4-H beef: Is it worth buying?

Purchasing a 4-H steer from your county fair supports local youth and could potentially save you $900-$1,000.

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Local News

July 5, 2022 - 3:12 PM

Carly Dreher competes in the senior showman beef competition Saturday at the 2021 Allen County Fair.

It is about that time of year that 4-Hers have worked hard for — fair time. While fair time can be stressful, it is also a very rewarding time. From livestock animals to photography projects and everything in between, 4-Hers dedicate many hours of hard work to their projects and the fair is their place to showcase it to the entire community. The Allen County Fair runs from July 27 to July 31. One of the most rewarding events for livestock 4-Hers is the livestock premium sale on July 31 at 6:30 p.m. Most premium sales provide 4-Hers with a higher than market value price courtesy of local businesses and other sponsors within the community.

As the COVID-19 pandemic showed, buying local beef was very popular due to shortages of meat caused by illnesses in the packing plants. So why should you buy beef from a local 4-Her? First off, you are supporting our local youth in their projects and helping them fund their animals for the next fair. Secondly, while it is a larger up-front expense, it is cheaper, in the long run, to buy an entire calf from a 4-Her. While any beef is good beef in my opinion, buying an entire animal or even half a beef allows you to get it cut how you want.

According to the University of Wisconsin-Madison and South Dakota State University Extension, a 1,300 lb. steer will yield 62-64% carcass weight which is about 806 lbs., which is then further processed down to 521 lbs. of take-home meat. Within that 521 lbs., you have ground beef, stew meat, chuck roasts, round roasts, a multitude of steaks, etc. There are many different ways to cut your beef, but on average from this 1,300 lb. steer, you will get about 196 lbs. of ground beef/stew meat, and about 325 lbs. of roasts and steaks. If you don’t like all the types of roasts, you can grind them for ground beef instead. 

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