WILBURTON, OKLA. – Eastern Oklahoma State College was awarded a $600,000 grant on Sept. 1 by the Oklahoma Agriculture Enhancement and Diversification Board to buy new equipment for its meat program and processing facility.
The grant came from $10 million in state funding that was recently made available to the school.
“We are thrilled to have been chosen as a recipient for this grant,” said Larriann Livingston, dean of the Eastern Agriculture Division. “These funds will allow us to make much-needed updates and improvements to our processing facility and better serve our students and customers.”
The funds will be used to expand freezer space, update cooling rooms and purchase new equipment. Livingston said the upgrades will allow the program to increase production by processing beef from the college’s farm. Outside customers will also be able to have custom harvesting options.
“With these implementations, the processing facility will be able to increase the number of animals being harvested for custom harvest, as well as create an opportunity to harvest our own college beef,” Livingston said. “With Eastern beef, our goal is to produce a premium, single-source beef product that can be sold to local schools, nursing homes, community centers and others within the community.”
The grant will provide updated teaching methods and allow the school to expose students to new types of technology. Livingston also sees the grants as a way for students to understand how to run a successful business.
The college currently employs one instructor/plant manager. This grant will help staff make improvements and give students a better sense of the meat industry.
“With these updates, we can ensure students are getting the best education possible and gaining the knowledge they need to succeed in the industry,” Livingston said. “Many of our students will go on to become meat cutters, plant managers or even inspectors. The best education is crucial for not only their career, but for the future of the meat and food science industry, as well.”