Gift from Tyson Foods supports Beef Up Iowa with Processing at Iowa State University

Group of people representing Tyson Foods and the Beef Up Iowa program, pictured holding a large check
Pictured above from left: Rex Hoppes, Iowa Beef Industry Council; Matt Wenger, Iowa State University; Liz Croston, Tyson Fresh Meats Manager Communications; Dr. Terry Houser, Iowa State University; Steve Stouffer, Tyson Fresh Meats Group President; Dr. Dan Thomson, Iowa State University; Julie Kenney, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture; Addisyn Young, Beef Up Iowa participant;  Lt. Governor Adam Gregg; Kinly Johnston, Beef Up Iowa participant; Shane Miller, Tyson Fresh Meats SVP & GM Beef Enterprise; Dan Heffernan, Tyson Fresh Meats VP Human Resources; Linda Gorkow, Iowa Food Bank Association Executive Director; Dr. Maynard Hogberg, Iowa Cattlemen's Foundation Board; Mary Greiman, Iowa Cattlemen's Foundation

AMES, Iowa - A gift from Tyson Foods will provide 80,000 meals* to food insecure Iowans through Beef Up Iowa.

The Beef Up Iowa program is a partnership among Iowa State University, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Food Bank Association and Iowa’s beef industry organizations, and is an initiative of Gov. Reynolds’ Feeding Iowans Task Force led by Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg. 

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Foundation accepted a $50,000 donation from Tyson Foods on October 13. Tyson’s gift will help purchase cattle and cover the cost of harvesting and processing.   

“We are committed to addressing the issue of food insecurity in our communities,” said Steve Stouffer, group president, Tyson Fresh Meats. “Beef Up Iowa is a great opportunity for us to support an innovative partnership that not only provides high quality, wholesome protein to individuals and families in need, but also recognizes and helps independent producers from the state of Iowa who are committed to sustainably raising high-quality livestock. We value and rely on our independent cattle producer partners every day to help us show the world how much good food can do as we strive to feed the world.”

Since Beef Up Iowa launched this summer, over 40 head of cattle have been processed generating 30,000 pounds of beef. The cattle were purchased from Iowa youth who raised the animals as 4H or FFA projects.

The gift from Tyson foods enables Beef Up Iowa to handle an additional 40 head of cattle, 20,000 pounds of ground beef, or 80,000 meals.

“The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted our entire food system and our economy. But when times get tough, the Iowa agriculture community rallies together to help those in need,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “The Beef Up Iowa food security initiative is a great example of Iowans stepping up to help others. I’m grateful to all our partners who helped make this program successful, including Gov. Reynolds for allocating CARES Act funds to cover program costs, Iowa Cattlemen's Foundation for connecting us with 4-H and FFA members, and Iowa State University for reopening its processing facility to help meet demands at local food banks.”

The animals are harvested at the Iowa State University Meat Lab and the beef is distributed to Iowa food banks.

“We at Iowa State University are humbled to be a part of the Beef Up Program. These activities help bring communities together around food production and the humanity of agriculture. It provides our faculty, staff and students life changing servant leadership opportunities,” said Dr. Dan Thomson, professor and chair of the Department of Animal Science at Iowa State University.

The Iowa Beef Industry Council, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Foundation help administer the program.

“The Iowa Cattlemen’s Foundation is extremely thankful for the gift from Tyson Foods,” said Maynard Hogberg, board member of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Foundation. “The generous donation allows us to help youth in the cattle industry while sharing the benefits of beef with other Iowans, two vital pieces of our mission.”

Tyson Foods Inc. is one of the world’s largest food companies and a recognized leader in protein. Founded in 1935 by John W. Tyson and grown under three generations of family leadership, the company has a broad portfolio of products and brands like Tyson®, Jimmy Dean®, Hillshire Farm®, Ball Park®, Wright®, Aidells®, ibp® and State Fair®.

* One meal = ¼ pound protein