FFA students selling beef

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- You have the chance to purchase locally produced beef and support local students.

The Newton High School FFA show team members are now selling their steers for beef, as they do each year.

"This is the best way for (the students) to get the most return," said Ryan Talton, the NHS FFA adviser.

A dozen students have been raising their steers since earlier this year and have participated in 11 shows with them. The steers are fed and watered each day at either the FFA barn at NHS or at the students' homes; they are not given steroids or hormones.

"The kids are the cows' primary caretakers," Talton said. "They are pampered animals."

After caring for and showing their animals throughout the year, the final phase of the students' FFA project is to make sure they can sell their meat.

"They've got so much invested," Talton said. "And it makes it such a great, great product -- you wouldn't want any other steak; it's restaurant-quality."

He said he prefers selling the beef to area residents to keep the product local and allow the community to support the students.

Until February, you can order a half or whole steer. Talton said that is the only way he is able to sell the product, so many people buy in groups.

The cost is $1.50 per pound, plus processing fee costs, which are determined after processing in late February or early March and is handled at the University of Georgia's Meat Science Lab processing center. Customers will receive vacuum-sealed steaks, roasts, ground beef and stew meat.

Talton said purchasing this beef saves about $1,000, compared to grocery store prices, and will result in a higher-quality product.

Residents also can sponsor one or more FFA students by donating money to the program or adding on extra money to their beef purchase. All buyers will be recognized the following year by having their names displayed at the Newton County Livestock Show and Chapter banquets.

All profits are used to support the FFA program at NHS.

Anyone interested in purchasing meat or making a donation should call Talton at 678-342-5931 or e-mail talton.ryan@newton.k12.ga.us.