Pork Checkoff dropped off hams for the #Ankeny Fire Dept. City of Ankeny, Iowa
Pork Checkoff dropped off hams for the Ankeny (Iowa) Fire Department. #HamsAcrossAmerica

Helping others one ham at a time

The Giving Tuesday Team Pork challenge is on. We know how big-hearted the pork industry is. It is time the world sees it, too. Help us pay it forward by donating a ham and sharing the story.

People across 98 countries create a community of giving on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Being a part of Giving Tuesday is really as simple lending your time, donation, gift or your voice in your local community.

Perhaps, it is the solid foundation of grassroots faith, but the agriculture community has always had a giving heart. For many years, many acts of kindness by farmers, ranchers and agriculture companies go without notice. It is not about the credit, but helping your neighbor.

Many embrace John Bunyan’s motto, “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”

For years, I am confident America’s pig farmers have donated millions of pounds of pork, time and other donations to the local community. Still, a global day of giving is a great opportunity to inspire young and old to forget about oneself and help another person.

On Giving Tuesday, the National Pork Board, the Iowa Pork Producers Association, Smithfield Foods Inc. and PrairieFresh Premium Pork kicked off the second annual #HamsAcrossAmerica campaign. Together, they provided a nearly 70,000-pound pork donation to the Food Bank of Iowa, courtesy of Smithfield Foods, Seaboard Foods, Triumph Foods and U.S. pig farmers. And they challenge America’s pig farmers to do the same.

So, the Hams Across America challenge has been served to the entire swine industry. Join in this great effort. Individuals can participate by purchasing a gift of ham and paying it forward to loved ones and those in need.

So, why Hams Across America?
When pig farmers introduced the We Care ethical principles, it was important that five of the six ethical principles were production related: Producing safe food, enhancing animal well-being, protecting the environment, safeguarding natural resources and providing a safe work environment. For the sixth and final ethical principle, there was no question that it would address contributing to a better quality of life in the communities pig farmers call home.

From volunteering at community events to providing pork to a local fundraiser, being good neighbors has always been part of what makes pig farmers who they are. And this holiday season is no different. #HamsAcrossAmerica is an annual event where farmers share stories on how they have paid it forward during the past year.

While most givers prefer to stay silent about their donation, Hams Across America participants are encouraged to share their pay-it-forward stories on social media using #RealPigFarming and #HamsAcrossAmerica. These stories are highlighted on the #RealPigFarming social channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and RealPigFarming.com).

In 2016, the Pork Checkoff shared stories of nearly 33,000 ham and pork products donated by pig farmers to their family, friends, employees and local communities in the inaugural Hams Across America campaign.

I double dare all members of the swine industry and any lover of pork to help Team Pork shatter last year’s record. It is easy. Just buy ham, donate it and share your story on your favorite social media channel between now and Dec. 23. Remember; do not forget the hashtag — #HamsAcrossAmerica.

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