FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - Where’s the beef? Well, a ton of it – that’s right, 2,000 pounds - is heading to Kentucky food banks, thanks to a donation from the Kentucky Beef Council and Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association.
The announcement was made during a press conference on the Capitol grounds Wednesday afternoon where Gov. Matt Bevin signed a proclamation designating May as Beef Month in Kentucky.
Bevin saluted the cattle industry for making the donation, saying it’s part of being a Kentuckian. “Things we almost take for granted in the terms of the quality of life, the values, the things we hold dear; the fact that we do value the hard work that goes into raising cattle, in this case.”
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said beef cattle farming is big business in the state. “Nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars goes into the back pocket of Kentucky’s hard-working farmers each year. We have 76,000 farms in our state, almost all of them are owned by hard-working families, and half of those have beef cattle.”
He also thanked Kentucky’s agricultural community for their support in his ongoing Kentucky Hunger Initiative. “For the past couple years, we have moved the needle on reducing food insecurity in Kentucky.”
Michael Halligan, CEO of God’s Pantry Food Bank in Lexington, expressed his appreciation to Kentucky’s cattle producers “who very humbly, behind the scenes, support hunger relief efforts every day. They don’t look for glory, they don’t look for press releases, they go about doing their jobs, very well, because they care about the communities they live in, and the people they work with, day in and day out.”
Halligan says the ton of beef will be put to good use. “There are over 700,000 people at risk of hunger across the commonwealth, a quarter million in central and eastern Kentucky, the area served by God’s Pantry. Your support makes a tremendous difference in their lives.”
Volunteers with the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association and the Beef Council cooked up burgers for people in attendance.
Gov. Bevin and Quarles also got into the effort, cooking a few steaks on the grill, and helping transfer the ton of beef to a food bank truck.
Kentucky beef farmers have more than two million head of cattle, and annually produce over 606 million pounds of beef, making it one of Kentucky’s top five agricultural commodities.