Regents Dine on UAF Beef
By Nancy Tarnai, School of Natural Resources & Agricultural Sciences, www.snras.blogspot.com
The School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences gave the UA Board of Regents something to chew on (literally) at a June 5 meeting in Fairbanks. The regents’ luncheon included Angus beef raised by the Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, as well as two varieties of potatoes grown at the Matanuska Experiment Farm.
“This is an excellent example of what local food can taste like,” Dean Carol Lewis said to the board. She said she has been wanting to coordinate an effort like this with the catering department for a while. Expressing appreciation to UAF Dining Services, Dr. Lewis said she looks forward to providing food for university events in the future. “We can’t supply all the food catering needs but we can help on special occasions.”
Milan Shipka, associate director of the AFES and professor of animal science, explained to the regents that the meat provided came from a research herd of about 30 cattle at the Matanuska Experiment Farm. The Angus beef is grass finished, meaning the animals are fed on hay and haylage their entire lives; they are not grain-fed.
“Food security is an important issue,” Shipka said. SNRAS is working to determine the amount of food imported into Alaska, but he is sure it is more than 90 percent of the food supply. “That puts us at a severe risk,” he said. He encouraged the regents to purchase Alaska Grown food products as often as they can.
“Consume more Alaska meat and produce,” he urged. In addition to beef, meats raised in Alaska include bison, yak, elk and reindeer.
Calling himself an “Aggie to the core,” Shipka asked the regents to consider the importance of agriculture to the university and the state. “In the past 10 years people have been embarrassed about agriculture,” he said. “Some schools have even changed their names but what we do is important – produce food for humans.”
Regent Kirk Wickersham said, “I am really impressed with what you have provided for us today.”
“This is the best steak I ever had,” Regent Carl Marrs said.
Dr. Shipka gave credit to the chef, Daniel J. Morgan,who cooked the steaks. He said he had been worried about the meal, and was really hoping the meat would be tender and tasty for the regents. “The chef did a great job,” he said. The true test of tenderness was that the regents were able to cut the meat with plastic utensils.