Table of Contents


We’ve been told beef is “what’s for dinner,” but it also has a special place on the public plate. In addition to packing a nutritious punch of iron, vitamins, and protein, beef also provides important income for over 5,000 family farms across New York.1 Over the past couple of decades concerns about animal agriculture’s contributions to greenhouse gas emissions have arisen, making beef one of the most controversial foods to consume in the 21st century. Regardless of one’s views on beef, one thing is certain: beef has been a star of the American diet for many generations. In New York, institutions can choose sustainable and local options from producers across the state.

Chew on This: Beef Facts

  • U.S. is 4th in the world for number of cattle but produces the most beef.2
  • NY ranks 39th in the country for number of beef cattle,3 but 5th in the country for number of dairy cattle, totaling 1.5 million cows in the state.4
  • Beef is one of the least wasted foods with about 20% spoiled or not eaten, versus 40% of food overall, making it a great option for school cafeterias!5
  • Most people know that a cow’s stomach has four compartments, but it also holds 40–50 gallons in volume, the size of the average bathtub!6


Beef is considered a complete protein, containing all 9 amino acids. One 3-oz serving of beef provides approximately 25 grams of protein.

B. Vitamins

Beef contains high levels of vitamins B12 and B6, important for brain health, and for immune and nervous system health.

Other Nutrients

Beef is rich in other nutrients including zinc, selenium, and iron.



A Brief History of Beef in the United States and New York

Beef has a complex history within the context of the United States, but cows were not the first ruminants in North America. By the time that Europeans arrived in the Americas, Indigenous Americans across what is now known as the United States were masters at bison husbandry. Indigenous Americans used fire to create paths for moving bison to new grasslands for grazing and hunting.7 Originally from the prairie, “bison was imported east by Native Americans,” grazed rotationally, and their populations controlled through sustainable hunting methods in what is now known as New York.8

Cattle first arrived in the United States by ship to Plymouth, Massachusetts in March 16249. During the 19th century, cattle were used as a tool of westward expansion. According to Joshua Specht, author of Red Meat Republic: A Hoof-to-Table History of How Beef Changed America, “the land that the entire American beef industry is predicated on actually required a process of dispossession and near-extinction of the bison.”10 Indigenous Americans had populated these lands from the East Coast to the West Coast and had diverse and extensive agricultural systems in place before white settlers arrived. For this reason, it is especially important within the state of New York, home to nearly twenty Indigenous American tribes, to be mindful of incorporating beef on the public plate and to consider the inclusion of buffalo, bison, or even beefalo when developing a culturally relevant and inclusive menu.

Bison in Schools and Tribal Communities

Bison Recipes


Bison in field

Environmental Considerations of Beef

When it comes to agriculture, many consumers want to ensure that they are making sustainable choices, especially for the public plate. Sustainable beef is defined as a socially responsible, environmentally sound, and economically viable product that prioritizes five principles: (1) natural resources; (2) people and the community; (3) animal health and welfare; (4) food; and (5) efficiency and innovation.11 New York has many beef farmers who are currently using sustainable and even regenerative practices, and institutions can support environmental stewardship by supporting these farmers.

Understanding Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Beef

Carbon Dioxide

Carbon Dioxide is the biggest driver of climate change, and in agriculture it makes up 14% of greenhouse gas emissions. However, the relationship between beef and carbon is complex. While CO2 is released from deforestation, plowed fields and fossil fuels used in farming, managing cows on pasture has the potential to add enough carbon to offset emissions.


Methane is the notorious greenhouse gas associated with cow burps and is often a target for criticizing beef consumption. While cow burps and manure contribute to methane production, there are methods for decreasing its effects. Research suggests that by making improvements to cattle feed and nutrition, enteric methane emissions can be significantly reduced.12 New York’s Cornell Livestock Innovations for Food and Environmental Health (LIFE) project aims to reduce global enteric and manure greenhouse gas emissions from ruminant livestock production through research on feed that enhances efficacy and reduces methane.13 Since 1990, methane emissions in the United States have dropped roughly 150 million metric tons CO2 equivalent, or 16%.14

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide makes up about 7% of total U.S. greenhouse gases, and 74% of emissions are attributed to agriculture due to application of synthetic and manmade fertilizers or soil inputs.15 One way to ensure the beef procured for an institution contributes less nitrous oxide is to purchase from farms that do not use synthetic fertilizers. For many institutions, purchasing certified organic meat is cost prohibitive; however, for some institutions such as universities, serving organic, sustainable, and local beef can be a talking point in fundraising.

