A project students are participating in during agriculture teacher Todd Biddle veterinary science class is helping teach them how to properly develop their own dog treats. With approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, they have also been given the green light to sell the treats. Money raised will go back into ag programs at Bald Eagle Area High School.
“One of the big things in class is learning about nutrition, so these kids have developed their own dog biscuit that has been tested, and the feedback is good,” Biddle said.
Abiding by Chapter 51 of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture – related to the production of commercial dog food – Biddle is teaching students the proper way to bake, package and sell the items. The next step is to send the treats to a company in Lancaster County to chemically analyze the product for nutrition information. Once a report is sent back to Biddle and his class, packaging will be made and a price per treat will be set. A permit to sell the biscuits was already acquired through the state Department of Agriculture. Students must also create an in-class marketing plan.
Biddle said the inspiration behind the project came from personal experience. As a certified state animal expert, Biddle was used for his expertise in the court system during a case where a company sold a farmer food under false pretenses. The company reportedly said the product being sold contained 60 percent protein, when it actually only included 10 percent protein – which harmed the animals.
“I want to make sure the kids understand how important that is and follow the guidelines because they’re selling to someone for their dog and that person needs to know what’s going into their dog’s body,” Biddle said. “What happens is people assume and trust the quality of the merchandise.”
Students Drew Koleno and Zoey McHenry said the treats they made are made from peanut butter, pumpkin, flower, baking soda and eggs. They’re then baked in an oven for 15 minutes. It’s a similar recipe and process for the other groups of students making similar dog biscuits.
The treats will be sold at the Fresh is Better Showcase in October and the annual Fall Craft and Gift Fair in November.