When there’s food, people usually will show up.
For two hours Thursday on the Fort Hays State University Quad, students did just that for the beef production class and their assortment of different recipes using hamburger. It was all part of the annual Beef Day.
Starting at 11:30 a.m., a steady stream of students went through the line of tables to try the beef products, and the flow of food testers never slowed. It was the seventh year the beef production class has hosted the event.
“This has been kind of success from Day 1,” said Brittany Howell, associate professor of agriculture at Fort Hays. “We’ve got the great attendance since the first time we started it. I’m just happy. People come, and they’re willing to have patience to go through lines.”
Along with coming for the food, students are educated about the agricultural process of working in beef. The class showcases poster displays of their chosen beef topic along the line and hands out information to people going through.
There also were tables set up at the end of the food line that included agriculture clubs, some displaying information on beef production. There was a table through the Kansas State University Extension and Research on watersheds. Paige Pratt, district administrator for Kansas Farm Bureau, was the emcee as she walked through the crowd with a microphone and interviewed a few students, instructors and administrators in line about the importance of beef agriculture.
“Everyone’s got different topics in beef production,” said Joel Stagemeyer, a senior in general agriculture from Arapaho, Neb. “Ours is in antibiotics in cattle. Right now, cattle and sheep kind of have a bad image. People get the wrong idea their meat is full of antibiotics. You see that all over the internet. We’re just here promoting beef and telling people a little more about beef production. We’re just letting them know that antibiotics, they all have a withdrawal period before they go to market. So it’s not like there’s residues in the meat.”
Along with the hamburgers and hotdogs provided by the Collegiate Farm Bureau, the beef production class was broken into groups that each provided a different beef plate. Stagemeyer’s group made and served armadillo eggs.
Stagemeyer said it was something made more noticeable by the famed A&E show “Duck Dynasty.”
“It’s popular on the internet,” he said of the armadillo eggs. “It’s jalapeños. You pour out the seeds and stuff it with creme cheese. You wrap it in hamburger. We cooked it in the oven, preferably you should smoke it, then you can put spices and barbecue on it.”
Students passing through the line were encouraged to fill out a small survey and vote on their favorite recipe. Howell said they would tally up the votes, and she most likely would give the winner an award. She said in years past, one group always would do a queso dip that became the winner, so she had to rethink the award part.
“It’s a great way to promote beef and just ag in general,” Ryan Kinsler said of Beef Day.
Kinsler is in the Fort Hays Collegiate Farm Bureau and a senior from Kingman in agronomy.
“This is a great way to get information out to people, because there’s a lot of negative information or misinformation that’s out there. … We’re just not telling what we’re doing or how it’s done. I think this is a great way to get people in and say ‘Hey, this is how it is. This is how the industry is and this is how agriculture is.’ ”