Food pantries in Scott and Pike Counties have a little more meat on hand now, thanks to a group of Farm Bureaus.
The Pike-Scott Farm Bureau recently teamed up with bureaus from Adams, Brown, and Schuyler counties to distribute ground pork to help stock area food pantries help those in need.
Executive Director of the Pike-Scott Farm Bureau, Blake Roderick says the distribution could not have happened without some generous donations.
“We took advantage of an opportunity provided by one of the producers who grows hogs for JBS Pork. They donated 24 hogs and a group of farm bureaus in western Illinois paid for the processing of those hogs, which ended up being a bit over a ton of ground pork. We received that pork on Thursday and made a distribution to five food pantries that we have in Pike and Scott counties.”
Approximately 700 pounds of ground pork was distributed to food pantries in the Pike-Scott Farm Bureau area alone.
Roderick says it is the hope of the collective farm bureaus that this will not be a one time project.
“We anticipate doing this again, I have been contacted by some other farmers. As you may know the pork industry has been hit pretty hard during this emergency. Pork prices have bottomed out and we people who are having trouble getting pork to market, so we are going to take some of this pork off of the farmers hands, get it processed and get it into the hands of the food pantries in the Pike and Scott counties as the months progress here.”
Roderick says this was a great opportunity to match farmers who are producing the pork with the Farm Bureaus through some very generous donations from farmers and businesses in the area, to process the pork and help get it into the hands of area residents who are under extra stress these days.
The Pike-Scott Farm Bureau’s Young Leaders group has been leading the charge in the effort help local food banks. Roderick says their efforts started before there was a serious need due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The Illinois Farm Bureau’s Young Leaders Program have a contest going on to raise money for the Harvest 4 All Campaign. Harvest 4 All is a nice nationwide effort in line with the American Farm Bureau and the state farm bureaus and the county farm bureaus to raise money for the food banks across the nation, and we are participating in that. Our farm bureau’s Young Leaders Committee, Marlee Jo Schultz is the chair of that, and they put together a call for some money before all this happened. They started this after the first of the year, to raise money for food banks, and things along that line.”
Anyone who would like to assist in paying processing costs, can do so by making a donation to the Two Rivers Farm Bureau Foundation, PO Box 6, Pittsfield, IL 62363.
Roderick has one request of residents in West Central Illinois, as agriculture season gets underway.
“Keep agriculture, keep the farmers in your thoughts and prayers, at this time of year they are going through a very stressful time because crop prices are down, they are not sure how the markets are going to end up going, and just like anyone else, we are under a lot of stress, and financial stress and hopefully we will get through this sooner than later.”
Donations to help with processing costs are tax-deductible, and Roderick asks note it is for the Harvest 4 All project.