A program begun in late April to generate pork donations to hungry Iowans is receiving a generous boost to keep meat on their plates. Zoetis, a leading animal health company, is donating $25,000 to Pass the Pork for processing and storage of ground pork that will provide 40,000 servings of pork to Iowans in need.

Pass the Pork is a coordinated program that has support from the Governor’s Feeding Iowans Task Force, the Iowa Food Bank Association, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the Iowa State University Meats Laboratory and the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA).

“We appreciate the efforts of everyone involved in Pass the Pork as they work to lend a hand in their Iowa communities, and we are pleased to support the program,” said Shari Westerfeld, vice president of U.S. Pork at Zoetis.

“At the very heart of it, the reason we raise pigs is to help provide food for our families, our neighbors and for those well beyond our borders,” said Mike Paustian, an Iowa pig farmer from Walcott who is IPPA president. “Unfortunately, COVID-related challenges have deepened food insecurity. The Iowa Food Bank Association tells us there has been a double-digit increase in need at food banks across the state. We welcome this generous donation from Zoetis to help Iowans struggling with hunger.”

When Pass the Pork was first launched, it was also targeted at helping Iowa pork producers find market outlets for pigs backing up on farms because of food supply chain disruptions. Currently, those disruptions have dissipated.

“Zoetis is proud to support Iowa pig farmers who are providing pork to food-insecure families through the Pass the Pork program, as well as raising safe, nutritious pork for all families,” said Westerfeld. “We are committed to working with farmers at all times to help ensure a safe and sustainable food supply through our ongoing work in advancing animal health.”

Throughout this year, Zoetis has been working to help provide food banks and pantries across the U.S. with sources of fresh dairy, meat and poultry products through both cash donations and the delivery of cold-storage units, a capacity often in short supply at food banks and especially local food pantries. These support initiatives are meant to encourage others to also donate to food banks and pantries.

Iowans also can help make a difference by sending an email to passthepork@iowapork.org for more information.

For more information, visit www.zoetisus.com.