Thanks to the beef checkoff, more than 2,700 lbs. of beef are headed to 750 National Guard men and women in six units serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"We really appreciate this outstanding effort on the part of beef producers," says Maj. Gen. Michael Gorman, commander of the South Dakota Air and Army National Guard. "I know our Guard members will be truly pleased to receive this taste from home."

Gorman was at the Sioux Falls, SD, post office on Monday to accept delivery of the 88 boxes of product from Nancy Montross, a DeSmet, SD, rancher and president of the South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC).

"Every one of the state's beef producers contributed to this project through the beef checkoff," Montross says. "Sending these beef products is a fitting way to show our thanks and support to these South Dakota men and women contributing so much with their service."

Montross says each Guard member will receive 10 packages of the beef product, vacuum-sealed and sent with a thank you from the South Dakota beef producers. The boxes of beef were sent by priority mail and Guard members were expected to be enjoying the beef products by the end of this week.

The 8,000 packages of beef jerky and beef sticks were produced and packaged by Howard Cold Storage in Howard, SD Additional beef producers helped box the product, prepare it for shipment and unload the boxes in Sioux Falls.