VSU offers mobile processing unit certification program

Small Farm Outreach Program
Small Farm Outreach Program sign at Randolph Farm. Photo courtesy Virginia State University.

Virginia State University is offering a certification program for its new Small Ruminant Mobile Processing Unit.

The program will be held on Saturdays beginning Aug. 28 through Sept. 25 from 9 a.m. to noon to train producers how to use the new unit to process their sheep and goats for market. Only certified producers who have completed the five-module certification program will be allowed to lease and use the unit.

The certification includes four online virtual sessions that will be held on Aug. 28, Sept. 11, Sept. 18 and Sept. 25. After completing the online sessions, producers must also complete a two-day hands-on training session at Randolph Farm at 4415 River Road, Petersburg. The two-day session, which is required for certification, will be offered on Oct. 9-10, Nov. 6-7 and Dec. 4-5.

Additional sessions will be added based on participant demand. Participants can select which two-day session they want to attend. The program fee is $100. Registration is required for every participant.

To register, visit www.ext.vsu.edu/calendar, click on the event and then click on the registration link.

Modules will include mobile processing unit design and usage; sheep and goat harvesting; carcass fabrication; state and federal regulations; marketing your products; and hands-on training on operating the unit. Participants will learn all the steps needed to ensure the equipment operates safely before processing, during processing, humane harvesting, carcass cooling/hanging and fabrication.

A certificate of competence will be awarded upon completion of assignment(s), including passing a quiz and demonstrating required butchering and fabrication skills.

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