The Cuming County Feeders Association held a kick-off celebration Thursday evening at ASC Lockers in West Point for the Cuming County Beef in Schools program. CCFA President Todd Schroeder of Wisner says the intent of the program is two-fold, first to provide locally sourced, high quality beef for every school district in Cuming County, and second, to increase the number of times beef appears on the schools’ menus. In conversations with school administrators in the county, Schroeder says beef was at the center of the plate roughly 4-5 times per month. He says it would be great to double that with the help of this program.
The meeting started off with an update from Nebraska Beef Council’s Anne Marie Bosshammer. She talked about how the checkoff is engaged with decision-makers and dieticians, and how they can showcase modern beef production systems. She says Nebraska is unique, because visitors can see the complete beef cycle, from grain production to ranching and feedlots to processing and presentation, all within 24 hours. Bosshammer also highlighted efforts on advertising to millennials here domestically, and also working with the U.S. Meat Export Federation to promote U.S. beef in foreign markets. For example, she says the NE Beef Council has set aside additional monies for USMEF to use in developing markets in China now that US Beef is once again allowed in that country.
Next the group toured the facility, including the butchering area, smoke room, processing floor, and coolers. A USDA inspector was on hand to explain how hanging carcasses are graded. He talked about new technology in grading beef, including using a sophisticated, hand-made camera that will size the ribeye and determine the level of marbling in the ribeye. People also viewed several hanging carcasses from different breeds, and also an example of a grass-fed beef carcass.
Schroeder says four carcasses have been donated so far for the Cuming County Beef in Schools program, which will be process by ASC Lockers and then the meat given to each school district in Cuming County – including Wisner-Pilger, Bancroft-Rosalie, West Point-Beemer Public, and Guardian Angles Central Catholic in West Point. He says the goal is to have 40 donated steers or heifers to get through the school year. Schroeder says this effort will take a little bit of coordination to keep the beef supply constant to schools. So if you’re interested in donating a beef, contact ASC Lockers. Their phone number is 402-372-6956.
To hear the interview with Todd Schroeder about the Cuming County Beef in Schools program, click on “Ag Podcasts” under the news tab at the top of the page.