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Buying Beef For Food Banks

The world is full of so much noise, division, distraction, and fear right now, it’s hard not to have a dark cloud over head when you’re going about your day. The mainstream headlines seek to convince you that the world is an awful, broken place, and yes, in some ways it is. 

However, there are still good people out there, doing good things, to impact their communities and make the world a better place. 

Whenever I’m asked to speak somewhere, I always tell farmers and ranchers that if we are going to change minds about who we are in agriculture, it first begins with changing hearts. And to do that, we have to have servitude hearts, and we have to be active and present in our communities, investing our time and talents into others to provide solutions and to make a positive impact.

There are so many wonderful community-service projects out there that the agricultural community spearheads, but probably one of my favorites is the Prime Time Gala. 

Hosted by the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Foundation (SDCF), the Prime Time Gala is an annual event held every summer that features a steak supper, a benefit auction, and a concert. Proceeds from the event are donated to Feeding South Dakota, and the dollars raised are used to purchase beef for all of the food banks in the state of South Dakota.

This year’s event held in June raised a whopping total of $316,016, which was presented to Feeding South Dakota on stage at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center just before Hank Williams Jr. performed. To date, the event has generated $2,084,312 for Feeding South Dakota in nine years. 

“The SDCF is inspired and humbled by the results of the 2022 Prime Time Gala,” said Ryan Eichler, SDCF president. “The outpouring of generosity, coupled with a high energy atmosphere, made the event unforgettable. The beef industry in South Dakota continues to show tremendous support for the Prime Time Gala and supports the mission of Feeding South Dakota. As we look to the tenth annual event next June, we’re excited to partner with industry stakeholders and sponsors to continue delivering beef to those in need throughout South Dakota.”

So what does this donation of beef to Feeding South Dakota really mean? According to SDCF, “Of the 17.7 million pounds of food that Feeding South Dakota distributes on an annual basis to all 66 counties in the state, only about 10% of that is protein.”

This donation of beef truly fills a need and a gap in what is offered at these food banks, ensuring that every family, and every child, has access to nutrient-dense products like beef. Beef, of course, has ten essential nutrients, including zinc, iron, and protein, and plays an important role in maintaining overall health and building and maintaining muscle mass.

In addition to raising money for Feeding South Dakota, the event also awards scholarships to young people who are interested in pursuing an education geared toward the improvement and promotion of beef production. 

Additionally, the Prime Time Gala hosts a fed cattle challenge, and it awarded scholarships to the next generation of feed yard owners and managers who participated in the cattle finishing program laid out by SDCF.

Finally, a highlight of the evening was the raffle for a new pickup truck, donated by Billion Chevrolet of Sioux Falls. Exactly 1,000 tickets were sold, and one lucky winner took home a 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 Duramax Crew Cab 4WD LT. 

The Prime Time Gala is truly a model for agricultural advocacy in action. A group of ranchers and cattle feeders come together to solve a problem — food insecurity. To address this issue, they bring together people from far and wide to raise money for a good cause, to enjoy a steak dinner and music together, and to see these cattlemen and women present the donation to the cheers of a roaring audience.

You better believe the Prime Time Gala changes hearts and minds about who we are in the farming and ranching community. Now the question remains — what will each of us do to change the narrative in a positive direction using our own unique talents, passions, and skills? The load and the burden is heavy, but many hands make light work. Let’s get to work telling our story and building those important relationships with the people we aim to serve. 

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