Beefing Up Meat Science

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LOST Camp LBIC Meat Track participants make beef
from scratch to be served at a camp meal.

Meat science is an $11.4 billion industry in Louisiana that brings thousands of jobs to the state. And the Louisiana Beef Industry Council is working with 4-H to introduce more young people to the variety of careers in the meat science world.

In 2019, the Louisiana Beef Industry Council was Louisiana 4-H’s largest donor for animal science programs. The council successfully merged their mission with the national 4-H vision of creating “a world in which youth and adults learn, grow, and work together as catalysts for positive change.”

The council’s beef poster contest encourages participants to learn more about the beef industry by developing creative marketing and communication skills. In 2019 the contest reached more than 1,800 4-H'ers across the state. This year, 4-H'ers in grades four through 12 created posters for “Team Beef” and focused on using beef as fuel for fitness and good nutrition. With support of the LBIC, a digital division was created to bring a more modern take to the contest while building science, technology, engineering, arts and math skills through research and design.“I am so happy to continue the tradition of creating posters to support the consumption of beef,” said Iberville Parish 4-H'er Luke Lirette, the 2019 Division II LBIC Beef Poster Contest winner. “This achievement was such a joy because I love art, animals and, of course, agriculture, so combining them makes me so proud, especially when my hard work pays off and is appreciated,”

In 2018, Louisiana 4-H designed an animal science session for the Louisiana Outdoor Science and Technology Camp. In 2019, 4-H partnered with the LBIC to advance meat science educational programing, and the LBIC generously sponsored a new meat science camp track in 2019.

With the LBIC Louisiana Outdoor Science and Technology Camp sponsorship, Louisiana 4-H was able to purchase four commercial-grade, tabletop meat grinders along with seasonings and all necessary personal protective equipment for participants to create beef sausage products from start to finish. During the two-day camp, participants learned how genetics, nutrition, environment and animal welfare affect beef quality. During the hands-on portion of the camp, 4-H'ers developed two beef sausage products from start to finish and created more than 100 pounds of sausage, feeding the entire camp for two meals.

“Partnering with LBIC to open up the world of beef and meat science to our 4-H'ers has been an amazing experience,” said Crystal Ahrens, Louisiana 4-H animal science specialist. “Most of our youth would not have these types of hands-on opportunities to learn full circle about animal science and how their food is made. The meat science industry is a great career option that is now open to our 4-H'ers as a legitimate option for those interested in animal or food science.”

Meat science programming with sixth, seventh and eighth grade campers also helps support the Louisiana 4-H Meat ID contest at 4-H University. LBIC provides funding to allow the winners of the state contest to compete at the National 4-H Meat Evaluation and Identification Judging Contest in Manhattan, Kansas.

Katlin Lucas, 4-H agent in West Feliciana Parish, had eight 4-H'ers take part in the meat science experience at Louisiana Outdoor Science and Technology Camp.

“They could not stop talking about it when we got home,” she said. “They were surprised to learn exactly how the making and cooking of the breakfast sausages went, and they were so proud when they were able to taste their own creations. In learning that way, they also were able to retain a lot of the facts that the track taught.”

4-H agents also benefitted from LBIC’s generous support. During the 2019 Louisiana Association of Extension 4-H Agents convention, youth development professionals had the opportunity to attend a “Beefing Up 4-H” meat science training session.

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An LBIC board member admires a beef poster entry.

2/11/2020 4:52:25 PM
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