South Dakota Soybean growers are uniting with Feeding South Dakota to accomplish a common goal: bringing food to families facing hunger. This fall, in addition to harvesting soybeans, South Dakota farmers are providing food across the state through a $40,000 donation from the soybean checkoff that will be used by Feeding South Dakota to purchase pork.
“The protein provided through pork products is essential to a nutritional diet,” shared Lori Dykstra, CEO of Feeding South Dakota. “We’re thankful that soybean farmers are bringing food to the table of families facing hunger in South Dakota with this donation.”
The organization used the funds to purchase 20,000 pounds of pork loin that has been made available to Feeding South Dakota’s 250 agency partners across the state such as food pantries, meal sites and shelters. The donation was received at a crucial time as Feeding South Dakota is experiencing a continued increase in program usage and an impact to acquiring food products.
Mary Olive Johnson, with Feeding South Dakota’s Agency Partner The Mustard Seed in Eagle Butte, said they will distribute the pork to residents of their homeless shelter and to very low income families who do not receive enough food program assistance to feed all who are present in the home.
“We live in ‘meat and potatoes country,’ where a meal without meat doesn’t count. Pork is versatile-for a hot dinner, sliced for sandwiches, or a nourishing pot of soup.” Johnson shared. “If we were unable to get meat from Feeding South Dakota, we would have to serve a lot of beans because we certainly could not afford grocery store prices for meat.”
Soybean farmers are an important piece of the food supply chain as pigs are the number one consumer of soybeans in South Dakota, utilizing over 7.5 million bushels every year. This fall, South Dakota farmers are forecast to harvest over 230 million bushels of soybeans, nearly 80% of that will be fed to livestock.
”Soybeans are used in thousands of ways around the world, and one of the largest consumers are pigs.” Says Mike McCranie, Treasurer of the SD Soybean Research and Promotion Council. “We’re happy to give back to our local communities, especially through a high-quality protein source that we help produce.”
Farmers invest in the Soybean Checkoff every time they sell soybeans. The South Dakota Soybean Research & Promotion Council, a farmer-led board, invests checkoff dollars in researching new production techniques, markets, education, and uses for soybeans.