Free Meat Monday
Maria Bukowski for Tri-State Livestock News
March 8, 2018
Free Meat Monday was started as a steak tip, er, tongue in cheek rebuttal to the former Presidential Administration views on school lunches including the push for a 'Meat Free Monday'. According to several sources, during a North Dakota Farm Bureau (NDFB) board meeting several years ago one of the Dickey County members asked "We don't we support a FREE Meat Monday instead?" the idea was shared to the state board and it grew from there.
The North Dakota Farm Bureau has had this program in place for a few years and 5 counties have hosted events so far. On Feb. 19 the Adams County Farm Bureau kicked off 2018 by hosting lunch at the Hettinger School.
"The county farm bureaus are providing a meal and serving at the schools to promote Agriculture and the Farm bureau's connection to the community-Says Haley Robison, NDFB Southwest District Representative. Robison is a third generation farm and ranch family from Scranton, ND; as well as a third generation Farm Bureau member, and officer. Her father served on the board as well as her Grandfather, and her Grandmother was the President of the Women's Farm Bureau board.
"My favorite part of the program is getting to work with the kids and teach them farm to table. Their excitement is contagious, and listening to them talk about meeting a farmer is amazing, pretty soon you start hearing them telling stories about farm animals, especially cows around their lunch tables" Robison continues.
Guiding the program is the idea to reconnect people from farm to table, and help people understand the processes behind how food ends up in the store and then on the tables at home.
Here on the Northern Plains, you might be hard pressed to find a child who didn't know that beef comes from cows, bread is available because of the farmers who work untold hours in the spring planting, and then again during harvest. Unfortunately, not all children are so fortunate to be able to see the front lines of food production for our country and the world.
Buzzwords like factory farming, and GMO's create huge conversations especially on social media platforms, though those conversations seldom include the farmers and ranchers who are experts in their fields. Programs like this help educate children and provide them with new experiences; and help create pathways for conversations about agriculture to those who might not see the full picture.
The children in Adams County for example were served by Mitch Miller and Ben Laufer, both members of the Adams County Bureau. "We asked if they wanted us to help cook too" says Miller "But the Kitchen Staff at the school handled that all for us." Around 150 students K-12 were served hot beef sandwiches and received "I met a farmer today!" stickers.
Miller is a second generation farmer who graduated from Hettinger in 2012. His father started farming in the area in 1976 and now they farm about 8000 acres of row crops, and they currently run 45 cow/calf pairs...