SUPERMARKETS are not the only place where demand for beef has gone through the roof as tough economic times set in.
On the streets, and for those in marginalised circumstances, the need for good quality protein has never been more intense and in most areas is falling well short of the mark, welfare agencies are reporting.
Leading Queensland charity BeefBank, which takes beasts donated from the farmers and has them processed, butchered and made into meals to be handed out in street kitchens and to the needy, is hoping farmers can step up.
It has a pool of processors and butchers who chip in and transporters donating services and even saleyards help out where beasts are donated on sale day.
In an innovative twist, the organisation has also secured the services of out-of-work metropolitan chefs - some of them rather well-known like Noosa Boathouse's Shane Bailey, Beef Australia's executive chef - to help whip up tasty dishes that allow the utmost value to be secured from donated beasts.
The chefs are volunteering their time and skills to cook thousands of meals in Cooroy commercial kitchen and the likes of Oz Harvest and McCormick are supplying herbs, spices and pantry items. All that is needed now is more beef.
Beefbank Director Andrew Rodgers said the set-up was able to make ten meals per kilogram of usable meat on a beast.
"So the donation of a 600kg cow will give us 250kg of meat. We feed 2500 people through one animal," he said.
Donations of beasts are tax deductible to the market value of the animal on the day and BeefBank covers all freight and processing costs.
Mr Rodgers explained all the beef is made into products like mince, sausages and stewing steak, with no prime cuts retained to extract maximum value.
BeefBank has been operating since 2005 and typically meals ranging from rissoles and veges to curries are cooked by volunteers with charities like The Red Cross and the Salvation Army. Foodbank also assists with distribution.
"We rely heavily on the generosity of beef producers but with drought, fires, floods and now coronavirus, donations have slowed right at the time more are needed," Mr Rodgers said.
Well-known Queensland producers Bim and Susan Struss, Havelock at Mitchell, said this was a wonderful opportunity for producers to show their hand by helping out city cousins and reciprocating the support those in cities demonstrate for drought-affected farmers.
Mr Struss, chair of Cattle Council's animal health and welfare committee and former Agforce cattle president, urged producers to donate a beast.
"When they come out of COVID, we want the respect and support of those in the city so now is the time for us to step up," he said.
"There are people in cities who are underprivileged, not because they want to be, and there are children whose only meal comes when they turn up at school.
"The need is widespread and has been accentuated by current circumstances where people, through no fault of their own, are now unemployed.
"The grazing industry hasn't had it all our own way in recent times by a long shot but many of us have had a magnificent start to 2020. Let's do what we can."
All breeds of cattle are welcome. BeefBank even gets a regular buffalo donation.
The story Chefs come to the party to help feed needy; more beef required first appeared on Farm Online.