Note: This blog post was written by a group of students in the Capstone in Animal and Dairy Sciences course.
What started as a dreary, rainy day ended up being a day full of learning and excitement for both the public and us. We educated the Starkville community on the different beef cattle operations and where the different meat cuts are located on beef cattle. Our station, “Farm to Filet”, was set up with a poster explaining the overview of the beef industry, a dairy cow that had the different meat cuts painted on, and an interactive game called the “Grocery Game”. It was entertaining to see both kids and adults play the game and see their reaction to their answers. The only three beef items in the grocery store were a steak, deli roast beef, and a hamburger. Needless to say, we had some pretty interesting results!
Many adults pulled out the pork chop mistaking it for a steak. We had kids that overlooked the hamburger many times and some even pulled out bacon as their answer. One little boy, when asked where did he think a hamburger came from, grinningly replied, “A human”! For that little boy, it was true. He had only ever gotten hamburgers from his parents who gave him a hamburger for supper or from people at fast-food restaurants. This project was a wonderful teaching opportunity for us and the public. The public had an opportunity to see where their food comes from and we discovered how much the public really knew about the beef cattle industry. We met people of various ages and backgrounds, who all had a various level of experience and understanding of livestock production.
Most of the public were very inquisitive about where the meat cuts were located on beef cattle. Many people asked about ground chuck, sirloin, filet mignon, and New York strips. We had two young ladies who asked why the filet mignon is more tender than other steaks. We didn’t have one question that we could not answer; however, we did face a challenge when trying to explain certain concepts. We had to take industry specific terms and complex information we were taught previously and make it intelligible for our public so they could easily understand.
Overall, we feel that the community engagement fair was a success! As animal scientists, we felt it was our responsibility to reach out to the public and show them what goes on in the beef industry and help teach or clarify information for our public. We feel that by us reaching out to the public and showing them what goes on in the agriculture industry will help eliminate negativity that sometimes surrounds our industry. It is gratifying to know the potential impact we made on those people that came to community engagement fair that day. Now that a few more people know where there beef comes from, it means that the potential education opportunities for the beef industry look bright!