NY Beef Checkoff Connects with STEM Teachers

Chrissy Claudio | August 16, 2022

"Teaching how the beef industry impacts STEM"

Morrisville, NY (July 2022) – Educators interested in incorporating agricultural learning into their curriculums were recruited recently for an on the Farm STEM experience hosted by the New York Beef Council on behalf of the Beef Checkoff. Through the continued partnership, this event was made possible with assistance from New York Agriculture in the Classroom (NYAITC), the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture (AFBFA), and funding from the South Dakota Beef Industry Council.   

Teachers from several regions of NYS and the Northeast were introduced to the beef lifecycle, animal handling, and the importance of soil health during the in-person STEM-focused beef experience. Day one teachers were led through the principles of soil health, rotational grazing, and both natural and managed ecosystems along buffer zones. The farm tour was hosted by Troy Bishopp of Bishopp Farms in Deansboro, NY. Participants then took a deeper dive into soil biology during a presentation facilitated by Fay Benson on behalf of the NY Soil Health Trailer which is funded by the New York Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Later in the day teachers applied learnings with a hands-on activity that can be transferred to their classroom which was facilitated by NYAITC and lastly, Brian Beierle of Vivayic, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, addressed Next Generation Transfer Task (NGSS) teaching standards which connect agricultural context to lessons in the classroom.   

On day two, teachers were led through a tour of the Center for Agriculture and Natural Sciences USDA Meat Lab which was facilitated by Betsey Jensen who manages the program at SUNY Cobleskill. The Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act was discussed as well as the origin of the act and its connection to Dr. Temple Grandin. NYAITC then created a hands-on classroom experience by having teachers create their own Temple Grandin chute design that can be facilitated in their classrooms this coming school year.   

Teachers were then treated to a culinary experience led by Chef David Campbell who teaches culinary arts at SUNY Cobleskill. Teachers were introduced to the science of the Maillard reaction and the fundamentals of the five basics of taste during the presentation. To wrap up day two NYBC facilitated a “Project-based learning through Beef Workshop” where teachers were led through a hands-on interactive demonstration featuring the NYBC’s Top Cuts a Beef Contest Program through a mock contest execution exercise. The workshop focused on strategies for full-school cross-curricular integration of food and agriculture. Participants utilized beef jerky and other supplied ingredients to create a trail mix snack recipe. The workshop concluded with an interactive challenge that included a competitive group pitch competition of the beef jerky trail mix developed by the educators during the challenge portion of the workshop. Educators interested in finding out more about the STEM Tour opportunity and NYBC’s Top Cuts Competition should visit https://newyork.agclassroom.org/programs/topcut where more information can be found about the annual competition hosted for NYS schools.             

The NYBC continues to extend and support its outreach efforts to teachers and educators through several opportunities annually. Interested schools are urged to visit: https://www.nybeef.org/education/classroom-resources to utilize the classroom resources offered to educators.    

About the Beef Checkoff: The Beef Checkoff Program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The Checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States may retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.   

About the New York Beef Council: The New York Beef Council is funded by the $1-per-head National Beef Checkoff Program. Checkoff dollars are invested in beef promotion, consumer information, research, industry information, and foreign market development, all to strengthen beef demand.  For more information, visit https://www.nybeef.org The Beef Checkoff Program is administered by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, with oversight provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.