The COVID-19 pandemic forced us to do things differently and even do things we never would have dreamed of. It also showed us some of the best in humanity, as we saw people coming together to help each other.
On April 27th, the “Pass the Pork” program was launched to help connect Iowa’s hog producers with the food banks helping those food-insecure citizens around the state. Farmers had hogs they could not get rid of and instead of seeing those animals wasted, they were able to donate hogs to help stock Iowa food pantries. During the first phase of the program, farmers donated over 450 hogs donated around that state. This provided over 50,000 pounds, or 200,000 servings, of pork donated to the six regional Iowa food banks.
Now, we are seeing the second phase of the program being launched.
There are definitely two sides to this story. It is unfortunate that the need for a program like Pass the Pork still exists. However, it is extremely fortunate that there is the ability to have this program to help ease the burden. Joyce Hoppes is with the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA). She talks about the partnership with the Iowa State University Meat Lab. The program is still donation based.
Funding for the second phase was secured by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds through funds received through the CARES Act. This program will continue under the Governor’s Feeding Iowans Task Force led by Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg.
By having a partnership with the ISU Meat Lab, not only does this help with the processing of donated animals but it also gives students much needed training.
Farmers interested in donating pigs to this second phase of Pass the Pork should contact Emma Lasco at IPPA. The number to call is (515) 225-7675.