Photo courtesy of Missouri Agriculture Department

The Missouri Beef Industry Council has launched a program, “MO Beef for MO Kids”, aimed at getting more beef into Missouri public schools starting with the Mount Vernon school district in southwest Missouri. Council director Mark Russell says beef is NOT often served in school lunches and most school lunch services are contracted. He says it’s hard to tell where the beef comes from.

“There’s not a lot of money in the school lunch program and it’s hard to make ends meet. So, usually it’s the low bid and there’s not really a way to trace back the origin or the start of that beef production.”

Russell says many farmers and ranchers in Lawrence County, members of the Southwest Missouri Cattlemen’s group, are donating their homegrown Missouri beef. The goal is to double the amount of beef in the Mount Vernon schools in one year.

Russell says the school’s food service contractor Opaa will offer a lot more beef menu items for students to choose from.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture is a partner in the pilot program which was launched October 19th during National School Lunch week. The goal is to get more Missouri beef not only in schools but into other institutions.

By Julie Harker of Brownfield Ag News