Most groundbreaking ceremonies involve company or government officials putting on hard hats and scooping a handful of dirt out of the ground with their ceremonial shovels. When the University of Wisconsin-Madison decided to hold a ceremony to kick off construction for its new Meat Science Building, officials decided on something a little more appropriate — a ham salting ceremony. Staff, school officials and donors salted five hams on Friday, October 14, with the intent of serving them for the grand opening in 2018.

The new Meat Science Building, which will be built on the site of the current Seeds facility, will include ample space for hands-on teaching and training, production facilities to develop new meat products, laboratories to isolate pathogens for food safety research and collaborative space to discover new applications for non-meat animal co-products. It will also house Bucky’s Butchery, University of Wisconsin’s on-campus meat business.

“We’ve been working diligently for a number of years to build a new Meat Science laboratory,” said Dr. Jeff Sindelar, extension meat specialist.

The new state-of-the-art laboratory, he said, “will not only represent the importance of the meat industry in the state of Wisconsin but also represent the meat industry across the country. It’s a very exciting time for us.”