Scholarly journals and white papers remain an important way to get important meat science studies and information to the industry. However, there are plenty of ways to get information out to the masses – like podcasts.
Podcasts have become a popular venue for practically any topic. Listeners can find a wealth of options on a consumer level, from true crime and current events to sports, music and more. Regardless of how niche a topic is, there’s probably one or more podcasts devoted to it.
The format is making its way into trade industries, as well. The MeatsPad podcast, according to host Francisco Najar-Villarreal, is a platform to interview talented and brilliant meat scientists in an interactive format that allows for candid discussion and dialogue. Najar-Villarreal, a PhD Candidate in Meat Science at Kansas State University, uses the podcast as another conduit between academia and the meat industry.
“Many of the episodes are designed to address concerns or questions from meat processor inquiries. Meatspad works to identify experts on a variety of meat science and industry topics,” he explains. “The Meatspad discussions help foster and improve communication and knowledge dissemination within the meat science community.”
Najar-Villarreal says that he enjoys the communication aspect of meat science. As a co-instructor of ASI 361 Meat Animal Processing at Kansas State, he works in a hands-on environment to help students grow their knowledge on animal welfare, slaughter, fabrication, etc. The podcast is another way to help keep the lines of communication open in the industry.
“There is very applied research that is conducted and published on a regular basis and sometimes this knowledge does not easily reach our industry partners who could benefit greatly from these findings,” he said. “My desire to help the meat industry move forward by sharing knowledge that can be accessible to the entire industry led me to create the MeatsPad Podcast. Education and research concerning meat production and meat processing, as well as the outreach to implement new intervention technologies to enhance the safety of consumer, will remain an important aspect of my goals.”
Since it was launched earlier this year, the episodes have been downloaded more than 3,000 times in 24 countries. The audience for MeatsPad is primarily small and mid-sized meat processors in the United States. Najar-Villarreal currently serves as advisor for the Niche Meat Processing Assistance Network to help meat processors across the U.S. However, he also has been translating the episodes into Spanish because of the need for meat science knowledge in Latin America.
Najar-Villarreal looks forward to contributing to the academic, private sector and society-wide efforts to address the problems facing the meat industry. He is grateful for those who have helped him along the way to developing this new method to reach out to the industry.
“Dr. Phil Bass from the University of Idaho has contributed greatly to make this podcast successful. I also want to point out that my major advisor, Dr. Elizabeth Boyle, has been very supportive of this, and I cannot thank her enough for her mentorship. Without her support, this platform would not be possible,” he says.