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Beef in schools

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Published on Jan. 25, 2020

A small rural school of 160 students, serving kindergarten to 12th grade, in Hulett were the recipients of a new beef program sponsored by Crook County Cattlewomen. The program has now been expanded to include the Moorcroft and Sundance schools.  

            Instead of the highly processed soy-based meat traditionally served for the lunch programs, students and staff at these schools now enjoy locally-grown, pure beef.  

            The Crook County Cattlewomen started the pilot program, “Beef for the Hulett School” in the spring of 2018.  The program was mirrored after a similar program in Montana and has been well received by the Crook County School District, who was very much in favor of the program. The school district has since received a grant from the State of Wyoming to help pay the processing fees.

            The school cooks report receiving far more compliments from both staff and students when they are served the donated beef for lunch. Supersizing, when students go back for seconds, has more than doubled from the soy-based meat previously served, and the lunch count has increased with older students staying at school for their meals.

            To begin, the Cattlewomen sent out 50 letters to local Hulett area ranchers, telling them about the program and asking for USDA-certified beef or monetary donations.  If cattle were donated, but needed to be fed out, the Hulett FFA program would buy feed and feed out the beef with these donations.

            Market steers, open heifers, cull cows and cull bulls are the types of beef requested for donation. The steers and heifers are processed for ground beef, roasts and select cuts, while the cull cows and bulls are mostly used for hamburger.  

            The roasts will be used for shredded beef recipes for special school functions.

            In order to keep the program, running, Crook County Cattlewomen will continually need donations and urges local ranchers to consider donating.  

            When Crook County Cattlewomen is notified of a donation, the school of choice is contacted. The rancher then needs to arrange a time and date with Sturgis Meat Service, a USDA-certified processor, for processing.  

            When processing is complete, the beef is transported to the central office in Sundance where it is stored due to limited freezer space in the smaller schools. 

            As the lunch program needs beef, a representative from each school picks up what they need from Sundance. At this time, Hulett has enough beef, but ranchers can donate to Sundance or Moorcroft.

            To date, cattle from the Dacar family, the Wolfskill family, the Wolf family, FA Bush Ranch, Jensen Livestock LLC, Muleshoe Ranch, Jim Geis and Ista Ranch have been sent to the processor. Monetary donations have been received from Jensen Livestock LLC, Ted and Joellen Parsons, Jerry Fish and Ruth Ann Collins and Ben and Amy Pravecek.

            To continue the program, Crook County Cattlewomen will always need more donations! Anyone wishing to donate can contact Cattlewomen Criss Neiman at 307-467-5245 or Tracy Bush at 307-467-5352.

            This article is courtesy of Crook County Cattlewomen. Please send comments on this article to roundup@wylr.net.

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