ALBANY — The mission of the New York Beef Council is to enhance the lives of consumers by connecting them with BEEF and they are doing just that this fall through a partnership with the New York Agriculture in the Classroom program. Classrooms from throughout New York State will have three opportunities to engage with the Beef Checkoff learning about beef and its journey from pasture to plate.
New this year NYBC and NYAITC will offer two virtual farm field trips, one for students K-5th and one for students 6th-12th. With field trip and transportation funding becoming scarcer every school year, teachers can still give their students an interactive look at farms and food-related industries. Live virtual field trips are engaging because students have the chance to ask the farmers questions in real time.
Students will visit O’Mara Farms, owned by Paul and Cindy O’Mara and located in Madison County, New York. Chrissy Claudio, along with her husband Cory and their daughter Addison, joined the team in 2017. As a diversified farm, they grow crops including corn, wheat, barley, rye, hay, and snap beans and have a Black Angus cow/calf herd. Their total herd now includes over 450 total head and they deliver over 140 calves annually. During the field trips students will learn about the beef lifecycle, cattle care, and environmental stewardship practices on their farm. Visit the Upcoming Events section of the New York Beef Council website (nybeef.org) for more details.
In addition to exploring life on the farm classrooms also have the opportunity to learn about the marketing, preparation, and cooking of beef through the Top Cuts Beef Contest and Beef for the Classroom grant. Top Cuts is an exciting cross-curricular program with elementary, middle and high school divisions. This experiential learning contest allows students to creatively develop a marketing strategy for a product of their choice, while learning about the multitude of agricultural careers and skills it takes to develop and sell a product. Students will also learn about beef production and beef nutrition as a result of participation. New this year- students are being challenged to develop a recipe that could be sold in a food truck! More information is available at agclassroom.org under programs.
Beef for the Classroom Grant applications are being accepted for the 2019-2020 school year. Every year, teachers apply to have their beef purchases for classroom teaching reimbursed. Schools may be reimbursed up to $100 for beef purchases. Family and Consumer, Agriculture Sciences, Health Education, and Culinary instructors are all encouraged to apply. For more information visit nybeef.org/classroom-resources.
These programs are made possible through support from the Iowa Beef Industry Council.
–New York Beef Council