The County Line Sales Barn agreed last week to join with the Hunger Relief Alliance, the Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association and Farmers Feeding the World to provide one-pound packages of ground beef to help feed the hungry.

The sale barn has agreed to provide five cents for every cow they sell to the programs. The barn sells between 10,000 and 12,000 head of cattle a year.

Michelle Shope, Food Sourcing and Logistics Director of the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, said the organization has provided 27,000 servings of ground beef in the last year. It was formed in 2017.

“It’s very exciting the way the cattle industry has embraced this project,” she said at a presentation last week at the sale barn.

The project was brought to the attention of sale barn owners by John Paul Pendergrass, a cattleman living in the Peter Pender area north of the sale barn, according to Ron Koch, one of the sale barn owners.

According to Shope, protein is an important part of a healthy diet, yet most low income Arkansans cannot afford to buy meat on a regular basis. When they can buy meat, it often has a very high fat content, she said. Similarly, food banks don’t have reliable sources for affordable meat protein, she said. The Arkansas Beef Project, a program from the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance in partnership with the Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association and Farmers Feeding the World, offers cattle ranchers a unique opportunity to provide a much needed source of protein to many Arkansas children and families in need, she said.

Shope said there are three ways people can get involved. They are:

Cash donations. Money is used to purchase domestic ground beef and process donated animals. Donate a live cow/bull. An adult cow/bull is transported to a USDA approved facility where it is processed. Donate a calf. It can be raised by a cattleman or cattlewoman, then donated to the program.

All donated beef is distributed in one-pound portions to food banks and food pantries across the state to help food insecure Arkansans have a reliable source of protein.

Shope said this project helps those seniors and almost 20 percent of Arkansans who aren’t sure where they will find their next meal.