At last Tuesday’s Thayer Central school board meeting, board members were presented the opportunity to incorporate local beef into school lunches.
“There’s been tremendous support,” said Robbie Marsh, a local supporter of the program. “Why can’t we use locally grown beef? It’s quality and nutritious.”
So far, there are 23 producers and 28 businesses committed to the initiative. Of those businesses, 26 are willing to pay for the processing fee and two are committed to promoting it.
One local business is even considering donating meat vouchers to school children. The coupon would be used at the meat counter to purchase beef for every child.
According to Marsh, with the current support there’s enough to make the program last two years. They hope to make it last for three to five.
Currently, Bridgeport and Bayard Public Schools use local beef in their school lunches. Banner County Public School is implementing the program this fall.
In a February Nebraska Cattleman article, Bridgeport reported great support from the community and an increase of students eating school lunches, particularly on days when the school serves beef.
Supporters of the program would also like to start the local beef initiative this fall.
According to the Nebraska Department of Education, the three factors to consider is to get inspected by the USDA, transportation safety (beef would be transported frozen) and food portions (managed by the school kitchen staff).
Opportunities for students in the new agricultural program starting this fall to learn about beef production was also discussed at the meeting.
“There are a lot of great people that believe in this and want to make this happen for the betterment of our kids,” said Marsh.
The board members are currently looking into this new option and will be making a final decision at a future meeting.