RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - A school in Wall is making history as the first school to bring in locally raised beef into their school lunch program.
The Wall School District is trying out a new school lunch program... where local ranchers are serving up their beef for the students. After finding out about the lunch program starting in Nebraska, a rancher brought the idea to the Wall school district to try in South Dakota.
"Not very many people have anything to do on a day to day basis with farming and ranching. It's important for us in agriculture to share our message and engage with the public and what a better age than elementary, middle school and high school students," says Josh Giegle, a rancher in Wall.
Today, 90 pounds of local beef was served to over 200 students at lunch time. Local beef is not only nutritious for these students but it also gives them a moment to learn about where their food comes from and the ranchers involved.
"Some of them don't, maybe don't even realize where beef comes from in the first place. And now when they found out it's their dad, their uncle, a family member, it's actually someone from their ranch, I think that's a really neat thing," says Wall School District Superintendent Dan Baldwin.
The school district can save money by using local beef versus paying federal fees to import food from other places. The Wall Meat Processing Plant quickly agreed to join the program and butchers the meat themselves. The co-owner of the plant says this is a perfect way to help strengthen the young minds of our future.
"Almost a dream come true that we can take what our natural resources are here in central South Dakota, we can process it and feed it to our children. That was amazing to me," says Wall Meat Processing Co-Owner Ken Charfaros.
The pilot program will last till May. But if it continues to go well, the school will bring the program back next fall.
The school superintendent says he hopes this becomes a trend with more South Dakota schools.