Oklahoma State University Meat Science Program is recognized for outstanding undergraduate instruction, applied and basic meat color and packaging research, along with an excellent meat judging program. The Meat Science Program is housed in the Department of Animal & Food Sciences (AFS) which is one of the largest on campus. Undergraduate students interested in pursuing a career in meat science can major in Food Science with an option in Meat Science or Food Safety to be prepared for a career in the meat industry. Both of these degree options require industry internships, and AFS works with many industry partners to create a valuable internship experience.

The program is fortunate to have access to the Meat Laboratory in the Food and Agriculture Products Center (FAPC) on campus. The facility is one of the best in the country, featuring every aspect of meat processing from slaughter to value-added further processed products. In addition to the facility, students and faculty of AFS work closely with staff of FAPC, most especially Jake Nelson. Jake’s understanding and close relationship with AFS and industry give him the ability to provide students with practical industry knowledge while taking meat science courses or working in FAPC. Over 20 undergraduate and graduate students are employed each semester to work in or with FAPC. Other faculty and staff housed in FAPC (including 3 AFS faculty specializing in food safety and microbiology) provide undergraduates with a well-rounded, industry relevant education. In addition to the teaching activities of FAPC, it is a state-of-the-art research facility. Industry partners can utilize the meat lab for product development or enhancement, as well as take advantage of the knowledge and experience of faculty and staff in the center.

One of the most notable activities of the program is the Intercollegiate Meat Judging Program that is rich in tradition and history. Oklahoma State has competed in meat judging every year since the first International in 1926. The team has experienced tremendous success winning 19 National Championships (more than any other university). Students with no experience in judging or meat evaluation of any major can join the team, as well as students that attend Oklahoma State because of the meat judging program they went through as 4-H or FFA members. Meat judging team members have the opportunity to gain valuable life-skills, like teamwork, time management, organization, decision making, and leadership to name a few.

Most recently the team won the 2018 National Title – this is the 3rd title for the Meat Judging Program in the past 5 years. Within 3 days, the Oklahoma State Horse and Livestock Judging Teams also won their respective National Titles, which has been dubbed the “Triple Crown” of judging. This is only the 2nd time in history (and first time in 30 years) the same university has won all three titles in the same year. The titles are a true testament to Oklahoma State University’s dedication to undergraduate education. The College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, along with AFS, provides tremendous support to judging programs. The tradition and history of the teams is attributed to passion, dedication and hard work of the coaches and students, along with the support of the alumni.

More information on Oklahoma State University program can be found online at: https://meatscience.org/students/graduate-programs/oklahoma-state-university.