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The South Dakota State University meat lab is working with the South Dakota Pork Producers Council to harvest inspected pork sides for further processing to help support South Dakota pork producers.
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The South Dakota State University meat lab is working with the South Dakota Pork Producers Council to harvest inspected pork sides for further processing to help support South Dakota pork producers.

University meat lab harvesting animals, meat donated to communities


Lora Berg, SDSU Communcations - June 1, 2020

BROOKINGS, SD - Due to packing plant shutdowns across the country, many pork producers are struggling to find places to harvest their animals. This is having a dramatic impact on South Dakota’s pork producers.

South Dakota State University Extension swine specialists and meat science faculty, staff and students from the Department of Animal Science, have worked with the South Dakota Pork Producers Council to aid the swine industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SDSU meat lab is working with the SDPP Council to harvest animals and provide state-inspected pork sides for further processing. The lab’s goal is to harvest and process 90 pigs per week through August 14.

On May 22, the SDPP Council gave away 13,000 pounds of pork in Aberdeen. The pork had been donated by pork producers in the state. A second giveaway is tentatively scheduled for June 30 in Yankton.

“This project demonstrates the cooperative efforts between multiple facets of the pork chain to respond to the needs of our producers and to feed South Dakotans,” said John Killefer, dean of College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.

As the project goes forward, the SDPP Council is trying to connect processors and producers. Processors purchase pigs from producers, and producers deliver the pigs to SDSU for slaughter. The processor who owns the pigs will then pick-up the carcasses and pay SDSU for the slaughter costs.

“Pork producers are concerned about the shortage of protein in the retail meat counters, while they are struggling and unable to find a market for the animals they are raising due to limited packer capacity,” said Glenn Muller, executive director of the SDPP Council. “This allows our local producers to give back to communities and directly to consumers in need, during these unusual times.”

SDSU Extension specialists are providing guidance to producers facing processing shutdowns and consumers looking to purchase and process hogs at home. For more information, call the SDPP Council at 605-332-1600.



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