Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg and Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today announced a new "Pass the Pork" program to connect Iowa pig farmers with food-insecure Iowans. The program is an initiative of Gov. Reynolds' Feeding Iowans Task Force led by Lt. Gov. Gregg.
Through "Pass the Pork," the Iowa Pork Producers Association and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship are helping Iowa pig farmers donate pigs to Iowa food bank feeding programs. Local meat processors are extending their hours of operation to process and package the pork donations to help meet the growing demand for food bank and food pantry resources. Iowa food banks are getting the pork into the hands of those in need.
"From family farms to the family's dinner table, our entire food supply chain has been impacted by COVID-19," Gov. Reynolds says. "'Pass the Pork' is an innovative partnership to put Iowa pork on the tables of families in need of food security while creating a new destination for pork which might otherwise go to waste. I'm grateful to Iowa's pork producers, processors and others for stepping up to make this possible."
"At a time when Iowa pig farmers face market challenges and supply chain disruptions, they continue to look for opportunities to help those in need," Secretary Naig says. "We are proud to partner with Iowa pig farmers, food banks and meat processors to ensure all Iowans have access to a locally produced, high-quality protein source."
"Pass the Pork" will officially begin when the first donated pigs are delivered May 1. Processing will continue in May and for as long as processing capacity and funds remain.
"The supply chain issues are challenging Iowa's pig farmers, but we also see our friends and neighbors struggling with jobs and wondering how they will put food on the table, too. This program will help bring pork to our local communities when they need it most," says Mike Paustian, a Walcott farmer who is also IPPA president.
"Food banks across our state are working every day to help Iowans facing food insecurity," says Lt. Gov. Gregg. "With the dramatic increases food pantries are seeing in demand during this pandemic, this initiative is going to play an important role in making sure Iowa families have the food they need in these challenging times."
The pigs for "Pass the Pork" are being donated by Iowa pig farmers. However, there are costs associated with the processing, storage and delivery of the pork to food banks and pantries. Iowans can contribute to the Iowa Food Bank Association to help cover these costs and future purchases of Iowa-produced pork for food bank programs.
Iowa pig farmers and meat processors who are interested in participating in the program should contact the IPPA at (515) 225-7675.