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Passing the pork to friends, neighbors

Illinois pork producers are giving back this holiday season. Plus: What the Illinois pork industry looks like, by the numbers.

Betty Haynes

November 16, 2022

2 Min Read
Corbin Uitermarkt gifting ribs and pulled pork sandwiches to the Kewanee Police Department and Kewanee Fire Department
PASS THE PORK: IPPA board member Corbin Uitermarkt, Kewanee, Ill., “passed the pork” by gifting ribs and pulled pork sandwiches to the Kewanee Police Department and Kewanee Fire Department recently. Courtesy of Illinois Pork Producers Association

Illinois pig farmers are paying it forward this holiday season by “passing the pork” to friends and neighbors. The Illinois Pork Producers Association has scheduled two giving campaigns through the end of 2022: Pass the Pork and Pork Power.

“For Pass the Pork, we have given our board members $500 each to donate in their local communities,” says Jennifer Tirey, IPPA executive director. “They are each charged with ‘passing the pork’ in their communities, from Pork Month in October through the end of the holiday season.”

IPPA will be sharing the ways their 21 board members “pass the pork” on social media. IPPA’s six regional districts represent all 102 counties in Illinois, so pork donations will occur throughout the state.

“Last year our board was so unique with some of their donations,” Tirey says. “From the angel tree in their community to providing pork for their fire department and police officers or purchasing pork for a restaurant and buying pork meals until the money runs out.”

IPPA launched Pork Power 14 years ago to provide pork donations to Illinois food banks.

“If all goes well, we’ll hit 1 million pounds of ground pork donated from pork producers since the inception of the program in 2008,” Tirey says. “That’s a really big milestone for our association to celebrate.”

One million pounds of pork adds up to over 3 million servings of ground pork donated to Illinois residents battling food insecurity. And it’s all thanks to donations from Illinois pig farmers.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, pork producers across the state have faced supply-chain challenges and marketplace uncertainty. Regardless, Tirey says those difficulties have brought to light the true priority of the American farmer.

“Even when going gets tough for our pig farmers, they always think about their family, their neighbors and their community first,” Tirey notes. “And that’s what I feel like the pork industry is all about — a diligence to raising animals 365 days a year and a commitment to those around them.”

Check out the infographic below illustrating Illinois’ pork industry.

About the Author(s)

Betty Haynes

Betty Haynes is the associate editor of Prairie Farmer. She grew up on a Menard County, Ill., farm and graduated from the University of Missouri. Most recently, Betty worked for the Illinois Beef Association, entirely managing and editing its publication.

She and her husband, Dan, raise corn, soybeans and cattle with her family near Oakford , Ill., and are parents to Clare.

Betty won the 2023 Andy Markwart Horizon Award, 2022 Emerging Writer, and received Master Writer designation from the Ag Communicators Network. She was also selected as a 2023 Young Leader by the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists.

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