Dairy Cattle as Beef

While New York may not necessarily be known for its beef industry, historically we have had one of the strongest dairy industries in the nation, and that actually makes our beef more sustainable. There are two options to support dairy farmers with beef purchasing: “beef-on-dairy” and “dairy beef.”

Beef-on-dairy refers to the cross between a dairy cow and a beef bull. These animals can
be bred to produce the same amount of milk but also provide more beef due to a higher weight. Research by Texas Tech University has shown that beef-on-dairy calves have a higher feed efficiency, lowering the environmental footprint of these herds.16 Dairy beef refers to dairy cattle that have been culled and used for their meat, usually following their retirement as a dairy cow. Dairy beef is not only a huge economic opportunity for our state’s dairy farmers, but it also increases the sustainability of the cattle products being consumed. Cows produce more than beef and milk; parts from cattle are also used to produce leather, body creams and cosmetics, medications like insulin, and dietary supplements such as collagen.17 If one cow already has a certain environmental “hoofprint,” this impact can be lessened by using that cow for multiple purposes.

On top of dual-purpose dairy herds being an environmentally sustainable option, culled dairy cattle are an economically feasible protein option for institutions, particularly public schools with limited budgets.

Cows grazing in field

According to Jacob Gilley, a beef farmer in Virginia and American Farmland Trust’s Mid- Atlantic Sustainable Grazing Manager, cullcows are affordable options for institutions to purchase local beef because different cuts of meat can be ground together and used. This is a great way to reduce food waste and lends the opportunity to add other local fillers to the ground meat, such as mushrooms, to stretch food dollars even further.18 Julia Van Loon, founder and President of Slate Foods, Inc., agrees. Julia has developed a groundbreaking model in New York for getting local, antibiotic-free New York beef into public schools at a price point that they can afford, while also supporting a myriad of dairy farmers around the state. Slate Foods, Inc. works with dairy farmers who practice “selective dry cow therapy” to turn cull cows from their dairy herds into products that not only nourish children but are also classic favorites in the classroom, such as meatballs and burger patties.

Slate Foods: Persistence Drives Change

by Katie Navarra

Julia Van Loon, founder and CEO of Slate Foods, Inc., has a history of finding creative solutions to daunting challenges. From her twenty-plus years of working in Long Island schools modernizing menus, sourcing local foods, and overseeing procurement, Julia has spearheaded food reform initiatives within K–12 schools.

As she began to develop a new business that would bring New York raised beef into schools, her husband encouraged her to investigate cull cows from dairy farms. Purchasing cull cows, normally destined for auctions, directly from local farms offered a significant benefit—the cows could be harvested and processed in the region where they were raised.
“The farmer saves on hauling and commissions to auction. We increase throughput to slaughterhouses and processors for future value-add production. Along that chain also we find our local logistics and warehousing partners whose revenues are all boosted from this program,” Julia said. “The most significant benefit for buying directly from the farms is that the community feeds its own.”

First, she partnered with Ken Jaffe of Slope Farms to develop a program which would produce and distribute their sustainable New York beef and beef products to schools and other institutions within the state.

“At that time, we only produced for Long Island and started to create a warehouse model for piggy-backing distribution with USDA commodities. We finally went to contract with the Office of General Services (OGS) on the Long Island facility and I used this model to enlist more warehouses across New York state,” she said.

But she wanted to do more. In 2016, she launched Slate Foods, Inc. a processor and distributor of New York beef products. That same year, she won the Food + Enterprise PitchFest, which provided confirmation that this program would be a great success. Today, she partners with two dairy farms and one beef producer and each practices enhanced on-farm antibiotic protocols.

“Since I spent years as a consultant to K–12 schools, my extensive knowledge of the National School Lunch Program has enabled me to understand each step of procurement, operations, and guidelines to seamlessly transition from commodity to local with a broad network of warehouses and logistics partners,” she said.

Today, Slate Foods also supplies schools with hot dogs and meatballs and has just completed its final test of a New York state roast beef which debuts in Spring 2023. The company sells to ten purchasing groups, such as BOCES and Co-Ops, which oversee at least 50 school districts using Slate Foods products. While serving children is at the core of Slate Foods’ mission, she is equally committed to bringing local, sustainably produced foods to other institutions, such as healthcare and senior living facilities.

