Editor’s Note: Higher Education is a new department created to feature the schools that are helping the industry and educating the next generation of meat industry employees. If you would like your school to be featured in an upcoming issue, e-mail gazdziaks@bnpmedia.com.

Last year the Auburn Meat Science Association changed its name to the Auburn Collegiate Cattlemen and Cattlewomen Association (CCM/CCW) and began to target students who were not merely Muscle Foods majors but who were involved in any agricultural related field, specifically the beef and pork industries. In its second year, the organization is back in full swing with many new ideas that will allow members to be involved in the meat industry, to create opportunities to network with players in the industry, and to give back to their community.

During business meetings, CCM/CCW invites speakers (mostly alumni) to address its members about a variety of topics in order to give them a better understanding of career opportunities in the industry and how the industry operates. Erin Beasley from the Alabama Cattleman’s Association spoke about what the ACA does, why obtaining a Master’s of Beef Advocacy education is important, and how the national and state checkoff programs are constantly working to aid farmers and producers. Other speakers have included Dr. Brian Smith from Hawking, Inc. on quality assurance, Dr. Frank Owsley on the Beef Quality Assurance program, and an FBI Special Agent on agriterrorism and biosecurity. The group also holds social meetings to partake in fun events like a tailgate-style cookout, a fish fry, bonfire, and bowling.

The Collegiates are also involved off campus. They donated 45 canned goods to benefit the Campus Food Pantry, a program that helps students who are struggling with food insecurity. A group volunteered at the Junior Cattlemen’s Show at the Alabama National Fair. They also have tentative plans to team up with Auburn ROTC to participate in the All American Beef Battalion to thank those men and women who so willingly defend our country.

The CCM/CCW are actively involved in fundraising by selling t-shirts, “Eat Beef” car tags, holiday sausage boxes in the fall, and by operating a catering business. The sausage boxes include three types of summer sausage, all of which are processed and packaged by Auburn’s very own Lambert-Powell Meats Laboratory, and hoop cheese. Sales have grown over the last three years from 260 boxes to 425 boxes sold per year.  In 2012, we ran out of boxes to sell and still had customers requesting them.  The catering business offers a variety of menu options to groups ranging in size from 10 to 750 people. In the fall of 2012 alone, we served over 1500 plates with a profit of about $10,000.  Money raised through these events allows the organization to send its members on farm and industry tours, attend conventions and donate to valuable causes such as mentorships in the American Meat Science Association and the All American Beef Battalion. 

CCM/CCW will be sending members to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Convention and Trade Show in February and the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association convention in March. In June, Auburn University is excited to host the American Meat Science Association’s 66th Reciprocal Meat Conference. The planning committee has a great program planned and we will compliment with that with good food and fun here in “the loveliest village on the plains.” These conventions are cornerstone opportunities for collegiates to learn about issues in the industry, what these organizations are doing to aid farmers and producers, to network with future employers, and to prove the kinds of students that represent Auburn University. 

Auburn University is a member of the American Meat Science Association. For more information about Auburn and its faculty, please visit the AMSA website at http://www.meatscience.org/page.aspx?id=48.