Some Iowa farmers have an ambitious plan to send Iowa beef to troops hankering for a snack. Michelle Baumhover with the Iowa Cattlemens Association says a good idea developed into a project dubbed “Beef’n Up the Troops.”She says Iowans want to send a gesture of appreciation and a state product, so several partners are working to have beef sticks manufactured. The promotion began as a letter home asking Iowans not to send goodies to a soldier.A young man who’d been deployed wrote to ask his parents not to send treats because sweets got all melted and sticky in the heat, but he also mentioned he’d like beef jerky. The soldier’s dad got talking to a producer who contacted others and then the Cattlemen’s Association, and the idea grew. The meat’s coming from the Iowa Quality Beef plant in Tama, and Triple-T Specialty Meats, a processor in Ackley, will turn it into dried beef sticks so Ames-based W-G Marketing can coordinate delivery to the command leaders overseas. Ty Bauman, a recently returned reservist who’s credited with inspiring the project, will among those making the announcement of the project this morning in Ames. Iowans have sent sweet corn to the troops, and later an enterprising solder planted some in what passes for Iraqi farmland, but Baumhover says the 12-thousand Iowa beef snack sticks will be good rations for the working soldier. This is easier logistically because each one-ounce stick will be individually packaged and easy for soldiers to pack and carry in the desert heat where they’re on duty. People who hear about the project are invited to donate funds to help it all happen. Producers will officially kick off the “Beef’n Up The Troops” promotion this (Wednesday) morning at a press conference at the Ames headquarters of the Iowa Cattlemens Association.
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