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Beef Councils offer grants to ‘Beef Up’ classrooms


As school budgets get smaller, Beef Councils around the country are offering grant programs for teachers looking to “Beef Up” their classrooms. These grant programs allow teachers and students opportunities to learn more about beef by cooking in a hands-on, educational setting.

One such program in Arizona is offering middle and high school culinary and agricultural teachers the opportunity to apply for grants to purchase beef for their classroom lesson plans through August 26.

Funded through the Arizona Cattle Industry Foundation in conjunction with beef farmers and ranchers through checkoff dollars, each teacher can secure up to $100 each year to purchase beef. Last year, over 3,100 Arizona students enjoyed cooking with beef, learning about cooking techniques, budget-friendly options, and ranching sustainability.

Esther Skinner, the culinary instructor at Barry Goldwater High School commented on the program saying, “Students LOVED the beef lessons and learned how to grill for the first time. Most students did not know you could eat beef when it was still pink in the center. These lessons definitely ranked as their favorites through the years.”   

Another high school teacher, April Moncur, culinary instructor at Camelback High School shared, “I am grateful for this opportunity to provide this beef for my students. The process for this grant was teacher-friendly and very supportive of my program. Thank you!”  

Students cooking beef during culinary class (image courtesy of the Arizona Beef Council)

Classroom beef programs in other states

Other states are also offering exceptional opportunities to learn about beef through classroom grants and partnerships with Ag in the Classroom. Teachers interested in educational grant programs are encouraged to reach out to their state Beef Council.

“The Beef Certificate Program is an invaluable resource for educators and students alike,” said Abby Heidari, director of nutrition for the Kansas Beef Council. “Educators and consumers often turn to one-sided documentaries to learn about beef production. Thanks to this Checkoff-funded resource, students and educators are receiving the true story about beef production while also learning how to prepare beef at home.” 

“It is crucial to provide these students with the resources they need to understand how beef can play a role in their everyday lives,” said Angie Horkan, Wisconsin Beef Council director of marketing. “We are proud to offer these grants to stimulate conversations about raising beef, utilizing the product, and finding careers in the industry.”

“We enjoy the Pennsylvania Beef Council program each year and the education it provides our students. We are very thankful for the support, and it provides an opportunity for students to expand their knowledge of beef,” said Mike Stafford, Middle Bucks Institute of Technology

The New York Beef Council has an exceptional program with classroom grants and a Top Cut Beef Contest held in partnership with New York Agriculture in the Classroom. 

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