R.F.D. NEWS & VIEWS: Pork Power makes holiday food donations

By Tim Alexander for Chronicle Media

As part of their Pork Power: Partnering to Fight Hunger in Illinois campaign, the Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Corn Marketing Board and Illinois Soybean Association checkoff program presented Central Illinois Foodbank with 4,200 pounds of ground pork. (Central Illinois Foodbank photo)

This Thanksgiving edition of RFD News and views focuses on positive news in the agriculture community. Though we are all fighting our way through a resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are also good things happening around us, which prove that nothing can suppress the kindness of the human spirit or the forward march of progress in U.S. agriculture. Please read on …


Illinois 4-H shines at 2020 convention

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Illinois 4-H youth members had plenty of time under the spotlight on the virtual stage of the 2020 4-H Annual Convention, staged in Indianapolis on Oct. 29. Miriam Hoffman, an agribusiness economics major at Southern Illinois University, was elected eastern region vice president. In chapter competitions, the Streator FFA program, advised by Riley Hintzsche, was awarded Premier Chapter for Strengthening Agriculture. In addition, the Normal FFA was awarded Premier Chapter for Building Communities. Congratulations to all!


Sustainable ag facility heading to Decatur

DECATUR — The big news in state agriculture came last week when the State of Illinois joined ADM and Innovafeed — leaders in production of animal nutrition and feed — in announcing plans to bring the world’s largest insect protein production facility to Decatur. The facility will be owned and operated by the French insect producer Innovafeed and will co-locate with ADM’s Decatur corn processing complex, with ADM supplying feedstocks, waste heat and more. Together, these investments will bolster Illinois’ access to sustainable agriculture feed supply, while creating new jobs and advancing the growing agriculture industry in Illinois.

“InnovaFeed’s decision to bring their first ever international facility and state-of-the-art agriculture technology to Illinois is a vote of confidence for our state, and a win for our farming communities,” said Governor J.B. Pritzker. “Illinois has always been a global leader in agriculture and technology, and we offer the resources to support this major international expansion — with an educated workforce, proximity to global businesses like ADM, and access to shipping and logistics. The investments InnovaFeed is making in Decatur will not only support our thriving agriculture industry — a cornerstone of our economy — but will unlock new well-paying jobs for our communities.”

Insect feed has become an increasingly popular protein ingredient for agriculture and aquaculture industries, with demand for animal feed recently reaching an all-time high. While InnovaFeed operates two insect production facilities, including the world’s largest in France, the Decatur facility represents InnovaFeed’s first international project. (Illinois e-News)


Pork Power makes holiday food donations

SPRINGFIELD — Those going through the holidays without enough income to take part in holiday traditions — such as a Thanksgiving dinner — received a boost from Illinois pig farmers last week. As part of their Pork Power: Partnering to Fight Hunger in Illinois campaign, the Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Corn Marketing Board and Illinois Soybean Association checkoff program presented Central Illinois Foodbank with 4,200 pounds of ground pork.

“Now more than ever, we see the need to support our communities by supplying those in need with high quality protein,” states IPPA board president Dale Weitekamp. “The protein supply is available, and we are working hard to get it in the right hands just in time for the holidays.”

Farmers and partnering commodity groups give a combination of whole hogs for processing and monetary donations all year round. Near the end of each calendar year IPPA turns the remaining funds into ground pork and divides it among the regional food banks in the state for the holiday season. “We are so grateful to the Illinois Pork Producers Association for providing their donation of ground pork. Each day, we hear stories of individuals who are struggling to feed their families. This long-standing partnership provides more than just food, it offers hope for a brighter future,” said Pam Molitoris, executive director of the Central Illinois Foodbank.

The ground pork for this donation was processed at Turasky Meats in Springfield. In addition, Pork Power also donated 4,400 pounds of ground pork to the River Bend Food Bank, processed by Main Street Meat Company in Roscoe, and 4,000 pounds of ground pork to the St. Louis Area food bank, processed by Schubert’s Smokehouse in Millstadt. (IPPA news)


Family gift to benefit generations of 4-H

URBANA — With her recent gift of farmland, Nann Armstrong ensured her family’s legacy will continue to impact current and future generations of 4-H members and students in the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences Department of Human Development and Family Studies. As Armstrong organized her estate, she recognized that gifting farmland to the University of Illinois Foundation was a good option for her. The foundation will maintain the farm and she was able to direct annual income from the land to support causes near and dear to her.

Armstrong’s parents, J. George and Anna M. Smith, met at the U of I, married, and established their farming operation in Oswego. As they built and managed a respected Holstein dairy herd, the couple raised four children — all of whom would attend the University of Illinois — and invested in farmland and other assets. The elder Armstrongs were both 4-H members and continued their commitment to 4-H, becoming leaders even before the four siblings were old enough to participate. Armstrong said she appreciates the 4-H experiences that impacted her life and wants to share those opportunities with today’s youth.

“4-H builds leadership and supports working in the community,” Armstrong says. “There are so many opportunities beyond the fun of being in a local club.”

The Illinois 4-H program looks forward to this gift benefiting youth for many more generations.

“As a child development professional, Nann recognizes the value of positive youth development programs, and we are grateful for her longstanding support as both a 4-H alumni and donor,” notes Lisa Diaz, Illinois 4-H assistant dean and director. “Her generous gift of farmland will provide support for 4-H programs statewide.” (excerpted from College of ACES news)


Illinois Farm Fact:

Since it began in 2008, Pork Power has generated more than 916,000 pounds of pork — enough for more than 3 million meals — for families throughout Illinois. (IPPA)