The beef cattle industry does a lot of things right. In a nutshell, modern cattlemen and women leverage technological advancements to produce more beef today than ever before using fewer resources like land and water.
Despite the naysayers who love to blame cows on everything from climate change to heart disease, animal agriculture has a pretty incredible story to tell.
More than producing safe, affordable and nutritious beef and life-enriching beef by-products, ranchers also have big hearts and often serve quietly in their communities to help others and to make the world a better place.
For example, remember when vegan activists threw a fit about the toy livestock semi-truck and trailer for sale at Walmart? These folks called for a ban on this toy, and producers responded by buying the toy in bulk and gifting it to kids in need at Christmas.
Then there’s Cowboys Who Care, an organization that outfits kids with cancer with custom cowboy hats in an effort to boost their spirits and give them confidence as they battle through chemo treatments in the hospital.
Of course, there’s my personal favorite organization, the All-American Beef Battalion, which has served hundreds of thousands of ribeye steaks to the troops and their families as a way to simply say, “Thank you for your service.”
This spring, we saw the agricultural community come together to raise funds to help those impacted by the flooding in Nebraska and other states, and we’ve seen similar efforts in the past to help ranching communities devastated by blizzards and wildfires.
And in my home state, there’s the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Foundation (SDCF), an organization committed to ending hunger with beef.
Last weekend, the SDCF hosted its sixth annual Prime Time Gala in Sioux Falls, S.D. The event includes a steak supper, a silent and live auction and country music concert featuring Jake Owen and Jerrod Niemann. Nearly 1,600 guests attended this year’s event, which raised $263,250 for Feeding South Dakota.
This amount far exceeded the original pledge amount of $150,000, and since 2014, the organization has raised $1,229,360 for Feeding South Dakota, with funds earmarked to purchase beef for the state’s food insecure families.
The event also awards $15,000 in youth scholarships, and new this year, SDCF sponsored the Fed Cattle Challenge, which supports the next generation of feedyard owners and managers in South Dakota.
“The Sixth Annual Prime Time Gala was unforgettable thanks to all of the volunteers, sponsors and attendees,” said Ryan Eichler, SDCF president. “Despite challenges in 2019, the beef industry in South Dakota is full of the most compassionate people on the planet. Because of their generosity, we’ll help Feeding South Dakota procure the most nutritious protein available. In the year 2020, this donation will likely yield the 1 millionth pound of beef purchased as a result of the Prime Time Gala, and that’s something everyone should be proud of.”
According to a SDCF press release, “While protein is a critical part of any meal, it makes up about 10% of the 12.5 million pounds of food that Feeding South Dakota distributes on an annual basis. High quality protein, like beef, plays an important role in overall health, including weight control, by increasing satiety and helping to build and maintain muscle mass.
"Since 2014, funds raised at the event have helped to purchase and distribute over 815,209 pounds of beef for those that need it the most across South Dakota. These donations have been distributed to all 66 counties in the state. Annually, Feeding South Dakota provides 11.3 million meals to hungry individuals across the state.
“Despite the hardships farmers and ranchers are facing with the weather and the economy, the industry came together and made it a record-setting year,” added Allie Jensen, SDCF executive director. “The generosity from the beef industry is overwhelming.”
For more information about the 2020 Prime Time Gala that will be held on June 27, 2020 and for additional details about the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Foundation’s Scholarship Program and Fed Cattle Challenge, please click here.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.