By Lynn Hawkins
Photos by Lynn Hawkins and students
Did you know that Kentucky is the largest beef state east of the Mississippi River? With over 32,000 beef farms across our state, the beef industry has a huge impact on our economy and food sources. While we celebrate National Beef Month, it is important to realize that beef production is a year-round job. It takes about 2 years before a beef animal is ready for consumption or from the Farm to Table.
Numerous steps in the production of beef involve many careers and dollar exchanges. Most people today are three generations removed from the farm or have any understanding of the work and processes that go into producing a quality product. That is why it is so important to tell or showcase our local farms. We need beef producers!
At Metcalfe County High School students in the Farm to Table Program have had the opportunity to raise a beef calf and participate in beef management decisions. This year the students have worked with Lucy, a Gelbvieh-Angus cross heifer. She is halter broken and loves the attention from the students. We have discussed and created feed rations, pasture management, animal health, and proper animal handling.
This has been a rewarding experience for our students and while many of the students may not decide to be beef farmers, they do have an appreciation for all the work that goes into the process.
In addition to making students aware of this Farm to Table process, thank a beef farmer the next time you see one or ask about the practices they are doing on their farm. It is quite impressive!