Secretary Naig Announces Artisanal Butchery Task Force Members

DES MOINES, Iowa (Aug. 24, 2021) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today announced members appointed to the Artisanal Butchery Task Force, which will study workforce challenges in the meat processing industry, specifically for small-scale meat lockers. The task force will be chaired by Sec. Naig and consist of meat locker owners from across the state, livestock producers, and professionals from the public and private sector who have a vast knowledge of the industry.

During the 2021 legislative session, lawmakers passed House File 857, which charged the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship with establishing the Butchery Innovation Task Force to study workforce issues in the meat processing industry. The legislation also established a grant program jointly administered by the Department and Iowa Economic Development Authority to help lockers purchase equipment to increase production and create jobs.

“When I visit meat lockers across Iowa throughout the year, I typically hear about two major challenges they face: difficulty affording upgrades to grow their businesses and a lack of skilled workers that hampers their ability to increase processing capacity,” said Naig.

“I’m proud that Iowa is taking a multi-pronged approach to tackling these issues and excited to lead the Artisanal Butchery task force to figure out the best path forward to address our locker’s workforce challenges. We have assembled a top-tier group of folks who bring a wealth of expertise and experience to the table and I look forward to what this group comes up with.”

The task force will study the feasibility of establishing an artisanal butchery program at a community college or at Regent institution. The task force will consider things such as apprenticeship and internship opportunities, employment outlook for graduates, and potential program enrollment and costs. A report with findings and potential recommendations is due to the Iowa General Assembly by the end of the year.

Task force membership will include:

  • Secretary Mike Naig (Chair), Iowa Secretary of Agriculture
  • Jerry Roorda, In’t Veld’s Meat Market
  • Ty Gustafson, Story City Locker
  • Baili Maurer, Edgewood Locker
  • Dan Julin, Arcadia Meats
  • Dave Walter, Corning Meat Processing
  • Kent Wiese, Amend’s Packing Company
  • Ned Skoglund, Skoglund Meats
  • Laura Cunningham, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association
  • Steve Kerns, Iowa Pork Producers
  • Fred Long, Iowa Conservation Alliance
  • Dave Grunklee, Hawkeye Community College
  • Dr. Terry Houser, Iowa State Meat Lab
  • Chef John Andres, Iowa Culinary Institute
  • Jeff Cook, Fareway Stores
  • Dr. Kathryn Polking, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship
  • Brad Frisvold, Iowa Economic Development Authority
  • Kathy Leggett, Future Ready Iowa
  • Jake Swanson, Governor’s Office

The Artisanal Butchery Task Force will hold its first meeting at on Tuesday, Sept. 7.

WHAT:          Artisanal Butchery Task Force

WHEN:          Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021 at 1 p.m.             

WHERE:        Second Floor Conference Room, Wallace State Office Building

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About the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

Led by Secretary Mike Naig, the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship serves the rural and urban residents that call Iowa home. Through its 14 diverse bureaus, the Department ensures animal health, food safety and consumer protection. It also promotes conservation efforts to preserve our land and enhance water quality for the next generation. Learn more at iowaagriculture.gov.

Media Contact:
Keely Coppess
Communications Director
(515) 326-1616           
Keely.Coppess@IowaAgriculture.gov