Beef Up Iowa will help connect farmers with consumers in need
By Diego Flammini
A new program in Iowa is designed to help beef producers with limited processing options due to COVID-19 share their meat with families facing food insecurity.
The Beef Up Iowa program is a partnership between the State Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University (ISU) and cattle producers. It’s also a component of Gov. Kim Reynolds’ Feeding Iowans Task Force.
The program is scheduled to begin July 1.
ISU students and employees will work with participating beef producers to help them process cattle. Iowa 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA) members will provide the first animals for the program.
Processing will continue through the summer if funding remains, and beef will be distributed through the Iowa Food Bank Association.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a spotlight on the importance of Iowa agriculture and how our agriculture community continues to rise to the challenge of feeding those in need,” Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig said in a statement. “This program is a unique opportunity to deliver beef raised by 4-H and FFA members and processed by Iowa students to feeding programs across the state.”
Some of the funding for processing and distribution will come from Iowa’s share of dollars through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Anyone interested in supporting the program can donate through the Iowa Cattlemen’s Foundation.
Farms.com has reached out to Iowa FFA and beef producers for comment.