DATCP, Pork Association partner on Passion for Pork initiative

"Passion for Pork" a new program to serve food banks.

MADISON, Wis. —  The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and the Wisconsin Pork Association (WPA) announced Friday a new program to better serve the community and individuals who are experiencing food insecurity due to COVID-19.

According to a news release, the newly created Passion for Pork program connects Wisconsin pork producers with smaller local meat processors to help meet the demand for meat in local food banks and food pantries.

“Due to current market challenges and supply chain disruptions brought on by COVID-19, the Wisconsin Pork Association is pleased to partner with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and local meat processors to create a new destination for pork that might otherwise go to waste,” said Keri Retallick, WPA executive vice president. “The program is a win-win for pork producers, processors and consumers alike.

Officials said Passion for Pork started earlier this week with 60 hogs being delivered to People’s Meat Market, a local meat processor in Stevens Point.

Neevig’s Meats, a local packaging facility packaged the meat for shipment to food pantries, food banks, and local retail stores, the release said.

Wisconsin pig farmers currently supply the Passion for Pork hogs, but it is a significant cost with processing, storage and delivery. Due to the increased costs, the Wisconsin Pork Association is asking the public to donate to continue operation, according to the release.

Donations to the program can be mailed or made on the Passion for Pork website.