Beef Up Iowa program

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg and Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig recently announced the Beef Up Iowa program to connect Iowa beef producers with food insecure Iowans. The program is a partnership with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University and Iowa’s beef producers, and is an initiative of Gov. Reynolds’ Feeding Iowans Task Force led by Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg.

Through Beef Up Iowa, students and staff at Iowa State University will process cattle from Iowa beef producers who have limited processing options due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The meat will be distributed to food bank and food pantry feeding programs across the state. The initial cattle for Beef Up Iowa will be sourced from Iowa 4-H and FFA members.

Beef Up Iowa will officially begin when the first cattle are delivered on July 1. Processing will continue through the summer and for as long as funds remain. The beef will be distributed through the Iowa Food Bank Association and the six Iowa food banks that service the state.

Dr. Dan Thomson, chair of the Department of Animal Science at Iowa State University, said the program is based in service and in line with the university’s land grant mission.

Iowa food banks and food pantries have seen increased demand due to the pandemic while processing options for Iowa beef producers have decreased. Gov. Reynolds has allocated federal CARES Act funds from the state to help cover processing costs and provide beef to food insecure Iowans. However, there are costs associated with purchasing cattle, and the storage, transportation and delivery of the beef to food banks and pantries.

To donate funds to help support this program, visit the Iowa Cattlemen’s Foundation at

A summary of food resources available to those in need is available at