Indiana Farm Bureau field representatives do many jobs. One of the jobs for Keegan Poe, Franklin, field man in central Indiana, is to be the loving caretaker for Chuck, a fiberglass steer with a purpose. Recently, he brought Chuck to a local education day for elementary school students.
"Some of the kids don't really understand it, but the large-sized steer does get their attention," he says. The goal is to help them make a connection between animals and from where their meat comes.
The steer is marked permanently on the outside of his fiberglass hide with the divisions that denote wholesale cuts of meat. The 3-D rendering makes it easier to help kids understand where chuck roast or T-bone steak or hamburger originates.
Indiana Farm Bureau reps take the steer around the state, usually for ag in the classroom days or for events where the kids come to a central location. Someone knowledgeable about meat production and meat cuts, particularly beef cuts, usually makes the presentation.
While the fiberglass steer is eye-catching, he's still shorter than the person doing the explaining. His super-sized cousin, King the Bull, a hero of sorts in southeastern Marion County, towers several feet over the people who haul him around. Today, the bull makes appearances for parades and other events in the local area. He has also served as the mascot of the Franklin Central football team in decades gone by.
Compared to the estimated price for Chuck the Steer, as an educational tool, the buying price of around $3,000 for King the Bull some 40 years ago was a bargain. Still, Poe believes that the attention-getting power of the fiberglass steer helps at least get students attention during teaching sessions.