Connecting Youth and Seniors Via Meatloaf

Central Oregon Ranch Supply has found a unique way to connect two groups in our communities: youth and seniors.

“My parents started the first store in 1976,” said Mark Malott, owner. “It was a few years before they could start giving back to the community, but when that time came, the first thing my dad did was support 4-H kids by buying their livestock. It was one of the proudest moments of his life.”

That tradition continues for the third-generation family-owned and -operated farm and ranch supply with stores in Redmond and Madras. However, because their business has elements that reach well beyond Central Oregon they participate in 4-H livestock auctions and then donate the meat to organizations that serve meals or provide food pantries throughout Oregon.

The Malotts and their staff have seen generations of 4-H kids come through their doors looking for information, advice and products for their animals. When he can, Malott often makes a point of getting to know them personally to determine how involved they are in the care and welfare of their animals, keeping that in mind when he chooses which animals to bid on at fairs. Malott can’t even estimate how much pork and beef they’ve bought over the years but knows that they’ve supported generations of 4- H families.

“4-H youth learn life skills like responsibility, respect, and the value of a work ethic; they learn about food production and the realities of ranching and farming; and they understand the demands of commitment and leadership,” said Malott. “And what they’re producing, via the sale of their animal at the 4-H auctions, is healthy nutrition for others.”

The Redmond Senior Center has been the recipient of beef bought at the 4-H auction for the last three or four years, according to Malott. “We had a family friend that the center was very important too. He enjoyed the activities there, especially dancing. And he loved the meals.”

The average 1,200 pound beef cattle provides about 480 pounds of boneless, trimmed meat. That works out to about 4,000 two-ounce portions from a 4-H raised beef. “And with the cost of beef these days, that’s high-quality protein that a lot of older adults wouldn’t otherwise be getting,” Malott said.

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