A single 535-lb. steer generated $31,832 at a fundraising auction on Dec. 6 to benefit Washington's Beef Counts program. Beef Counts was created by the beef industry to provide nutritious beef to struggling families through Second Harvest food banks.

The contributions from local cattle ranchers and feeders raised the total beef industry donations for the year to $107,427. The goal of the Beef Counts program is to provide the food bank with a steady supply of beef throughout the year. Launched in 2010, over 16,500 beef roasts have already reached those in need.

One hundred percent of the tax-deductible Beef Counts donations are used to provide beef to Second Harvest. Without the beef donation, only 4% of the food Second Harvest distributes is protein, which equates to only 0.7 servings of protein/person - far below the USDA recommended 6 oz. of protein/day.

"We feel privileged to participate with the beef producers in Washington in the Beef Counts program," says Rick Stott, Agri Beef Co. executive vice president. "It is very gratifying to think that from the $107,000 that was raised in 2011, our industry will be able to provide over 200,000 beef meals to neighbors that are struggling to put food on their table. I am continually humbled by the generosity of the beef producers to those that are in need."

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