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State ag officials want to expand sausage and specialty meat production

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Brats on the grill
Brats on the grill
Livestock specialist Jeff Sw... (Download MP3)

MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) - State agriculture officials want to help you expand and grow Wisconsin's specialty meat processing industry.

The Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection is offering the help of the Specialty Meat Development Center to people looking to create a new business or find new markets for their current business. Livestock specialist Jeff Swenson says there's a strong history of sausages and other meat processing in the state. "Butcher shops grew up around the stockyards so that people could buy German style sausages and Swedish style sausages, and then the dairy industry came around and we needed a way to use that byproduct."

The Development Center is a way for officials to connect experts to producers to expand the industry. Swenson says they're able to bring in a wide array of people for each group looking for help. "That may be people from the UW meat lab, people from the Department of Agriculture, consultant, and we're able to put together a team to help walk someone through opening a business or developing a meat product."

Last month, Governor Scott Walker announced that an agreement between DATCP and the U.S. Department of Agriculture now allows qualifying state-inspected meat processors to ship across state lines. That means that you can now expand your markets farther and reach more customers. Swenson says meat processing is a major part of the economy. "Wisconsin meat facilities are a $12.2 billion business and employ about 19,000 people directly."

The experts can help you develop new business plans, work on new recipes or products or more. Learn more at http://datcp.wi.gov/Business/Specialty_Meat_Development_Center.

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