A new national 4-H project furthers the education of Hopkins County 4-H members by helping them market and sell meat from the animals they raise. The project will yield real results when 4-H members sell their product at the opening day of The Market on the downtown square May 4.
The 4-H Ag Marketers Project shows 4-H members how to maneuver and solve challenges in marketing meat. The program, created this year as an adaptation of Texas A&M University’s animal science class Beef 706, applies its students to a goal of increasing revenue from young farmers by direct marketing of products.
Hopkins County 4-H members like Brynden Andrews and Josh Couch have raised beef and pork products for many years. Through the program, they will learn the meat science part of their projects for the goal of marketing.
The project covers a multitude of important issues for sale and marketing, including proper handling of the meat. Extension Agent Johanna Hicks helped the members in their April 16 session to learn about food handling, germs, bacteria and freshness. Hicks stressed the importance of hand washing with a UV disclosure center, which illuminated the bacteria in members unwashed hands through the use of “glow germ,” a lotion which makes bacteria phosphorescent under a black light.
The culmination of the project’s exercise is having the members’ meat processed, packaged and sold to the community at the local farmers market on its opening day, May 4.
“There is major interest in our community to learn how to market our agricultural products directly,” said Dr. Mario Villiarino, Hopkins County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources. “Direct marketing involves the farmer and the customer without the middleman. Our 4-H Ag Marketers Project is intended to educate our 4-H members to market their products directly into our community by using the Sulphur Springs Farmers’ Market.”
Villiarino says both frozen meat and cooked meats will be available for purchase at the market. The Hopkins County Extension Office will be taking orders and delivering the meat as long as supplies last. For more information about the project or to buy some of the products, call the Extension Office at 903-885-3443
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