Agriculture students and FFA members at Hanover Southwestern High School in Indiana will soon provide ground beef for member of their community who are struggling to put food on the table.
The students and their advisor stopped by The National FFA Center today to share some details of their Community Calf Project which was funded in part by an FFA: Food for All grant.
According to the Madison Courier, the students will raise and care for calves until the animals reach maturity and can be taken to a processor. Once the animals are slaughtered, the meat will be given to the Gleaners Food Bank at Southwestern.
Agriculture teacher and FFA advisor Greg Schneider said the need for such a program exists in their community. At Southwestern, 54 percent of the student body is on free and reduced lunches.
“I really think we’ve got a great thing in the works,” he said, adding that he has not heard of any school with a similar program. “I think this really has the opportunity of being a pilot program that other communities can incorporate.”
The school will transform the current crop-growing area on campus into an area to keep livestock. Animal science and veterinary science students will raise the calves until the animals are weaned – which occurs at about six to eight weeks.
After that, the calves will be placed with a host farmer and raised to maturity. The school will provide feed for the farmers, and students will conduct farm calls. Schneider said the school also will seek donations from the public to care for the animals.
Once the steer are processed, the cycle will repeat itself every two to three months. Schneider said he initially thought of more than 30 farmers who could act as hosts for the calves, as to evenly distribute the burden of housing the animals.
Mr. Schneider talks about the latest developments in the project in this video, recorded during his visit to the National FFA Center: