Advocating Beef

Advocating Beef

Advocating Beef. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.

So how did you spend your Easter weekend? Most of us probably had a lazy Sunday with the family but Dane Rauschenberg is an extreme athlete, motivational speaker, and author who is an advocate of lean beef and its positive impact on athletes of all types. He's spent a week running 350 miles of the Oregon coast, stopping at various high schools to deliver product samples and his message that beef is a quality source of protein and other nutrients. Michelle Ratcliffe of the Oregon Department of Agriculture says the promotion fits right in with farm to school efforts.

RATCLIFFE: Farm to school is about not only fruits and vegetables, but beef, seafood, all of Oregon's agricultural bounty.

Oregon's farm to school efforts match up local food producers with schools, along with classroom messages about nutrition and where food comes from. The beef promotion is just the latest effort to establish a stronger tie with kids, schools, and the lunch tray.

RATCLIFFE: Farm to school program are maturing and institutionalizing. In the last couple of years, we've gone from a handful of schools to 90 out of our 189 school districts serving Oregon agricultural products. Those 90 school districts pencil out to about 70 percent of the students in Oregon being served.

Audiences for Rauschenberg, the distance runner, have ranged from entire high school student bodies to track teams to health classes. The message is the same- good nutrition is important, lean beef is a good source of nutrition, and Oregon can supply high quality beef products to schools. Ratcliffe says the latest beef promotion is a good example of how to get kids and schools more connected to farms and ranches in Oregon. It also helps local producers access school lunch programs.

RATCLIFFE: It really gets kids excited about eating beef. In many schools across the state, schools are buying Oregon beef and serving it, and promoting it to the kids. And the kids love it.

Ratcliffe shoots down the misconception that farm to school efforts in Oregon only deal with a narrow range of locally produced foods.

RATCLIFFE: Farm to school is maturing in Oregon. It's not just about fresh fruits and vegetables, but also processed fruits and vegetables into main entrees of the meal. It's about protein sources- it's dairy, it's beef, and it's seafood and poultry.

That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network. 

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