I have been involved with the Bureau County Cattlemen since 1986. This organization does a tremendous job of supporting the community in Bureau County, and I would like to tell you about their activities.
The Cattlemen offer scholarships to Illinois Beef Association members’ children. The amounts vary, depending on the number of applicants, but usually $500 - $750. We have been doing this for more than 20 years.
We all know that schools have very tight budgets, so the Cattlemen have sent $200 per year to each of the four high schools that have foods classes. The teachers can use this money to buy beef for cooking class, visit a butcher shop or however the teacher deems fit to help the kids better understand how to prepare and/or buy beef. We have also been able to work with the Illinois Beef Association to get the class multiple recipes, beef cookbooks, and beef cut charts. This project has a 12-year history.
Being involved with the Ag Fair has been fun. For 17 years the Cattlemen have had a steer at our booth to help teach Bureau County fourth-graders about raising and caring for cattle. We inform them about the types and kinds of feed that we use and how long it takes to raise an animal to harvest weight. They also learn about stock cows and calves and what other ways cattle benefit our lives besides meat. In other words, how we use the rest of the animal in our daily lives. The Cattlemen also supply a monetary donation to Farm Bureau to help put on this tremendous educational opportunity.
The last project I will mention has only about a four-year history, and we would like more people to be aware of it. May is Beef Month and the Cattlemen have teamed up with the American Red Cross to offer 10, $10 Beef certificates to successful donors at their May 3 Blood Drive. All successful donors names will be put in a hat and 10 people will receive a $10 gift certificate. Five will be from Sullivan’s, and five will be from Wyanet Locker. Be a hero, donate blood and maybe win a beef certificate!
I am writing about the above to show that Cattlemen care about their community, and we have always appreciated the community’s support of Beef Days. This is our event to raise money to be able to support our projects throughout the year. We sincerely hope you will also come out to watch our Jackpot Steer and Heifer Shows at the fairgrounds on Saturday during Beef Days.
Cattlemen also care about their animals and supplying a safe, nutritious and reasonably priced product. Recently beef has been getting a black eye over the use of “lean, finely textured beef” or LFTB. There is another name, but I refuse to use that inflammatory term. Learn the FACTS. Go to www.illinoisbeef.com, http://beefisbeef.com or www.explorebeef.org. These websites contain very good, very true, useful information.
Another source of information is this week’s (April 9) Farm Week publication. You get this if you are an “M” member of Farm Bureau. You can also get it by going to the Farm Bureau office. They have extra copies, and you could probably get several copies to send to your urban relatives.
In the same issue of Farm Week, on the back page, is a tremendous article from one of the “Field Moms” I have written about in a prior article. This urban mom writes about visiting a hog farm and getting “all the facts.” It is a confirmation of Steve Cowser’s great column of two weeks ago. To learn more about these urban moms and their farm visits, go to Illinois Farm Families or www.watchusgrow.org. It is a tremendous site, and it tracks Field Moms exploding the vile and false information being promoted by anti-livestock groups. Please stand up for farmers and pass on these websites to your urban friends and relatives. As I have said before, a country that cannot feed itself is a lost cause.
Enjoy this beautiful weather, have a safe and productive spring, but please remember to give blood May 3. Remember “Beef is what’s for dinner.”
Larry Magnuson has a cow-calf operation and is a dues director of the Illinois Beef Association