Ranchers Support Local Schools With Beef

Ranchers Support Local Schools With Beef

I’m KayDee Gilkey with today’s Northwest Farm and Ranch Report after this.

Three years ago when Oregon’s Baker County Livestock Association discovered that their local schools couldn’t afford to serve beef, but rather were serving beef-like soy nuggets the ranchers knew they had to do something.

Arritola: “At that time in the Baker School District there was no beef being served and you are in a county with 45,000 mother cows and the children in school are eating no red meat.”

That’s Martin Arritola, President of the Baker County Livestock Association, explaining the impetus behind the Beef for School program. He shares the difference the local donated beef has made to the six local school districts’ 2,400 students.

Arritola: “We’ve had amazing support for the program. Like I said, we started in January of 2009 and including those first three cows, to date as of January 1, 2012, we’ve donated 61 cows from 36 ranches, 22,000 pounds - which equates to about 84,000 quarter pound hamburgers. It is about a $31,000 donation from our local ranchers over a three year period directly in to the schools in the form of meat.”

It costs the Baker County Livestock Association approximately $450 to process each animal. The local community service clubs and other private donors have stepped up and helped support the program by contributing nearly two-thirds of the hamburger processing costs at a local USDA-certified packing facility.

Since the livestock association has started this program, several other Oregon county cattlemen’s association have began similar programs around the state.

I’m KayDee Gilkey on Northwest Aginfo Net. 

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