The Iowa Corn Growers Association contributed to the Beef Up Iowa program, which was launched in July to connect Iowa beef producers with food-insecure Iowans.
Iowa Corn’s Animal Agriculture and the Environment Committee donated funds directly to the Beef Up Iowa program, while Iowa Corn’s District 2 Committee donated funds to purchase a family-owned steer that was processed at Iowa State University. The beef was distributed through the Iowa Food Bank Association.
Iowa Corn representatives visited Amy’s Food Bank in Rockford in northern Iowa, with Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig recently. Amy’s Food Bank is operated by the Howe family, who raised the Iowa Corn-sponsored steers that were part of the Beef Up Iowa program.
“Iowa Corn is pleased to be part of this generous program that gives back to Iowa communities, and also a program that benefits agriculture,” says Stu Swanson, a farmer who serves as District 2 director for ICGA. “Corn-fed beef is the most widely produced type of beef in the U.S. today. In fact, last year 1.3 billion bushels of corn went directly to corn-fed beef cattle in the U.S. Now more than ever, agriculture knows we are stronger when we work together, and Iowa Corn is proud to support the Beef Up Iowa program.”
The Beef Up Iowa program is a partnership with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University, and Iowa’s beef producers. The program is an initiative of Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ Feeding Iowans Task Force led by Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg.
“It has been incredible to see Iowans rally together to support the ag community and to help feed the food-insecure Iowans,” says Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “Thanks to many partners who are working together in this effort. Thanks to Gov. Reynolds, Iowa beef producers, Iowa State University and Iowa Corn, we were able to distribute locally grown protein to Iowa’s food banks and pantries.”
4-H, FFA involved
Iowa food banks and food pantries have seen increased demand for food due to the pandemic, while processing options for Iowa beef producers have decreased.
“Gov. Reynolds has allocated federal CARES Act funds from the state to help cover processing costs and provide beef to food insecure Iowans,” Naig says. “However, there are costs associated with purchasing cattle, and the storage, transportation and delivery of the beef to food banks and pantries.”
The initial cattle for Beef Up Iowa were sourced from 4-H and FFA members to be processed by students and staff at the ISU Meat Lab at Ames to help meet the limited processing need options. The meat will be distributed to food bank and food pantry feeding programs across the state.
Iowans can help support this program by donating funds that will cover costs and future purchases of Iowa-produced beef for food programs across the state. To donate funds to support this program, visit the Iowa Cattlemen’s Foundation at donorbox.org/beefupiowa. A summary of food resources available to those in need is available at coronavirus.iowa.gov.