“These other outlets deserve and require the same [attention], perhaps a more corporate governorship impedes progressive procurement strategies as they are private,” she said. She also sells to several food banks through Nourish NY, which carried her through the
pandemic. Her advice to others seeking to influence significant change: “Seek out and join other like-minded producers and logistics companies to learn and partner wherever possible. It’s a matter of relationship building to help keep the markets stable.”

Grass Fed vs. Grain Fed Beef

Many farms in New York raise beef cows on pasture for most of the animal’s life, including finishing on pasture, which is often called “grass-fed” and “grass-finished” beef. Labels can be complicated, but in general, beef raised on pasture eat grasses and legumes during the grazing season, and in the winter months they consume dry hay and fermented haylage or baleage, stored from a harvested forage crop. If beef is certified grass-fed, it does not mean the animal did not receive any antibiotics or hormones. For beef to be labeled grass-fed, the animal must have had continuous access to pasture.

Farms that raise beef cows on pasture but supplement their cows’ diets with a ration of grain or corn in the winter months may be considered “pastureraised” beef. On some farms, beef cows receive a higher ‘finishing’ ration of grain in the final months before processing, to add more marbling to the meat. This is considered “grain-fed” or “grain-finished beef.”

Rotational Grazing

To make efficient use of available pastureland and ensure the health of the soil and grasses, beef farmers often follow a rotational grazing plan. This typically involves the use of portable electric fencing that moves on a regular schedule, breaking a large pasture into several paddocks. Farmers following a grazing plan will monitor the height of the plants as the animals graze and move the herd every few days, or sometimes daily, before they have eaten the plants too short. This resting of the soil, for weeks or months between grazing, helps the plant regenerate and grow deeper roots, which makes for a healthier plant, while storing more carbon in the soil instead of releasing it into the atmosphere. While there is currently no certification to know if the beef you purchased was rotationally grazed, the benefit of buying local means you can ask your farmer about their practices and make informed purchasing decisions.

Ask Your Farmer: Practices that Reduce Environmental Impact

  • Does your local farmer graze their cattle on grass planted as part of crop rotations or crop residues?
  • Does your local farmer rotationally graze their herds?
  • Does your local farmer apply animal manure to pasture and cropland rather than synthetic fertilizers?
  • Does your local farmer practice silvopasture, or deliberate integration of trees and grazing livestock on the same land?
  • Please note that even if your local farmers do not use these practices, your support of their businesses is important. All local beef will inevitably be more sustainable than beef imported from elsewhere, but for those concerned about environmental sustainability, these are some things to consider when deciding where to purchase your beef.


Two farmers and a black cow stand in a field

Plant-Based Meat Alternatives

In addition to opting for local beef procurement, you may be interested in offering vegetarian and plant-based meat alternatives in your menus to either replace or stretch your beef portions. There are many good reasons to do so, whether it be cultural and religious customs, health restrictions, environmental consciousness, personal preferences or to make a meal more budget friendly.

Highly processed plant-based meat alternatives come with their own nutritional and environmental concerns, so whenever possible, consider instead sourcing local plant-based protein sources including New York-sourced tofu and dried beans. For information about procuring dried beans and recipes, see our Dried Beans New York Grown Food Guide.

Classroom lesson plan for grades 9–12 from NYAITC “A Tale of Two Burgers: Beef and Plant-Based Protein”

The Importance of Eating Local

The journey that food makes from the field to tray makes a difference in its environmental footprint. Transportation accounts for 27% of GHG emissions in the U.S. as of 2020, with 57% being caused by light-duty vehicles and 26% caused by medium and heavy trucks. Agriculture as a whole only contributes to 11% of GHG emissions in the U.S., with cattle being a small part of that. Eating local beef can reduce transportation related GHG emissions.19 GHG emission “intensities for beef are highest in South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and East and Southeast Asia” due to lower slaughter weights, higher age at slaughter, as well as deforestation for cattle husbandry.20

A common misconception is that U.S. beef consumption is directly linked to deforestation in Brazil, and particularly clearing of the Amazon Rainforest. While the Amazon is being cleared at an alarming rate, causing devastating environmental impacts, beef consumption in the United States is not strongly linked to Brazil’s deforestation crisis.21 Most of the cleared land in the rainforest is used for soy farming, which is primarily used domestically in Brazil, while the rest is exported for animal feed for the poultry and pork industries, with China and the European Union importing the majority of the exported soy.22

Purchasing beef from New York producers, especially dairy beef which are dual use, can help to mitigate GHG emissions by supporting sustainable farming practices while contributing to a local farm economy.

