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Beef Counts program feeding the hungry

One in six children goes to bed hungry at night, which is a staggering number to consider. The USDA recommends 6 ounces of protein per day, but food banks across the country have a hard time filling that nutritional need for the food scarce individuals in their communities. For example, at the Second Harvest Inland Northwest food bank located in the state of Washington, is only able to provide 0.7 ounces per day, per person.

That’s why Washington’s beef industry is coming together to help feed beef to the people in the area. The food bank serves 40,000 people each week; 40 percent of those people are children and 13 percent are seniors. Agri Beef Co., the Washington State Beef Commission, Washington Cattlemen’s Association, Washington Cattle Feeders Association, Washington CattleWomen’s Association and Washington Livestock Marketing Association have established and endorsed a program called Beef Counts. Their aim: to provide high-quality beef protein to Washington’s hungry.

“Local farmers, ranchers and feeders are invited to join the effort by donating cattle or cash to the program,” said Patti Brumbach, an employee with the Washington Beef Council. “Agri Beef Co. will then process and distribute family packs of beef to Second Harvest throughout the year. Agri Beef Co. is also providing a 50 percent matching contribution making each individual donation go even further.”



Beef Counts has also found great success in Idaho. Traci O’Donnell with the Idaho Beef Council, spearheads the effort in that state. Both O’Donnell and Brumbach agree that Beef Counts helps draw attention to the issue of food security and demonstrate the beef industry’s commitment to help fight hunger.

“Producers interested in participating may donate the proceeds from the sale of cattle or cash to the Beef Counts program at any of the participating auctions or feedlots listed on the Web site,” said Brumbach. “Second Harvest is a 501(c)3 organization and all donations are tax-deductible. The publicity from Beef Counts will help put a face on Washington’s beef industry and educate consumers about the importance of beef protein in the diets of undernourished people.”



In November 2010, Washington and Idaho worked with the Missouri Beef Council to put together a program called, “Farmers Care About Feeding Missouri,” where six live-remote radio broadcasts outside of supermarkets called for donations of food and matched those donations. At the end, Missouri producers were able to donate 15,000 lbs. of food – including beef – to food banks throughout the state of Missouri. Whitney Wallace headed the effort in Missouri, and the example set in these states is growing in popularity throughout the country.

“We are very proud of this program because it is important to enhance the image of the beef industry in our state,” added Brumbach. “The beef checkoff is involved in making sure the story is told to consumers. The fundraising effort has also been highly successful. To date, we have raised over $80,000 to provide beef to our communities and neighbors in need.”

Brumbach said the main message that Missouri, Idaho and Washington are trying to communicate is the importance of protein to people in need.

“Less than 4 percent of food bank donations are in the form of protein and most of that protein is peanut butter,” explained Brumbach. “This gives us the opportunity to fill a very important nutritional void with those in need and talk about the power of beef protein in nutritious diets. We have had consumers thank us for the generosity. The thanks and the gratitude is very special to everyone participating. Each roast donated has a label on it with the note, ‘Provided courtesy of Washington’s Beef Industry – United Against Hunger.’ Recipients also receive a recipe brochure featuring economical recipes, storage and handling and nutrition information.”

Food insecurity awareness is a growing problem as the price of food increases amidst an economy slow to recover.

“We have groups promoting Meatless Mondays and discouraging the use of production technologies that help assure a safe and wholesome product at an affordable price,” added Brumbach. “There’s a very wide gap between those promoting their food agendas and the day-to-day reality of those struggling to put food on their tables, whether locally or throughout the world.”

Ranchers can get involved at home by working with their state industry organizations. Efforts like these are win-win for everyone involved. First, the donations are helping to feed the hungry. Second, ranchers are able to take part in a hands-on community service project. And, finally, the media is finally recognizing the good work producers do on a daily basis to feed the world.

One in six children goes to bed hungry at night, which is a staggering number to consider. The USDA recommends 6 ounces of protein per day, but food banks across the country have a hard time filling that nutritional need for the food scarce individuals in their communities. For example, at the Second Harvest Inland Northwest food bank located in the state of Washington, is only able to provide 0.7 ounces per day, per person.

That’s why Washington’s beef industry is coming together to help feed beef to the people in the area. The food bank serves 40,000 people each week; 40 percent of those people are children and 13 percent are seniors. Agri Beef Co., the Washington State Beef Commission, Washington Cattlemen’s Association, Washington Cattle Feeders Association, Washington CattleWomen’s Association and Washington Livestock Marketing Association have established and endorsed a program called Beef Counts. Their aim: to provide high-quality beef protein to Washington’s hungry.

“Local farmers, ranchers and feeders are invited to join the effort by donating cattle or cash to the program,” said Patti Brumbach, an employee with the Washington Beef Council. “Agri Beef Co. will then process and distribute family packs of beef to Second Harvest throughout the year. Agri Beef Co. is also providing a 50 percent matching contribution making each individual donation go even further.”

Beef Counts has also found great success in Idaho. Traci O’Donnell with the Idaho Beef Council, spearheads the effort in that state. Both O’Donnell and Brumbach agree that Beef Counts helps draw attention to the issue of food security and demonstrate the beef industry’s commitment to help fight hunger.

“Producers interested in participating may donate the proceeds from the sale of cattle or cash to the Beef Counts program at any of the participating auctions or feedlots listed on the Web site,” said Brumbach. “Second Harvest is a 501(c)3 organization and all donations are tax-deductible. The publicity from Beef Counts will help put a face on Washington’s beef industry and educate consumers about the importance of beef protein in the diets of undernourished people.”

In November 2010, Washington and Idaho worked with the Missouri Beef Council to put together a program called, “Farmers Care About Feeding Missouri,” where six live-remote radio broadcasts outside of supermarkets called for donations of food and matched those donations. At the end, Missouri producers were able to donate 15,000 lbs. of food – including beef – to food banks throughout the state of Missouri. Whitney Wallace headed the effort in Missouri, and the example set in these states is growing in popularity throughout the country.

“We are very proud of this program because it is important to enhance the image of the beef industry in our state,” added Brumbach. “The beef checkoff is involved in making sure the story is told to consumers. The fundraising effort has also been highly successful. To date, we have raised over $80,000 to provide beef to our communities and neighbors in need.”

Brumbach said the main message that Missouri, Idaho and Washington are trying to communicate is the importance of protein to people in need.

“Less than 4 percent of food bank donations are in the form of protein and most of that protein is peanut butter,” explained Brumbach. “This gives us the opportunity to fill a very important nutritional void with those in need and talk about the power of beef protein in nutritious diets. We have had consumers thank us for the generosity. The thanks and the gratitude is very special to everyone participating. Each roast donated has a label on it with the note, ‘Provided courtesy of Washington’s Beef Industry – United Against Hunger.’ Recipients also receive a recipe brochure featuring economical recipes, storage and handling and nutrition information.”

Food insecurity awareness is a growing problem as the price of food increases amidst an economy slow to recover.

“We have groups promoting Meatless Mondays and discouraging the use of production technologies that help assure a safe and wholesome product at an affordable price,” added Brumbach. “There’s a very wide gap between those promoting their food agendas and the day-to-day reality of those struggling to put food on their tables, whether locally or throughout the world.”

Ranchers can get involved at home by working with their state industry organizations. Efforts like these are win-win for everyone involved. First, the donations are helping to feed the hungry. Second, ranchers are able to take part in a hands-on community service project. And, finally, the media is finally recognizing the good work producers do on a daily basis to feed the world.


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