More than 2 million servings of pork have been donated in the last two months by pig farmers working together to help fight food insecurity in their local communities. The donations – made through the national Hams Across America effort – showcase the pork industry's commitment to the We Care ethical principles, including a focus on community.
"Giving back to our communities is an important part of who we are," says David Newman, president of the National Pork Board and a pig farmer representing Arkansas. "Our Hams Across America program gives me and other pig farmers another way to live out the We Care ethical principles, but my favorite part is getting to share our love of the food we produce with neighbors in need."
The Hams Across America program helps overcome food insecurity, especially in rural areas where pig farmers farm and live. In November, the Oklahoma Pork Council kicked off the #GiveAHam challenge, a grassroots effort that encourages farmers to pay it forward with pork donations to local food pantries and to challenge colleagues and others in their communities to do the same. The challenge was supported by a record number of participants, with more than 200 individuals and businesses contributing time, resources and pork to the nationwide effort.
In its fourth year, the Hams Across America campaign also received strong support from Smithfield Foods, Prairie Fresh Pork and JBS USA Pork. These companies provided more than 170,000 pounds of pork to food banks across the country.
During the campaign, the National Pork Board partnered with nine YouTube creators who paid it forward with pork by donating over 25,000 servings to their communities. The YouTube campaign engaged nearly 6 million viewers.
"It was amazing to see how these creators paid it forward with pork and shared stories of pig farmers' commitment to our communities," Newman says. "Partnering with influencers to share our pork story has been an important piece of our digital strategy. This is especially important since YouTube reaches 95% of the Gen Zers that we need to start building relationships with."
The Hams Across America campaign is a nationwide effort organized and managed by the National Pork Board, the National Pork Producers Council, state pork associations and U.S. pig farmers.