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Happy National Beef Month!

All of us play an important role in the agriculture industry. From farmers to truck drivers to consumers; we are involved. Products are grown, produced, transported and bought; contributing to feeding and supporting families across the globe.

May is National Beef Month, 31 days dedicated towards celebrating beef farmers and spreading awareness about the nutritional benefits of beef . To help honor this celebration, we are sharing some fun facts about beef cows and are encouraging you to inform others as well!

Beef cows are most well-known for their delicious meats, like hamburgers and steak. Most of the time, only 64% of the whole animal is consumed, but with cattle, 99% of the whole cow is utilized for meat and other products. Beef cows provide us with millions of byproducts, and a few of them might surprise you.

As many people know, leather is one of the top beef byproducts. Real leather is made from cowhide and is used for products like shoes, sporting goods and bags. Medical products, like ointments, anti-rejections, insulin, and even bandages which contain acids, organs, and other parts that come from beef cows! Cosmetics like make-up, lotions, and shampoos and conditioners also contain products derived from beef cows.

Nearly every part of a cow is used to help provide the products we use on a daily basis, everything from the bones and hooves to the fats and intestines. The beef industry in the U.S. represents one of the largest single segments of American agriculture, with well over 900,000 cattle farms all over the country. 91% of these farms are family-owned and more than 28,000 of them are located here in Iowa!

There are plenty of opportunities to share the story about local agriculture, like beef farming, with youth! At, there are many lessons that include informative yet fun activities for kids of all ages. We have a fun activity titled “The Amazing Beef Cow” that is geared towards preschool - kindergarten aged kids. Students will learn all about the difference between beef and dairy cows, become familiar with beef terminology, and will learn some more fun facts, like why farmers use ear tags. For additional beef resources, check out our FarmChat recordings. There are various clips on or on the Linn County Education Outreach Facebook page that offers virtual field trips to farms, like the Ball Family FarmChat, where students can see what life is like on a beef farm! Another classroom-favorite is My Family’s Beef Farm, a short book that informs youth on local Iowan agriculture while improving their literacy abilities. This book can be found read aloud via or can be ordered at

Beef farms are an essential part of our economy, our diets, and our country. Celebrate National Beef Month this May by supporting local beef farmers or participating in nearby celebrations! The Linn County Farm Bureau is hosting a giveaway to celebrate this month at Marion Fareway, where a customer can win a pack of t-bone steaks and more every Tuesday of the month! Sign up at the meat counter in the Marion Fareway for the chance to win! Visit our Facebook page or Marion Fareway to learn more.


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