Beef Up Iowa to process 4-H, FFA cattle for food banks statewide
Agriculture students and staff at Iowa State University will soon begin processing Iowa-raised beef for food banks and pantries across the state through Beef Up Iowa. The initiative, part of Gov. Kim Reynolds’ Feeding Iowans Task Force, is a partnership announced last week between the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and ISU with Iowa beef producers. The goal is to address increased demand from Iowa food banks and food pantries during the pandemic and reduced processing options for beef producers. One steer can provide 2,000 meals for food-insecure Iowans. Students and staff at the Iowa State University Meat Lab will be processing cattle from Iowa beef producers, with a goal of processing 110 cattle by year-end. The first cattle to be processed, expected to be delivered July 1, will be sourced from Iowa 4-H and Future Farmers of America members. The beef will be distributed through the Iowa Food Bank Association and the six Iowa food banks that service the state. The governor allocated $100,000 from federal CARES Act funds to help cover processing costs; organizers hope to raise at least $200,000 in private donations to help cover costs of purchasing cattle and storage, transportation and delivery of the beef to food banks and pantries. To donate money to help support the program, visit the Iowa Cattlemen’s Foundation at donorbox.org/beefupiowa.