Windsor students will soon be able to get an “A” grade for Grade A – beef, that is.
New York State has awarded the Windsor Central School District $89,870 to increase the amount of New York beef used in the district’s meals and providing students with opportunities to explore livestock farming.
The district will use this money to buy cows students in the high school agriculture program will help raise to provide beef to the high school cafeteria. The cows will be raised in an area adjacent to the WCHS chicken coop.
“This gives students an opportunity to learn all about raising a meat animal because it’s not easy. The end result is something that you are going to feed people with. The expectation is that that product is good. You want to raise it in such a way that the consumer enjoys it,” said Windsor Central High School agriculture teacher Tina Miner-James.
The district will spend the upcoming school year preparing the infrastructure to house the animals. The first year the district is ready to host cows, it will buy an adult cow that is closer to processing age, as well as a calf. Each following year, the district will buy a pair of calves.
“The whole idea is to purchase replacements each year. We’ll buy two and it’ll take 18-20 months to finish them out, but we’ll buy two each September,” said Mrs. Miner-James.
“We want to continue to push our agriculture program to the next level of experience and opportunity, both for our students and the students who will come here for the B-T BOCES Career and Technical Education program,” said Windsor CSD Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Scott Beattie.
Students will learn the intricacies of raising cattle.
“Students will go through the beef quality assurance training program offered to beef producers. Once they’re trained, they’ll have a whole new outlook on how that beef is raised. It will give them deeper insight. There are Ag and Market rules and humane rules that they’ll have to follow,” said Mrs. Miner-James.
“I think it’s going to be a great thing. The students will participate in the raising of the animal they will serve. It’s an experience few students will get, and a great one for those who are involved,” said Windsor CSD food services manager Jessica Ferris.
The students will also learn if it’s an experience they would like to continue.
“Bringing it to campus as opposed to having it off-site opens up the opportunity for more kids to see it and make the decision about whether an agriculture career is suitable for them,” said Mr. Beattie
“They’ll get a greater appreciation for food production and processing, and the career opportunities that are inherent within the industry. The pride and work ethic that goes into this type of enterprise is something the students can take with them,” said Mrs. Miner-James.