Five UI students will learn about Germany’s meat industry
Five University of Idaho College of Agricultural and Life Sciences students will be attending an international trade fair focused on meat in Frankfurt, Germany and gaining insights on Germany’s meat industry, its culture and history.
And no, says Ron Richard, Vandal Brand Meats manager, meat science instructor and tour guide, the trip is not focused on hot dogs. Frankfurters are pretty much an American adaptation.
The five students, all of them employees of the college’s Vandal Brand Meats, will visit the trade fair, equipment companies and explore the meat processing industry in Germany. The students include animal and veterinary science students Maggie Reynolds, Drew Papineau and Sara Gray; agricultural engineering student Daniel Flick and agricultural economics student Savannah McGarry.
The fair is held every three years and is one of the world’s major events for equipment manufacturers and their customers. The college’s meat shop, which functions as a laboratory and student training center, uses equipment made by several German manufacturers.
The trip is funded with contributions by the Northwest Meat Processors Association, Montana Meat Processors Association, CALS Academic Programs office, Vandal Brand Meats and other sources. Equipment manufacturers Tipper Tie, Reiser Inc., Enviro-Pak, Walton’s, Multivac Co. and others also contributed.
“They have seminars that students will be able to pick and choose from and over 1,000 exhibitors with cutting-edge technology from the slaughter floor to final distribution,” Richard said.
The students will also visit four meat companies in the Frankfurt area during a tour organized by the American Association of Meat Processors.
Two equipment manufacturers who produced equipment used in the Moscow campus operation will host the students on factory tours.
After the conference ends, the group will head south to Bavaria to visit old world meat shops, an equipment manufacturer and historic sites including Neuschwanstein Castle, which inspired Walt Disney’s design of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.
The tour will include a stop in Munich and the Hofbräuhaus, the centuries-old beer hall of international renown. The students will also visit Dachau, the infamous concentration camp.
The meat shops will be a return to artisan processing methods and a personal journey for Richard, who served in the U.S. Air Force there in the 1970s.
“We’re going to stop by and see them. They’re very small operations, but they’re very unique,” Richard said. “It’s all kind of the old world, old German, artisan. There’s modern equipment but everything like curing, the drying, the processing is still done the old way.”
“When you walk into their shop, there aren’t a lot of coolers,” he said. “Everything is just kind of hanging. It’s all shelf stable. So it’s interesting.”
The shops produce salamis, hams and other products. “Over there, there are all kinds of sausages,” Richard said. “But you won’t find a German sausage. Only in America do you find a German sausage."