With meat scientists in both the Departments of Animal Science and Poultry Science, the University of Arkansas can offer students a diverse meat science experience in course load and research. Such diversity gives students the opportunity to learn all aspects of meat science from pre-harvest to cookery.

At the U of A, students have a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in meat science through undergraduate research. This allows students a chance to ‘get their feet wet’ in research without the commitment of graduate school. Research opportunities engage the students in the research process from ideation to data collection and reporting. Previous undergraduate research projects have included: the only independent university study on the effects lean finely-textured beef on ground beef quality; as well as bacon quality and meat color measurement techniques.

U of A students have actively participated in the AMSA Meats Quiz Bowl Competition for over 8 years. After studying all aspects of meat science during the spring semester, students will travel to the Reciprocal Meats Conference (RMC) to compete in the Quiz Bowl Competition and attend the scientific meetings. While traveling to RMC, students have an opportunity to tour meat processing facilities and packing plants. The program, sponsored by the Arkansas Beef Council, is the main extracurricular activity for undergraduates and the main avenue for recruiting meat science graduate students and employment into the meat industry.

Graduate students are heavily involved in developing ideas and experimental design for their research. As part of their education, they learn to work independently and are prepared to immediately begin work in industry research roles. Recent projects include: cooked color development in ground beef; adding value to goat carcasses as a benefit to small processors; the effects of specific nutrients on pork color and fat quality; and quality differences in Natural-branded beef. In addition to their personal research responsibilities, graduate students take leadership roles and serve as mentors on undergraduate projects along with countless projects outside of meat science.

2015 marks the 10th anniversary of hands-on culinary workshops, for product developers who wish to become certified as a Certified Culinary Scientist with the Research Chefs Association. Hosted by Dr. John Marcy, the goal is to give basic culinary skills and help developers be comfortable when working with chefs. More information is available at www.uark.edu/ua/culinary/.

Dr. Casey Owens collaborates with colleagues at Texas A&M to host Poultry 101 and Poultry 201 workshops for allied industries. Offered annually at the University of Arkansas, Poultry 101 is a three-day, hands-on workshop that introduces participants to poultry production and processing, while Poultry 201 is a more in-depth workshop that covers further processing, functional ingredients, and cookery methods. For more information see poultry101.com.

Because of the current need for more transparency in our industry and consumers wanting to know more about their food supply, Dr. Janeal Yancey writes a blog from the perspective of a mom/meat scientist called Mom at the Meat Counter. In the blog and using social media, she writes to dispel rumors and misinformation about meat, to build consumer confidence in meat and animal agriculture. The blog can be found at momatthemeatcounter.blogspot.com. IP

University of Arkansas is a member of the American Meat Science Association. For more information about the University of Arkansas and its faculty, please visit the AMSA website at http://bit.ly/uofa0815.

Fact Box:

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Animal Science - http://animalscience.uark.edu/

Poultry Science - http://poultryscience.uark.edu/

Meat Scientists:
Dr. Jason Apple, Animal Science
Dr. Casey Owens Hanning, Poultry Science
Dr. John Marcy, Poultry Science
Dr. Fred Pohlman, Animal Science
Dr. Janeal Yancey, Animal Science