Windsor High School to Raise Cattle for Cafeteria

This state-funded project will build on the Windsor Central School District’s extensive farm to school initiatives by increasing the amount of New York beef used in the district’s meals and providing students with opportunities to explore livestock farming.

Read more about the program!

Product Availability, Cuts, and Quality Characteristics


Common Cattle Breeds in New York

Types of Cattle

Beef Cuts for Food Service

The most value-packed cuts for food service will typically come from the chuck, sirloin, and round primal areas of the cow, which contain the muscles used most during the cow’s life. Beef cuts from the loin or rib primals are more tender and contain popular and more expensive cuts like ribeye steaks and the tenderloin.

Beef Cuts



Ground Beef

A pile of raw meat

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A close up of a piece of meat

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Ground beef is extremely versatile and taken from various parts of the cow. While round or chuck is usually made into ground beef, if desired, all of the cow can be packaged into ground beef if other cuts aren’t needed. Ground beef can be used for burgers, tacos, spaghetti sauce, and much more.


The chuck primal is from the shoulder area of the cow. It has a rich, beefy flavor and does well with low and slow, moist cooking methods. Chuck roasts can be served as a classic pot roast with vegetables or shredded for pulled beef or tacos.




The sirloin is a lean yet flavorful primal, and often is cut into sirloin steaks and roasts. As a more budget-friendly steak, sirloin can be cooked with dry heat and cut into small steak bites or kabobs or served thinly sliced across the grain.

Top and Bottom Round


A piece of meat on a black background

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The top and bottom round primals include the rump and hind legs of the cow, which are used for movement and are a leaner, less tender area for cuts. This area is often cut into top or bottom round roasts, which benefit from low and slow cooking and served thinly sliced for roast beef.

Butchering & Processing Requirements

Institutions can purchase beef by the cut from a farm or distributor, or they can purchase a half or whole cow in bulk from the farmer and choose how the beef will be cut. The farmer will typically take a deposit upfront and the remaining total, based on the final ‘hanging weight,’ will be due once the beef is ready at the butcher. In either case, institutions must purchase USDA-inspected beef in New York state. This designation will be clear on the label of the meat, and beef not USDA inspected will be labeled, “not for resale.”

Pack Sizes, Storage, & Food Safety

In New York, USDA-inspected beef is packed in vacuum-sealed packages to maintain freshness. The amount of beef contained in a package varies depending on the cut and the butchering specifications. Institutions purchasing beef in bulk or working with their local farm or processor can request certain packaging sizes to best suit their needs.

packed ground beef on stainless steel surface

For example, many farms package ground beef in 1-lb packages for retail sale, but an institution might prefer ground beef in 2 or 3-lb packages for batch cooking. Farmers and processors can provide samples, price sheets, and additional information about their products.

Beef is frozen fresh at the butcher upon packaging and must be kept frozen between 0° to -10° until ready for use. Frozen meat is safe indefinitely, but for best quality it is recommended to use ground beef within 3–4 months and roasts and steaks within 9-12 months.

Following New York State Department of Health guidelines, ground beef must be cooked to 160° and roasts and steaks to 140°. Always keep raw meat separate from other foods, and wash hands, surfaces, and utensils thoroughly.

Cuban Picadillo

Serving Size

  • 0.25 cup (1 #16 scoop) Cuban Picadillo
  • 0.6 oz (1 #24 scoop) roasted potatoes




  • *Beef, ground, frozen, 6 lbs and 11 oz
  • Oregano, dried 3 Tbsp and 2 tsp
  • Cumin, ground 3 Tbsp and 2 tsp
  • Kosher salt 2 Tbsp and 1 tsp
  • Black pepper 1 Tbsp
  • Olive oil 1 Tbsp
  • *Yellow onions, diced 1 lb
  • *Green bell peppers, diced 1 lb
  • Garlic, fresh, minced, 2 oz (15 cloves)
  • Capers, 0.5 cup (4 oz)
  • *Tomato sauce, canned (USDA food item), 2 lbs and 11 oz (1 qt and 1.33 cups)
  • Beef stock, 2.75 cups
  • *Potatoes, frozen, diced, 2 lbs


To prepare in advance

  1. Thaw beef in refrigerator one to two days in advance. Critical Control Point (CCP): Thaw beef in the refrigerator at 41°F or lower.

