McCann was recognized at the 2021 Missouri Cattlemen Industry Convention and Trade Show for his role in efforts to "beef" up school lunches through Mo Beef Mo Kids (MoBKF), a program of the Missouri Beef Industry Council (MBIC).
OSAGE BEACH, JANUARY 11TH, 2021 - Jim McCann was recognized at the 2021 Missouri Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show for his role in efforts to "beef" up school lunches through Mo Beef Mo Kids (MoBKF), a program of the Missouri Beef Industry Council (MBIC). The program connects schools and their food service professionals to Missouri cattle farmers and ranchers to provide more beef, more often on the school lunch tray. McCann was involved in the program’s infancy, bringing an idea to fruition through a partnership with MBIC and Missouri Department of Agriculture. McCann has served as a champion volunteer in southwest Missouri since its formation and has helped organize beef donations to benefit thousands of Missouri students. He was presented with a custom Mo Beef Mo Kids Champion belt buckle and certificate of appreciation, accompanied by his sons, Jason and Travis.
MoBKF began in 2017 with one pilot school and has since expanded to over 35 schools across Missouri. In each participating school district, officials work with Missouri cattle producers, foodservice providers and local processors to make the program possible. Thanks to McCann’s example, students enjoy and appreciate an increase in beef meals, through menu items like tacos and roast beef sandwiches. Beef offers big nutrition in a small package: providing young people with protein and essential nutrients that support learning and an active lifestyle.
As an extension to beef on the school lunch tray, school participants have the opportunity to learn about beef’s production story and nutritional profile in the classroom.
The McCanns have a stocker backgrounding operation, along with a cow/calf herd, in Southwest Missouri. Their ranching heritage originated in Arizona, before moving to Missouri and settling land to pursue passion in the beef industry, raising their three children on the family farm. Today, Jim, his wife Linda and their two sons and families are involved in the day-to-day operation of the farm. Their daughter, Monica, and her family currently reside in Texas.
McCann's work ethic and passion translates off the farm in a variety of leadership roles. He has served as President of the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, and in roles with Farm Bureau, Lawrence County Extension Council, Southwest Missouri Cattlemen’s Association and Round Grove Baptist Church.
He has a heart for sharing the story of beef with youth who are multiple generations removed from the farm. McCann's efforts have benefited the beef industry for decades, as he advocates for beef demand and tells the story of today’s farmers and ranchers.
"Jim McCann has been a “superhero” for getting Mo Beef for Mo Kids off the ground in Southwest Missouri, playing a significant role in the program’s initial years on behalf of the Missouri Beef Checkoff," says Mark Russell, Executive Director, Missouri Beef Industry Council. "It takes people like Jim with the vision and understanding that kids eating beef at young ages and understanding the importance of beef consumption will become life-long beef consumers."
“Without special people and volunteers like Jim, this program would not be possible,” says Program Director Luella Gregory. What better way to share the story of beef from farm to plate, then to begin with a real-life application of beef on the lunch tray. When you walk the halls of a participating school and see a farm family photo on the cafeteria wall, you’re reminded of the impact. The message comes full circle, and helps young people make the connection, many of which are disconnected from the farm.”
McCann encourages others in the beef industry to get involved in the program, as well.
"Communities support one another and are always willing to donate to the right cause," he says. "With this program, the beef industry can do their part. We're not just helping one student with this program. Our goal is to get Missouri beef on all school lunch trays. As producers, if we teach young kids to eat beef, we will reap the benefits when they go to the grocery store for their family in the future."
Tracey Mershon, MBIC Region 1 board member, Nathan Martin, MBIC Chairman of the Board, Luella Gregory, MoBKF Program Director, Jim McCann, Scynthia Schnake, MBIC Region 4 board member, and Mark Russell, MBIC Executive Director.