processing training in our new state-of-the-art USDA-approved facility,” said Linda Serdy, Program Coordinator for the SUNY Cobleskill Office of Professional and Continuing Education. “Butchering is a lost art and the skills taught in these classes will empower participants to take an active part in the local food movement.”

“AgriForaging Food Safety is excited to partner with SUNY Cobleskill to continue our mission of ‘Bridging the Gap’ between producers and consumers in the food industry,” said Eric Shelley of AgriForaging. “Education in whole-animal butchery and food safety are key cogs in the farm-to-table system. These courses provide a solid foundation in personal safety, food safety, and process knowledge. Graduates have gone in to general and specialized industry, opened facilities, and started unique training opportunities. One even wrote an award-winning book citing knowledge gained from this course.”

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Certification for the Modern Butcher

The Meat Processing and Food Safety Certification is a four-part series of intensive, hands-on trainings designed to teach the fundamental knowledge and basic skills required to enter employment in a meat processing center or butcher shop. The courses provide instruction in animal slaughter, primal fabrication, retail cutting, value-added products (such as sausage), wrapping, and storage of finished products. Students will learn and practice whole-animal butchery, with opportunities to segment carcasses and break muscles down into retail cuts.

Participants will receive specialized training in cutting accuracy, knife handling, portion control, merchandizing, and the utilization of all animal products. Instructors will also cover safety, sanitation, and hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP).

The classes will be taught by Eric Shelley of AgriForaging Food Safety, SUNY Cobleskill’s Michael Lapi, Visiting Instructor of Culinary Arts, and Betsy Jensen, Meat Laboratory Manager. Each instructor is an educator with extensive experience in the meat industry. Nicole Day Gray, Founder of AgriForaging Food Safety, will join the instructors for the HACCP 2-Day Training.

This session was offered in 2017. To learn more about future workshops, visit