To Prepare Potatoes

  1. Preheat convection oven to 400°F.
  2. Roast potatoes in 400°F convection oven for 8 minutes until crisp. CCP: Heat to an internal temperature of 135°F or higher for 15 seconds.
  3. Remove from oven and pour into one 12 x 20 x 2-inch pan. Hold for service. CCP: Hold potatoes at 135°F or higher.

To Prepare Beef Mixture

  1. Heat skillet or pan to high heat. Brown ground beef and add oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper.
  2. Remove seasoned beef blend from heat and drain off all liquid.
  3. Heat olive oil in skillet. Add onions, green peppers, and garlic. Sauté until onions, peppers and garlic are soft. Add ground beef mixture.
  4. Drain and rinse capers. Add capers, tomato sauce, and beef stock to ground beef mixture.
  5. Bring to simmer and cover. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes. CCP: Heat beef mixture to an internal temperature of 165°F for 15 seconds.
  6. Pour picadillo mixture of beef, vegetables, and spices into one 12 x 24 x 2-inch pan. Hold for service. CCP: Hold beef mixture at 135°F or higher.

* Indicates a common New York food product

Bison and Lentil Chili

Serving Size

1 cup (8 fl oz)


  • Olive Oil, 0.25 cups
  • *Onions, small diced, 5 cups
  • *Green pepper, medium diced, 2.5 cups (or 16 oz USDA fajita style peppers, diced)
  • Garlic, minced, 0.75 cups
  • Bison, ground, raw, 5 lbs (80 oz)
  • Salt, 1 Tbsp
  • Cumin, ground 0.33 cups (1.5 oz)
  • Chili powder, 0.5 cups (1.7 oz)
  • Paprika, smoked 0.25 cups (1 oz)
  • Tomato paste, canned, 4 cups (20 oz)
  • Lentils, dried, 1 qt (28 oz)
  • Low sodium diced tomatoes, drained, No 10 can, 1 ea
  • Low sodium beef broth, 2 qt
  • Kidney beans, rinsed and drained, No. 10 can, 1 ea
  • Pinto beans, rinsed and drained, No. 10 can, 1 ea
  • Lime juice, 0.25 cups
  • Cilantro, fresh, chopped, 1 cup (3 oz)


  1.  Heat oil in large stock pot or tilt skillet. Add onions, green peppers (or fajita style vegetables), garlic, and sauté until soft. Add salt and bison and cook until browned, breaking up chunks. Stir in spices and tomato paste. Mix until bison is fully cooked and fully coated in spices. Critical Control Point (CPP): Cook to 155 ºF for at least 15 seconds.
  2. Add lentils, diced tomatoes, broth, kidney beans, and pinto beans.
  3. Bring to a boil. Cook until the soup reaches 165 ºF. CCP: Heat to 165 ºF for at least 15 seconds.
  4. Lower heat and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until chili thickens, and lentils are cooked through (about 35 minutes). Add water if too thick.
  5. Prior to service, stir in the lime juice. Add fresh chopped cilantro before serving. CCP: Hold for hot service at 135 ºF or higher.
  6. May be served with shredded cheddar cheese and/or hot sauce.

* Indicates a common New York food product

Beef Torta Sandwich

Serving Size

8 oz sandwich




  • Torta rolls, whole grain, 2.5 oz, 50 each
  • *AP Raw beef, frozen, shredded, 7 lbs and 13 oz
  • Romaine lettuce, shredded, 1 lb and 12 oz (12.5 cups)
  • *AP tomatoes, fresh, large, 3lbs
  • *Cheddar cheese, yellow, shredded, 1 lb and 9 oz


To Prepare in Advance

  1. Thaw torta rolls in refrigerator, if frozen. Hold for assembly.
  2. Thaw beef in refrigerator. Critical Control Point (CCP): Thaw beef in refrigerator at 41°F or lower for up to 48 hours.
  3. Boil beef in bag, in 24-quart pot for 30 minutes.
    CCP: Heat beef until internal temperature reaches 145°F or higher.
    CCP: Hold beef in warmer for service at 135°F or higher.
  4. Place shredded lettuce in 3-gallon or larger container.
  5. Rinse, trim, and slice tomatoes into ⅛ inch slices. Place tomato slices in 3-gallon or larger container.
  6. Rinse jalapenos, trim and remove seeds, and chop. Place in 3-gallon or larger container.
  7. Place cheese in 3-gallon or larger container.

