Beef scholarship

Cattle stand in a pen Dec. 22 at a ranch near Oakley. The Idaho Beef Council has given the University of Idaho $250,000 to set up an endowment which will provide scholarships to meat science graduate students.

TWIN FALLS — The Idaho Beef Council is giving the University of Idaho $250,000 to create a meat science research endowment.

The money will be used to create meat science scholarships for graduate students. Students applying for the scholarship must seek to improve beef marketing, expand and maintain beef markets and create new beef products.

Part of maintaining and expanding markets entails improving consumer trust, Idaho Beef Council Vice Chairman Bill Lickley said.

“We feel very confident in the safety and quality of our product,” Lickley — a Jerome County rancher — said. “But consumers, as time goes on, the bar gets raised to do even better.”

In addition to improving beef’s marketing, Lickley said the scholarships will help Idaho’s beef labor market. The industry needs young people to fill jobs, market beef and attract new consumers.

“We need to develop young people that are interested in the beef industry,” Lickley said.

The Magic Valley beef industry will need more workers in a few years, Lickley noted. True West’s 500-head-a-day beef processor in Jerome County will open at some point in the next few years. That facility will employ 400 people.

“The industry needs people to run those plants,” Lickley said.