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Mo beef kids program supports local farmers
Missouri Ag Connection - 09/21/2023

Mo Beef Kids is a program that works to put more beef on the menu at area schools. It searches for locally sourced products to increase the amount of protein students consume in order to help them grow and concentrate on their schoolwork.

The program was developed a few years ago by a group of cattlemen who wanted to do more to promote Missouri beef and support local farmers.

Mo Beef Kids connects food professionals from schools with cattle farmers and ranchers. The program also provides educational resources to students about the importance of agriculture to the community.

Luella Gregory, program director for Mo Beef Kids, said that the goal of the program is to "feed hungry kids beef." She explained that beef is a powerhouse when it comes to nutrition, providing 10 essential nutrients and half of our daily protein per serving.

Gregory also noted that the program helps promote local cattle farmers and creates lifelong beef consumers.

One recent donor to the program provided beef sticks, which prompted Mo Beef Kids to develop a beef stick line. The profits from the beef sticks will go back to the program to allow more beef on school trays.

The program is continually looking for donors. At the current level, the R-I school district needs six cows per school year to have beef on the tray at least 40 percent of the time.

With the help of donors and other sponsors, Mo Beef Kids has been able to provide beef for about 50% of the school's menu.

Whitney Keith with OPAA Food Management explained that the Mo Beef champion gets the actual cow donation secured, then makes sure the rancher drops it off at Woods Smoked Meats. The first cow for the school year was dropped off last Tuesday. It takes about three weeks before the beef is processed and ready to be served.

The Mo Beef Kids program is a great way to support local farmers, provide nutritious meals for students, and promote agriculture to the next generation.

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