For the fifth summer in a row, Montana State University Culinary Services attended youth livestock auctions around the state and purchased 4-H animals to feed MSU students in its dining halls.

This year, Culinary Services went to nine county fairs, some virtual due to COVID-19, across Montana and purchased 21 pigs and two goats from 4-H and FFA members. They also purchased 32 steers and two cull cows from the Steer-A-Year program in the College of Agriculture. According to Rich Huffman, director of Culinary Services, his department also expects to purchase roughly 30 to 50 lambs from the College of Agriculture by the end of the year.

The animals were butchered at locally owned meat processors across the state and are currently being served in MSU’s Rendezvous Dining Pavilion and Miller Dining Commons. Kara Landolfi, supply chain manager for Culinary Services, said the meat will be served in a variety of cuts and dishes, including baby back ribs, tacos, sweet and sour lamb meatballs, pork belly sliders, and rotisserie and smoked roasts. While all the meat will be used in the daily menu rotation, some will be saved for special events, such as the welcome dinner during Move-In and the Farm to Campus dinner.

The tradition of purchasing pigs from county fairs started in 2016 when Jill Flores, executive chef for MSU’s dining halls, attended the Big Sky Country State Fair in Bozeman and bought nine pigs that totaled approximately 1,000 pounds of meat.