The Wisconsin Pork Association (WPA) and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) have joined forces to start a new program connecting Wisconsin pork producers to local meat processors, consumers and the growing number of people experiencing food insecurity during COVID-19.
Through the program, called “Passion for Pork,” WPA and DATCP are connecting Wisconsin pork producers with smaller, local meat processors who are extending their hours of operation to process and package the pork to help meet the growing demand for food bank and food pantry resources. Wisconsin food banks are getting the pork into the hands of those in need.
“Due to current market challenges and supply chain disruptions brought on by COVID-19, the Wisconsin Pork Association is pleased to partner with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and local meat processors to create a new destination for pork that might otherwise go to waste,” said Keri Retallick, WPA executive vice president. “The program is a win-win for pork producers, processors and consumers alike.”
“We are glad to join with the Wisconsin Pork Association to help them get Wisconsin pork to consumers in need,” said DATCP Interim Secretary Randy Romanski. “This is another great example of the positive impact we can have when we connect the dots between Wisconsin producers, processors and consumers.”
The program kicked off earlier this week with the delivery of 60 hogs for harvest to People’s Meat Market, a local meat processor and program member in Stevens Point. The whole hog carcass is then broken down into smaller portions for further processing and packaging at Windsor-based Neesvig’s Meats, another program member. Along with shipping the processed pork to food banks and food pantries, the local meat processors also sell the pork at their retail stores. Additionally, Neesvig’s hopes to offer pick up of various products at several different sites including their processing plant in Windsor in the next few weeks.
The hogs for “Passion for Pork” are being supplied by Wisconsin pig farmers, however, there are significant costs associated with the processing, storage, and delivery of the pork to food banks and pantries. WPA is currently accepting donations from the public to support the continued operation of this program. (In compliance with Wisconsin law, DATCP is neither soliciting nor accepting contributions on behalf of WPA.)
Donations to the Passion for Pork can be mailed to:
Passion for Pork c/o Peoples State Bank P.O. Box 218 Bloomington, WI 53804
Or electronically at https://donorbox.org/passion-for-pork.
Wisconsin pig farmers and meat processors interested in participating in the program should email the Wisconsin Pork Association: firstname.lastname@example.org
Processing will continue for as long as processing capacity and funds remain. DATCP will continue to work with WPA and other agricultural groups to find ways to get Wisconsin commodities to consumers in need.
Thank A Farmer Yard Signs Available
To show support for pig farmers across the nation ‘Thank A Farmer’ yard signs are available on a first- come, first-served basis through the Wisconsin Pork Association.
As pig farmers and supporting industry members work to alleviate the spread of COVID-19 while ensuring a safe food supply, the yard signs will highlight pig farmers’ essential role. The “Thank A Farmer” message will encourage consumers to continue to purchase pork at the grocery stores and local butchers/processors.
Pork producers and supporting businesses are encouraged to display the signs to be recognized for the essential role pork producers playing during the COVID-19 crisis and display the value of the pork product.
To request a sign:
- Email email@example.com with your name and address.
- Available for pick up at the state office, 131 S. Monroe St. Lancaster, WI 53813 or contact WPA for a pickup location near you.
A limited number of signs are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Donation of $10 per sign is suggested and the dollars will be donated to the Passion for Pork Fund.
Specialty Meats Made in Wisconsin
The Specialty Meat Development Center is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to growing specialty meat businesses in Wisconsin. Citizens and businesses, such as food markets and restaurants, use this site to identify specialty meat processors and producers in Wisconsin. Users can search by county, product type or specific product. Establishments that process wild game, have a specific certification (e.g., organic), or participate in the Something Special from Wisconsin™ program are also identified.
Looking to buy pigs in Wisconsin? Check out Facebook Pages below:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/375871309826070/- Wisconsin LOCAL Meat and Farm Producers & Consumers
https://www.facebook.com/groups/WiscoSmokedMeat/- Wisconsin Meat Smoking Hobbyists
https://www.facebook.com/groups/224812855600346/- Farm Direct Wisconsin
https://www.facebook.com/groups/645120499552746/- Wisconsin Farm to Table