To Assemble Beef Torta Sandwich

  1. Place bottom halves of torta rolls on 18 x 26 x 1-inch sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
  2. Remove beef from warmer.
  3. Top each roll with: ⅜ cup or one number 10 scoop of warm shredded beef, ¼ cup or one number 16 scoop of shredded lettuce, 2 slices of tomatoes, 1 teaspoon of jalapenos, 2 tablespoons of cheese, and top with second half of roll.
  4. Portion one torta sandwich in an individual serving container, serve immediately.

* Indicates a common New York food product

New York Ag in the Classroom Case Study: Growing STEM Lessons through Agriculture

By Katie Navarra

Teachers spend hours strategizing ways to transform Science, Technology, Engineering,
and Mathematics (STEM) standards into engaging, meaningful classroom lessons to meet curriculum standards. Increasingly, they are using agriculture and beef production to engage students.

"Agriculture is ready-made for helping teachers meet STEM standards,” said Jeremiah Best, agriculture in the classroom educator for New York Agriculture in the Classroom (NYAITC). “The things that happen in agriculture tie to real-life experiences every day, from soil health to nutrition, to the food they eat and the clothes they wear.”

Educators interested in bringing agriculture into their classroom have an abundance of resources from NYAITC and its partnerships with the New York Beef Council, the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture (AFBFA) and New York State FFA. Nearly 1,200 teachers statewide have been trained through virtual and in-person workshops, including the popular, “On the Farm STEM Experience.” After two years of virtual training due to COVID-19, 15 teachers gathered at SUNY Morrisville to participate in a three-day STEM excursion into the beef industry for ideas on how to implement real-world phenomena in the beef industry with classroom teaching.

Educators heard from industry experts and university professors about the life cycle of a beef cow, the inner workings of a calf-cow operation, facilities for finishing and processing beef animals, and food service. The workshop was a joint effort by NYAITC, the New York Beef Council, on behalf of the Beef Checkoff program, and the AFBFA.

Teachers saw ecosystems, environmental concerns, soil science, grazing, genetics, food safety standards, animal welfare, cooking, and the science of flavors as they relate to the beef industry. They learned through tours to Bishopp Family Farms in Deasnboro, New York, SUNY Morrisville and SUNY Cobleskill campuses.

“I feel that I have a better understanding of the whole process of farm to fork,” said Susan Rusinski, special education educator, Herbert-Hoover Middle School. “I look forward to getting my environmental group up and running to incorporate what I learned and will share with my co-teacher and see where I can implement what I learned into the curriculum.”
Teachers also have access to NYAITC’s Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix, a database with 600 lesson plans and 900 companion resources. Typing “beef” into the search bar returns hundreds of beef-related activities. The lessons align with common core standards and provide background information to give teachers the confidence to discuss a food system topic and track agricultural literacy outcomes.

Educators interested in bringing agriculture into their classroom have an abundance of resources . . . Nearly 1,200 teachers statewide have been trained through virtual and in-person workshops.

“Teachers usually have an interest in food systems but don’t teach agriculture, so this gives them the confidence to talk about food systems,” said Best. The Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix is free for anybody to use. Virtual and on-farm experiences are offered at no cost to educators and students. In 2022, the Royalton-Hartland School District participated in Niagara County CCE Farm to School Educator Training, in addition to the 2022 New York Farm to School Institute coordinated by Farm to Institution New York  (FINYS). The district is looking to build its agriculture program with the Farm to School Grant and plans to use the matrix to support its efforts.

NYAITC offers multiple initiatives to increase ag literacy in schools. The organization also hosts programs, including Agricultural Literacy Week, Educator Workshops, and Top Cut: A Beef Contest, among others. Through the Top Cut Beef Contest students learn through recipe development, taste tests, marketing, etc., and submit their entries to NYAITC. The contest collects nearly 70 submissions each year with the top three in each category winning prizes for their school.

Kids meet farm animals at harvest festival

“When students have hands-on learning and learn how the things they are learning apply to the world, it opens up a lot of opportunities,” Best said. “Our work encourages students to develop their own unique talents and explore their interests in a broad range of career pathways. The agricultural literacy of teachers and students is paramount in our work to empower and build an innovative and engaged workforce of tomorrow.”

NYAITC, NYS FFA, and Agriculture Recruitment and Retention works in partnership with Cornell University, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, the New York State Education Department, New York agriculture partners/producers, schools, and communities to develop the next generation of agriculturally literate citizens who are necessary in meeting the challenges faced by society in producing tomorrow’s food, fiber, and fuel.

Farmer with Angus Beef Cows

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