Smoky Sirloin Steak with Tomato Hummus

Butcher Block Talk: Developing Tomorrow's Butcher

K.Swope | February 5, 2021

You asked, we listened. The Butcher Block Talk was back for more after receiving feedback that they turn into a series. On January 28th The Butcher Block Talk featured its 2nd talk of the series: Developing Tomorrow’s Butcher with featured speaker Kari Underly, master butcher and founder of Range Meat Academy. This event gained the interest of more than 80 butchers, processors and small retailers such as farms that sell direct to consumers who registered for the event from across the Northeast Region and beyond. Of those that registered, 37 supply chain members were able to attend the live event. Through promotion efforts via social media, newsletters, and press release close to 3,027 eyes saw Butcher Block Talk information and roughly 225 engaged with Butcher Block Talk Event content prior to the virtual event.  

A third-generation meat cutter, Kari was introduced to the trade by her father at Underly's Market, a butcher shop and ice cream parlor in South Bend, Indiana. As an adult, she entered a three-year meat cutting apprenticeship program and became a journeyman meat cutter with Martin's Super Market in South Bend. Over time, Kari continued to develop her cutting skills and product knowledge as well as her business savvy and instincts for merchandising and marketing. Today, retailers, foodservice operators, associations, chefs, and farmers across the country regularly tap into Kari's expertise. 

With many consumers now turning towards local butcher and processor establishments, the demand for labor in the butchery trade is growing. Attendees listened in to Kari touch on how the opportunities that are available to those now out of work from foodservice shut down, the job market outlook on butcher and meat cutter jobs at both large and small operations as well as how to develop the next generation of butchers through both hands-on apprenticeships and technology-based learning modules such as Learning Management Systems or even ZOOM classrooms. The following are just a few takeaways for participants that joined the LIVE talk:

"It was great to know that there are opportunities available to us. Knowing that there are not only a lot of women interested and involved in meat science, but that we are also working towards developing and educating more in the field of meat science and processing with innovative learning systems beyond just in-person." - Samantha Cureton 

"Thankful to learn that there are different avenues to prepare people for a field which will need more help in the immediate future." - Kyle Zook

Following the session, Checkoff staff sent all engaged participants a Butcher Block Talk package complete with beef jerky, beef-branded notebooks, coasters, and NEBPI Supply Chain information card to not only keep beef top of mind in their operations but to provide information and resources to support their businesses.

Participants were also asked to provide feedback following the conclusion of the talk. Of the attendees surveyed, an overwhelming majority found the meeting to be beneficial, collaborative, and a good use of their time. 89% of attendees surveyed stated that they have a positive opinion when it comes to beef with the remainder of those (11%) stating that their opinion of beef remained neutral. The top 3 reasons attendees tuned in was: to connect and network with fellow beef supply chain members, receive useful information affecting the beef butcher trade and their operations and understand what Butcher Block Talks offered. We look forward to utilizing webinar technologies to continue to connect directly with our supply chain partners within the Northeast region and will continue to plan additional talks in the future.  You can find the Butcher Block Talk: Developing Tomorrow’s Butcher playback recording, here.

The event was made possible by funding support through the Beef Checkoff’s Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative (NEBPI), a subcontractor to the Beef Checkoff. To learn more about the NEBPI program, visit and for more information about your Beef Checkoff investment, visit

Media Contact: Kaitlyn Swope, 814-623-2698; [email protected] 


The Beef Checkoff Program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The Checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States may retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval. Internal links within this document are funded and maintained by the Beef Checkoff.  All other outgoing links are to websites maintained by third parties.