Top Cut: A Beef Contest
New York Agriculture in the Classroom and the New York State Beef Council partner each year to offer an exciting cross-curricular program for middle and high school students to engage with and understand beef production. This experiential learning contest allows students to creatively develop a marketing strategy for a product of their choice, while learning about the multitude of agricultural careers and skills it takes to develop and sell a product. Students will also learn about beef production and beef nutrition as a result of participation.
This year's theme will be "Cafeteria Takeover". Teams will compete to develop a beef product of their choice that could be found in their school cafeteria while working with their school's food service personnel to identify the process of procuring, preparing, and providing a balanced school lunch to students in school and at home.
The contest has also been updated to accommodate in-person and virtual learning. We are excited to present you with learning opportunities that can work in all educational situations.
Students will work as a group to develop a marketing and nutrition plan for a beef-centric product or recipe that could be served in their school cafeteria.
This year's school lunch theme will allow students the real-world experience of feeding their peers a nutritional and balanced meal while also developing connections with their school service workers and learning the intricacies of food procurement and recipe development.
3rd through 12th grade students working in groups or as a classroom in New York State are eligible to participate. Pre-registration is required in the respective grade divisions. Multiple groups or classrooms from the same school may participate. FFA chapters, home school groups, and private schools are also eligible to participate.
- Elementary School (3rd - 5th Grade)
- Middle School (6th – 8th Grade)
- High School (9th – 12th Grade)
Pre-Registration opens September 7, 2021
Contest submissions are due December 3, 2021
Winners will be announced no later than December 23, 2021
Awards in Each Division
- 1st $250, George Foreman Grill, and banner for school
- 2nd $100 and banner
- 3rd $50 and banner
For teams that meet the state requirements for a well-balanced lunch in their project submission, their lunch could be selected to be featured on the New York Beef Council Website.
All classrooms must pre-register to participate in the Top Cut Beef Contest. With pre-registration, your classroom will receive the links to the planned virtual resources and opportunities for your classroom to ask questions to experts. The first 50 teachers that register by October 1, 2021 will receive a classroom beef box to support their students classroom Top Cut: Beef Contest experience.
Beef for the Classroom Grant
The final page of your contest pre-registration will be an application for the Beef for the Classroom Grant. By filling out this short application you can earn up to $100 reimbursed for purchasing beef products for your students to cook with during your recipe development.
Use the following documents to find the contest requirements and contest template. The requirements and template will walk you and your students step-by-step through this years contest. The template should be used when submitting a project with each section filled out. The descriptors in each section should be removed in the final submission.
The marketing plans will be judged by a panel of beef producers and educators.
Please use the following link to submit your students Top Cut projects.
You can find further directions on how to submit within the submission link as well as our Top Cut 2021 welcome video.
Please direct any questions you have about this contest to Katie Carpenter.
Explore the Past Winning Schools and Projects
Check out the impressive submissions from the past winners of the Top Cut Beef Contest!