BRIDGEPORT PUBLIC SCHOOLS LOCAL BEEF INITIATIVE

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Advantages

We live in a cattle and agricultural community and we need to take advantages of that. We also live a community that has always been generous and supportive of the school, so I know this program will be successful and continue for many years to come. 

Bridgeport

An area school is serving only locally raised beef in the cafeteria to raise awareness of the agricultural base in the community and save funds in the school’s budget. Each of the beef donors is able to feed 500 kids in a day, administrators say. 

Benefits

Bridgeport Public Schools serve ground beef at least once or twice a week in the school cafeteria, BPS Superintendent Chuck Lambert said. With the current price of ground beef at $4 per pound, the hamburgers, sloppy joes, spaghetti, tacos and nachos were costing an average of $6,000-$14,000 per month. The school had requested donations before, but the “Beef Provider of the Month,” program brought a new twist to the idea and has been very well-received in the community. Lambert said within two weeks of launching the program this year, nine area producers have stepped up to donate a cow or fat steer for processing. A beef animal’s value can range from $1,200 to $2,000, depending on the weight, breed and if it is a cow or a steer. 

Beef Provider of the Month

The Beef Provider of the Month promotion was put forward at the Morrill County Fair, but due to the high cost of raising 4-H animals, the animals there were not good candidates for the lunch table donations. However, Lambert said, the awareness in the farm community mushroomed after the announcement at the fair, bringing several producers to the table. School Board Member Jeff Pohl is excited about the Beef Provider program in the school. “It’s an excellent way to build awareness about beef among our children,” Pohl said. “Beef is an important part of our community and the economy. It’s also a good way to encourage the lunch program to serve more beef, which in turn improves the local economy (again).” All of the beef must be processed at a USDA-approved facility such as KDK Meats in Bridgeport, Lambert said. The cost of cutting and wrapping the beef is far less than the purchase of the beef itself, however, and Lambert anticipates additional donations to help cover those costs, as well. Two individuals have already stepped forward to help pay for processing. During school lunch week, the beef donors will be invited to eat with the students and staff and be recognized. Already a banner in the cafeteria draws attention to the locally raised product and the donors: Phil and Joan Corman, Lapaseotes Feedyard, Dale and Tammi Nichols, Justin and Becky Corman, Weborg Feedlot, the Morrill County Farm Bureau, 3L Farming and Feeding, Jim and Peter G. Lapaseotes, Faessler Farms Ltd. and Jeff and Michelle Pohl. 

Educational Awareness

The menus haven’t changed, Lambert added, but the program is in its infancy and may expand to include FFA observation of beef processing and teachable moments about the health benefits of beef. The superintendent said, in addition, grant funds may be sought next spring for Farm-to-School funding from the United States Department of Agriculture. 

Farm to School Grant Program

The purpose of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program is to assist eligible entities in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools. On an annual basis, USDA awards up to $5 million in competitive grants for training, supporting operations, planning, purchasing equipment, developing school gardens, developing partnerships and implementing farm-to-school programs. New this year, USDA will make about an additional $500,000 available to eligible entities to support conferences, trainings, and events focused on farm-to-school program development. 


Article;August 2014 

2016 - 2017 beef donation members

Coulter Ranch


The Kraupie Family


Andy Co.


Mark, Ryan and Jas Livingston


Trail Animal Clinic


Chuck and Jaylene Lambert


Dale and Tami Nichols


Faessler Farms, Inc.


Justin and Becky Corman


Weborg Feedlot


Lapaseotes Feedyard


Phil and Joan Corman


Three L Farming & Feeding


RBA Farms


The Pohl Family