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Ranchers Feeding Youth in New Meadows, Idaho


This program to educate students has being going on for several years through the Valley/Adams County Farm Bureau. They also brought in the University of Idaho Extension Agency to help design and teach the Ranchers Feeding Youth program. Plus the Payette River Cattleman's Association joined in to help cook up the beef for meals the students in Valley and Adams county at the Ranchers Feeding Youth program.


“The idea was started because we wanted the kids in Valley and Adams county to know about agriculture, and of course primarily in Valley and Adams county it is animal agriculture,” said Dean Dryden, President of Valley/Adams Farm Bureau.

“There is a very good chance that no matter what field you go into, it will be related to agriculture.”

“So today we are doing a program called Ranchers Feeding Youth that was started here in the Valley/Adams Farm Bureau. It is in conjunction and works with the University of Idaho extension agency. Our extension agent has done a really bang-up job of helping us with curriculum,” said Dryden.

Dean Dryden is the President of the Valley/Adams County Farm Bureau, and was a student here at Meadows Valley a few… decades or so back.

This program is geared towards elementary and middle school students, and is broken into three sessions.

“We basically have is animal byproducts,” said Dryden.

“We have found ways to use the rest of the animal in different products. And see all these things up here? Yeah! These all have cow in them. What! I know, can you believe it?”

 So they will figure out what byproducts are in the products that they use every day,” said Dryden.

“What about this? Yeah! Good job, you guys are pretty smart.”

“You know all sorts of things, they don’t realize that beef byproducts are used in them.”

“What about his? Yeah!!”

“We use 99% of that 1,000 pound animal.”

“So that’s one. Another one that we do is what ranchers do.”

“Probably the most important thing for raising cows is to keep them happy and healthy and then they’re gaining and it’s like these guys with the range. They take care of the range and the range takes care of them.”

 “We teach kids about how we’re environmental stewards, how most of our farms and ranches are family owned and operated,” said Dryden.

“Here goes our 75%... Whoah! Earth is an apple…”

“Earth is and Apple is the third one, and it tells how small an amount of ground is available to raise the food on the Earth.”

Using an apple to represent the planet, they show how just 1/32 of the surface of the Earth is used to produce food for the everyone on the planet.

“And so we are dealing with this little sliver for the amount of land that we can use to grow food to feed the world! Wow! I know… what? Mind blowing, right!”

“And so if you all are aware the soil is valuable and soil is important because we all need to eat and we all like to eat and it grows our food…  and you know that in the 2nd or 3rd grade, I think the world is going to be better off.”

“It’s an interesting thing for them to realize what a critical thing it is to have sustainable agriculture and have land to raise food for the population of the world,” said Dryden.

They rotate they’re presentation through the area schools over time, hitting each school at least twice between a students time from first to eighth grades. Because of Covid this was the first school they been to in a while.

“Yeah, the Ranchers Feeding Youth, that was a big thing. We hadn’t had it for like a year so we were excited to get it back going.”

Raynee  Bentz is a senior at Meadows Valley. She’s helping out as part of her senior project about ranching, and says she remembers seeing the presentation when she was younger.

“One of the big things is I didn’t know the difference between a heifer and a normal cow, and I kind of embarrassed myself and I remember that to this day.

 It’s definitely really cool because even when I did it I found a lot of interest in it and just being able to learn about it like the apple session that they did in here, I think that’s the coolest thing.

I feel like a lot of kids will find an interest in it and grow up and do something along the lines whether it be finding a rancher, doing something in your small community. And then other kids,” said Bentz.

“And of course, we enjoy it. We have kids and grandkids and just like I went to school at this school. My kids went to school at this school. And it’s just fun to come back,” said Dryden.

And after teaching kids all about Idaho beef, Farm Bureau members brought in a grill to cook up some of that beef. Hamburgers with all the fixins were  served to everyone for lunch. 

“There you go young lady. No cheese. No cheeseburger?

Thankyou. Go fot it.”

“is it good? Thumbs up!

This is good.”

“We do show the lifestyle and we show how we as farmers and ranchers… how we’re so tied to our environment. Most farmers and ranchers don’t think about it that way, but we are. We’re very tied to our land, our water, our grasses, our crops and we need to tell people that.,” said Dryden.

For the Voice of Idaho Agriculture, I’m Paul Boehlke.