Wall Meat Processing, the Wall School District and the Wall Economic Development Corporation’s Agriculture Committee have worked together to make serving locally raised beef to the community’s school children a reality in 2019.
Wall Meat Processing, the Wall School District and the Wall Economic Development Corporation’s Agriculture Committee have worked together to make serving locally raised beef to the community’s school children a reality in 2019.


By Codi Vallery-Mills


When kids go back to the Wall, S.D. school after Christmas vacation this year they will be sitting down to a school lunch of locally raised beef. 

A Beef to School program was recently launched by Wall Economic Development Corporation’s Agriculture Committee with a multitude of different people making it happen. 

Ranchers Josh and Shasta Geigle of Wall were first to donate a portion of a heifer that was processed on Dec. 5 and will be served to students on Jan. 4, 2019. Josh says the program has been well-received by the community and school district so far and he looks forward to what it will mean to the children. 

“Our plan is to have ranchers and farmers in visiting with the kids every time the local beef is served for lunch. That way they can put a face and name to the people raising their food. We can talk to them about ranching, animal care, beef nutrition, all sorts of things. And we hope to have different people there – like the football coach who also ranches – we want to be able to relate to more kids than those that might happen to know us. Having several of us there will offer that,” Geigle says.

Ken Charfauros of Wall Meat Processing has been excited about the potential of the program since he heard about it at this past summer’s SD Governor’s Ag Summit where a panel discussion gave a look at what a school in Wyoming was doing.

“I knew it was something that we could do in Wall and I came back and presented the idea to our Ag Committee here. They were receptive because they had wanted to do something like this for a while. The stars began to align from there,” Charfauros.

Charfauros began to do his homework on what needed to happen at his meat processing facility to be able to process beef for the Wall school. Through the help of the state departments of ag and education, the animal industry board, USDA and guidance from Dr. Amanda Blair at SDSU he is able to now meet the criteria needed.   

Charfauros says Wall is perfectly located along I-90 with reputable ranchers surrounding the community. “When you have an abundance of beef what could be more perfect than to feed that wholesome beef to our school kids?” he asks.

“I think the kids are going to be very impressed with the Beef to School Program. They are going to come away from it respecting farmers and ranchers and knowing about agriculture even more than they do now,” Charfauros says.

The school uses approximately 3,300 pounds of beef annually. Currently, the beef is being supplied through USDA commodities and Reinhart Food Service. Head cook at the Wall School is Lynn Dunker who says she wants the Beef to School program to succeed. 

She has spent the last 11 years with the school lunchroom and knows the USDA nutrition guidelines that need to be met for the kids. Dunker says the local patties will have the same nutrition values and safety standards as previous beef supplied but it won’t be pre-cooked and Dunker and staff will be cooking them. 

“I do think it will make a difference to the kids. Especially when they get the opportunity to sit down face-to-face with the producer that supplied their meal that day,” she says.

For the Beef to School pilot project, five animals will need to be harvested. Producers can donate portions of an animal, a whole animal or monetary donations to help cover processing costs. 

In addition to the interaction and discussions the students will receive from farmers and ranchers, the Wall FFA Chapter has been granted the opportunity to help implement the South Dakota Beef Industry Council’s Pasture to Plate curriculum. 

The program is designed to help Wall’s ag teacher Dani Herring enhance classroom curriculum to include knowledge about beef cuts, preparation, cooking, and nutrition education while at the same time incorporating the beef story.

“It’s encouraging that we have so many people involved in this and wanting it to do well,” Dunker says.

Donation checks can be sent to the Wall Economic Development Corporation at PO Box 314, Wall, SD 57790. For those interested in donating an animal you can call 605-279-2685.