MSU Beef Success
We have some exciting news to share. One year ago, the Department of Animal Science (DAS) conducted a pilot project that brought MSU born and raised cattle back to campus to be served through the residential dining service. During the past year, DAS has worked through challenges to find opportunities to make this value chain viable. Moving from a commodity to a specific product comes with a long list of issues to be resolved – some anticipated, some not. We are happy to report that Culinary Services (Residential Dining) and Spartan Hospitality Group (Kellogg Center and Spartan Signature Catering) will be purchasing a significant amount of MSU beef this year.
Beginning last week, cattle that were born, raised and preconditioned at the U.P. Research Center, Chatham, MI and Beef Cow/Calf Teaching and Research Center, Lansing, MI, finished at the MSU Beef Cattle Teaching and Research Center, Lansing, MI (photo attached), will be harvested at Ebels Meat Processing, Falmouth, MI, processed into boxed beef at Byron Center Meats, Byron Center, MI, and distributed to MSU Food Stores by Sysco Grand Rapids. This project encompasses approximately 100,000 lb. of live cattle. Superimposed on this project, we are also modeling an experimental traceability system that utilizes radio frequency identification and two dimensional bar-coding as part of a Michigan Animal Agriculture Initiative and USDA-AMS grant.
This effort was possible only with the sustained teamwork of Dr. Jeannine Schweihofer, MSUE; Dr. Jason Rowntree, ANS; Dr. Roy Black, AFRE; George Quackenbush, MI Beef Industry Commission; Mark and Tom Ebels, Ebels Meat Processing; Jim and Steve Sytsma, Byron Center Meats; Kevin Mahoney and Jim Hoekstra, Sysco Grand Rapids; Marta Mittermaier, Todd Loeffler and Matt Rodewald, MSU Culinary Services Food Stores; and Corporate Chef Kurt Kwiatkowski, MSU Culinary Services.
Daniel D. Buskirk, Ph.D., P.A.S., Assoc. Professor/Beef Extension Specialist, Michigan State University, Department of Animal Science