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Niche Meat Marketing and Mentorship Program

  • Build a foundation for youth to realize opportunities that exist in different marketing channels for cattle and other meat animals.
  • Provide youth with the tools and mentoring to develop a completed meat marketing plan that can serve as a model for themselves, their family’s operation, or other ranchers in their region.
  • This program harnesses the creativity and innovative thinking of students to provide New Mexico’s livestock producers with evidence of local opportunities to increase profits, diversify operations, and identify vertical integration possibilities.

Who Should Enroll?

Youth, ages 13 to 20 years old with an interest ranching, farming, marketing, and entrepreneurship. Current active membership in youth agricultural organizations including, but not limited to FFA or 4-H is not required but is encouraged for second semester team competition.

Program Description

The Niche Meat Marketing and Mentorship Program occurs in two parts:

Western Meat School

Is an innovative learning experience where farmers, ranchers, butchers, and others will learn how to direct market meat.

Each enrolled youth will receive a scholarship from the Niche Meat Processors Assistance Network to enroll in the six-week Western Meat School.  The school begins November 4, 2020 and goes through December 16th.

During the Western Meat School, youth will have an opportunity to learn from national experts, and actively participate in both producer and youth breakout sessions. 

Upon successful completion of Western Meat School, youth are encouraged to develop a student team (composed of 2 to 6 members) to propose a concept to market New Mexico meat. Deadline to submit a team concept to the mentoring team is January 1, 2021.

Niche Meat Marketing and Mentorship

After approval of the team concept, each team will enroll in the Niche Meat Marketing Plan Contest during the Spring 2021 semester. In this phase, participating youth will apply the lessons from the Western Meat School to build a successful meat marketing plan.  Throughout the semester, they will receive mentorship from program leaders and industry experts to help develop their niche meat marketing plan.

During this phase, students will participate in a series of virtual learning and mentoring workshops to develop an innovative marketing plan that will include in-depth sessions on:

  • market analysis 
  • competitor analysis 
  • business propositions 
  • action plans, and 
  • financial analysis

Student teams will submit an Executive Summary of their business and marketing plan by May 1, 2021.

Teams will present their project and compete for scholarships and prizes at the 2021 Summer Business Meeting of the New Mexico Cattlegrowers in Ruidoso in June.

Is In-Person Attendance Required?

No. Both the Western Meat School and the 2021 Spring semester mentorship program will be conducted in a virtual format, allowing students from across the state to participate in live sessions with the option to review recorded sessions.

Earn College Credit for Completing the Program

New Mexico youth will also have the opportunity to earn college-credit through the dual-credit program offered by Mesalands Community College for successful completion of the Western Meat School and the Niche Meat Marketing and Mentorship Program in the Spring Semester.

Attend a Question and Answer Session to Learn More

Interested youth, parents, and vocational agriculture advisers are invited to a question and answer session scheduled for Monday, October 26th at 5:00 pm at the following Zoom Meeting link. 

Topic: Meat Marketing Plan Q&A

Time: Oct 26, 2020 05:00 PM Mountain Time (US and Canada)

Meeting ID: 983 7944 7598

Program Registration Process

  1. Click the youth registration link
  2. Choose your High School on the registration form. 
    • If you do not see your high school listed please call (505) 927-7935
  3. Upon completion, a document will be sent to confirm registration requiring a signature from the high school counselor, student, and parent/guardian.
  4. A College ID will be assigned with a login to Moodle, Email, and 
    • (Students must log into first and change their password).

The online course will be accessed through Moodle.

Program Mentor Contacts

Manny Encinias, PhD 
(505) 927-7935 
[email protected]

Frannie Miller, PhD 
(575) 636-9305 
[email protected]

Chaddy Robinson, PhD 
(575) 646-5093 
[email protected]

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