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Quick Take: Pork donations to food banks, new Growmark CEO and more

Courtesy of Illinois Pork Producers Association Illinois commodity group members and leaders present ground pork to the Midwest Food Bank
DONATION: Illinois commodity group members and leaders presented 5,280 pounds of ground pork to the Midwest Food Bank as part of the Pork Power program.
Commodity groups donate ground pork and ham, Mark Orr to lead Growmark, Illinois AgrAbility celebrates 30 years, John Deere conference, and disaster county designation.

Commodity groups donate pork

In November, the Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Soybean Association and Illinois Corn Marketing Board came together to donate 5,280 pounds of ground pork to the Midwest Food Bank as part of the Pork Power program.

The food bank will distribute the pork to various locations across central Illinois during the holidays.

Pork Power allows Illinois pig farmers to donate pork to Illinois residents in need, helping them offset processing costs of donated hogs. Since 2008, the program has distributed over 922,000 pounds of pork throughout Illinois.

They’ll use fundraising dollars from T-shirts sales and other commodity groups to purchase more ground pork for distribution to the nine Illinois regional food banks near the end of the year.

Visit the IPPA website for more on how to participate.


Give a ham to those in need

Maybe you’ve seen the social media posts highlighting the “Give-a-Ham” challenge created by the National Pork Producers Council. What’s that all about? Helping those in need.

This year, Alan Kollmann, Illinois Pork Producers Association board president, distributed 500 hams to the Central Illinois Foodbank as part of the “Give-a-Ham” challenge and on behalf of Illinois pig farmers and the Pork Checkoff.

IPPA started the challenge in 2017 to help provide pork to people who need food. This year’s donation was a part of the Pork Power program, which works to donate 100,000 pounds of pork to food banks across Illinois each year.

Want to donate a ham to help hungry people? Kollman says anyone can take part in the challenge by purchasing a ham and donating it to a local food pantry, emergency workers or any other organization.

“Hunger is with us 365 days a year, and generous donations such as this help us ensure that no one will go without nutritious food this holiday season,” says Pam Molitoris, Central Illinois Foodbank.


Growmark names new CEO

Growmark recently announced Mark Orr as its new CEO, beginning on March 1. Earlier this year, the company shared current CEO Jim Spradlin will be retiring on Feb. 28.

Orr is not a new face to the Growmark/FS system, as he has been with the company since 1990. Orr has been the vice president of agronomy for Growmark since 2014. Before this role, he was a region vice president and general manager for AgView FS and Piatt County Service Co.

“Mark demonstrates a collaborative approach to leadership, along with a passion for innovation and growth that benefits our member-owners, all of our customers, and their end users,” says John Reifsteck, Growmark chairman of the board.

Orr says he looks forward to leading Growmark, building upon current growth strategies and serving members of the organization.


Illinois AgrAbility celebrates 30 years

Illinois AgrAbility is celebrating 30 years of disability services to Illinois farm families so they can continue farming. The anniversary was celebrated virtually on Sept. 29.

“Illinois AgrAbility provides one-on-one consultation with a client service manager, who spends time understanding the farmer and their situation and identifying opportunities to assist,” says Illinois AgrAbility Director Josie Rudolphi. These efforts help achieve the organization’s goal of helping farm families stay active in the industry despite any circumstances.

The organization is a program of University of Illinois Extension and is headquartered in the U of I College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. The program has helped 800 farmers and educated an additional 1,200 farmers about assistive technologies since 1990. This has been made possible through USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture funding and individual and organizational donations.


For the John Deere enthusiasts

Calling all farmers who favor green equipment! Don’t miss out on the Gathering of the Green conference, March 16-19 at the RiverCenter in Davenport, Iowa.

The conference is the largest event for John Deere enthusiasts in the world, says Tony Knobbe, Gathering of the Green chairman. In the past, attendees have come from 48 states and other countries such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Attendees with a $40 full conference registration can attend all of the following:

  • welcoming reception
  • replica displays of John Deere fair exhibits from the 1930s to the 1970s
  • over 60 workshops
  • over 75 vendors who sell parts, manuals, advertising materials and memorabilia from John Deere and John Deere dealers
  • trips and tours
  • Saturday night banquet
  • Plow City Tractor Show at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport

Mark the conference on your calendar. For more information or to register online, visit the Gathering of the Green website, email info@gatheringofthegreen.com or call 563-845-3296.


Counties eligible for emergency loans.

Did your crops encounter freezing conditions during May 2021? You may be eligible to apply for the USDA Farm Service Agency emergency loan program.

The emergency loan program provides farmers with financial assistance after loss due to natural disasters such as a freeze, drought or a tornado. Loans can be used to enhance the operation, assist with debts, or replace equipment or livestock. Security, amount of loss and repayment capability are all factors that will determine assistance.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack distributed the natural disaster designation to seven primary counties in Wisconsin and three neighboring counties in Illinois based on freezing May 5-30.

Farmers in the following contiguous counties are eligible to apply for the emergency loan program:

  • Boone
  • Lake
  • McHenry

For more information on the program or to file a notice of loss, visit the USDA website or contact a local USDA Service Center.

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