In a state known for agriculture, hunger seems impossible. Yet, hunger is real in Iowa and leads to serious long-lasting harm for many children, seniors, veterans, and hard-working Iowans. Iowa agriculture is stepping up to do something about it.

Iowa farmers, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, Iowa Turkey Federation, Iowa Poultry Association and Egg Council, and Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship are making sure Iowans across the state have access to life-sustaining protein during a challenging time.

When our lives ground to a halt in response to the global pandemic, unemployment skyrocketed, the economy plummeted, and the need for food assistance dramatically increased. Pantries, schools, shelters, day cares, and meal sites, which rely upon Food Bank of Iowa for food, needed more of it to keep up with the escalating demand. Food Bank of Iowa, working in conjunction with the Iowa Food Bank Association, went to work quickly, seeking collaborative partners to help with additional food procurement. 

 With the help of our strong agriculture industry partners, additional programs were created to help address the additional demand. Pass the Pork, Beef Up Iowa, Turkey to Table, and Pack the Pantry are new post-pandemic programs which are filling gaps in inventory, enabling access, and helping to mitigate the cost of nutritious food. Cracking Hunger, an Iowa Egg Council program was in place well before the pandemic, providing eggs to food insecure Iowans monthly.

With food insecurity double today what it was in February, and triple for households with children, access to clean, lean protein has never been more important. Iowa farmers and donors came together to fill the need by donating livestock, product, and financial support. 

“This pandemic has created numerous challenges for all Iowans, including the agriculture community, yet Iowa farmers remain committed to feeding those around them,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “These food security programs are just a few examples of how the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is working to connect the local farmers who raise protein, produce and dairy products, with individuals in our communities who need it most.” 

The year of 2020 has been anything but normal for Iowans. But when life is unpredictable and the future is unknown, one thing is for certain – we can depend on Iowans helping Iowans.