JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Pork Association and Missouri Farmers Care are teaming up to provide high-quality protein to families in need. These groups are helping Missouri pig farmers connect with local processors to donate pork to the state’s food banks. Each hog processed into ground pork yields over 200 pounds of high-quality protein. This equates to more than 900 servings of food for hungry children and families across Missouri.
According to Feeding Missouri, 1.2 million Missourians faced food insecurity before the COVID-19 crisis, including 1 in 5 people in rural areas. The situation has only worsened with recent job losses. The Drive to Feed Kids works to reduce food insecurity across Missouri.
Several pork processors have suspended operations or reduced capacity due to COVID-19 and related regulations. This is straining the pork supply chain and making it harder for food-insecure children and families to find affordable protein. The slowdowns and closures have caused a backlog of market-ready animals on Missouri farms. Without processors to harvest and process the pork, consumer-ready cuts cannot be delivered to grocery stores.
Missouri’s agriculture community is stepping up to help through Missouri Farmers Care’s annual Drive to Feed Kids. The Missouri Pork Association and Missouri Farmers Care are seeking out local meat processors willing to help reduce the backlog. Farmers are donating these backlogged pigs to be processed and given to needy families.
“This is a proactive step to give farmers options to cut food waste and support their communities,” said Don Nikodim, executive director of the Missouri Pork Association. “Our partners across agriculture are raising funds to cover processing and transportation costs. It’s encouraging to see farmers working together to help in a time of need.”
More than $100,000 has already been raised for the effort. Missouri’s agricultural organizations and businesses, including Missouri Farm Bureau Federation, Missouri Farm Bureau Insurance, Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council, Missouri Soybean Association, FCS Financial, MFA Incorporated, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Forrest and Charlotte Lucas, founders of Protect the Harvest, Missouri Corn Merchandising Council, Paseo Biofuels, LLC, and Biofuels, LLC have donated to cover processing and transportation costs in partnership with Feeding Missouri and its network of food banks across the state.
Pig farmers and meat processors can take part by contacting the Missouri Pork Association. Individuals and companies can donate funds to support the effort at MOFarmersCare.com/drive.
In 2019, the Drive to Feed Kids donated 4.3 million meals to hungry Missouri families. Feeding Missouri’s six regional partner food banks distributed the food statewide. To learn more about Missouri Farmers Care and the 2020 Drive to Feed Kids, visit MOFarmersCare.com/drive.
— Missouri Farmers Care
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