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American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture Engages Education Leaders with the Beef Industry

Newsroom / June 22, 2018

The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, recently hosted three On the Farm professional development events for leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), as well as health education. Events were designed to introduce educators from primarily urban areas to the beef industry in Fort Worth, Texas; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Portland, Oregon.

The Foundation worked closely with state Beef Councils, state Farm Bureaus and state Agriculture in the Classroom leaders to coordinate the events, bringing a national influencer audience to each state. 

“Interest in On The Farm educational events continues to grow, as participants share information about this tremendous learning opportunity with their colleagues and communities,” said Christy Lilja, executive director of the Foundation. This is the second year the Foundation has offered On the Farm educational events for educators. Nearly 350 applications were received for 40 spots in Fort Worth, 30 spots in Philadelphia and 40 spots in Portland.

In Texas, education leaders engaged in a hands-on learning experience at Burgundy Pasture Beef; worked closely with Dr. Guy Ellis, technical services veterinarian for Merck Animal Health; and toured the Cattle Raisers Museum and the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo grounds with CEO Stefan Marchman. Educators discovered the science, technology and engineering practices applied in meat processing at a tour of Standard Meat, experienced a one-on-one demonstration of animal handling with Dr. Ron Gill and learned the art and science of beef preparation with Chef Mike Erickson and the Texas Beef Council.

Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding kicked off the Philadelphia event for health educators with opening comments. Educators toured Herr Angus Farm, engaged in hands-on learning at the U-Penn Vet School’s New Bolton Center and gained valuable insight from a registered dietitian panel that included the New York Beef Council’s Cindy Chan Phillips. Educators toured Smuckers Meat and Masonic Village Farm, followed by a beef culinary experience with Chef Dan D’Angelo at the Art Institute of Philadelphia.

In Oregon, education leaders toured Threemile Canyon Farms and Beef Northwest Feedyard, where they discovered technology and sustainability concepts in action. Livestock and Natural Resources Extension Agent Leticia Henderson provided hands-on training in GPS mapping for rangeland management and veterinarian Dr. Todd Tibbits discussed contemporary challenges in animal health and care. Agriculture Educator and FFA Advisor J.D. Cant gave participants a cattle artificial insemination demonstration. Educators vaccinated and branded calves and handled feedstuffs at Symons Beef Company. The event wrapped up with a beef culinary experience hosted by Oregon Beef Council Chef of the Year Jason Stoller Smith.

The Beef Checkoff Program funded development of the On The Farm training and supporting resources. The Beef Checkoff Program was established as part of the 1985 farm bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. In states with qualified beef councils, states may retain up to 50 cents of the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.


Internal links within this document are funded and maintained by the Beef Checkoff. All other outgoing links are to websites maintained by third parties.

Shiloh Perry
Media Relations Specialist
(202) 406-3643
Cyndie Shearing
Director, Internal Communications
(202) 406-3649

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