As a family owned business, we are committed to producing the safest and highest quality lean finely textured beef in the world. That commitment is grounded in the core values that have shaped our company over our entire history. It is reflected not only in our dedication to serving our customers and to the consumers who enjoy our lean finely textured beef, but also in our contributions to the communities we serve, from our South Dakota hometown to our industry to the global movement to improve food safety and advance public health through better nutrition. We work here every day making sure that commitment is reflected in everything we do.
Over the years, we have collaborated with and directly supported many of the leading food safety based non-government organizations (NGOs) in the world. We have opened our facilities to them, and shared our scientific and technical innovations designed to enhance food safety. We have worked closely with them and academic institutions to help develop new food safety methods, and to establish new, higher standards for food safety and quality.
This collaboration has been mutually beneficial. We have gained valuable insight and knowledge from working with these organizations and programs, and it has resulted in an even deeper commitment to our core values. Since 2007, we contributed more than $4,500,000 through direct financial support and underwriting of important programs in the areas of food safety and health. For example, we contributed $500,000 to fund the University of Nebraska research program that demonstrated the effectiveness of cholesterol lowering compounds combining plant sterols with beef tallow.
Our community focus goes beyond advancing our industry. It starts right in our backyard, in Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Here in Siouxland, we support multiple community efforts, including mentoring, developmental and educational programs with our schools. Our employees are encouraged to get involved, and BPI team members are always recognized leading contributors to important community based organizations and programs like the United Way. We are proud of our work with local efforts such as "Project Lead the Way". Since 2007, direct financial support to education/youth and other community activities has totaled more than $5,000,000.
Our commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainable agriculture is ingrained in our operations as well. We have invested millions of dollars to ensure our environmental footprint is minimized and we run our operations in a manner that maximizes efficiencies. One of the most direct impacts we have on the environment and sustainable agriculture results directly from our production of lean beef in the first place. Because of the innovative way we produce lean beef, we estimate that 20,000 fewer cattle need to be processed every week to supply the lean beef demands of consumers.
We look forward to sharing more information with you via this website and the "In the News" section as we continue our commitments to food safety and community.