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Volunteers unload 15lb boxes of pork that were given away in Yankton, SD this week.

Volunteers unload 15lb boxes of pork that were given away in Yankton, SD this week.

Thousands of pounds of pork being donated in South Dakota


News Staff - July 2, 2020

YANKTON, SD - Ten thousand pounds of frozen pork were given out in a drive-through in Yankton this week. Stacey Sorlien with the South Dakota Pork Producers (SDPP) Council says that several donors of 60 pigs were a part of the free give-away that included 15 pounds of ground pork and pork chops per box.

The state’s pork industry has been hit hard by the earlier, temporary closing of the Smithfield Food Plant in Sioux Falls – due to a COVID-19 outbreak among workers -  that left producers with no place to deliver their market-weight hogs.  South Dakota is ranked 11th out of the 50 states in terms of annual hog production.

An earlier give-away was held in May when the SDPP Council gave away 13,000 pounds of pork in Aberdeen, also made possible through donations of hogs from producers in the state.

In addition, 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.

“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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