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New York Agriculture in the Classroom


Top Cut: A Beef Contest

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 "global street food". Teams will compete to develop a beef product of their choice that might be found as they travel the diverse street food scenes from around the world or in global fairs held in or around their communities.

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 with a global street food theme.

This year’s theme of "global street food" will allow students the creativity to explore different cultures and flavor profiles while creating their beef product that could be sold at a market, on the street, or at a fair. The beef-centric recipes can be created from inspiration from cultures all around the world and should be ready-to-eat dishes intended for immediate consumption.


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)

Contest Timeline

Pre-Registration is open until October 5, 2020
Contest submissions are due December 17, 2020
Winners will be announced no later than February 5, 2021

Top Cut


Prizes for this contest are generously awarded by the New York Beef Council.

  • There will be a $250 first place award for each division
  • There will be an additional $25 reward in the following categories:
    • Most entrepreneurial (best developed business model)
    • Most creative (visually)
    • Most unique recipe/flavor profiles that "work together"
    • Most persuasive (most effective marketing plan)
  • First place projects will also receive a banner to be displayed in the school or community


You are encouraged to partner with a local beef producer to encourage your students to learn about the entire beef production system. If you would like assistance in identifying a beef producer in your area, please contact Katherine Brosnan with the New York Beef Council with your interest.


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.

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.

Contest Procedures

Use this document to learn more about the contest and four categories of a marketing plan students will need to develop and submit.

Use the provided template to guide your students through each step of the project.

The marketing plans will be judged by a panel of beef producers and educators (see rubric for judging criteria).

2020 Contest Materials

The 2020 Top Cut contest will be offered completely virtually. All contest materials and information will be shared via online platforms.


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!