Iowa-Grown Turkey Delivered to Food Banks to Help Feed Hungry Iowans

CARES Act funding used to alleviate food insecurity and support Iowa’s turkey producers

DES MOINES, Iowa (Sept. 24, 2020) – Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg and Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced that 37,008 pounds of Iowa-grown turkey bologna were delivered to three Iowa food banks today. Food pantries served by the Northeast Iowa Food Bank, Riverbend Food Bank and Hawkeye Area Community Action Program (HACAP) will start distributing the turkey bologna to Iowans soon. Another 37,044 pounds of turkey bologna will be delivered to other Iowa food banks on Oct. 22.

Iowa food banks have seen record demands since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The Iowa Food Bank Association is using $100,000 of CARES Act funding, allocated by Gov. Reynolds, to purchase products from Iowa turkey producers who were hit hard by the COVID-19-related supply chain disruptions last spring. The Governor’s Feeding Iowans Task Force and Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship worked with the Iowa Food Bank Association to get the turkey to those in need.

Iowa raises approximately 12 million turkeys annually, according to the Iowa Turkey Federation. Iowa-grown turkey primarily can be purchased in grocery stores and quick-service restaurants. When sandwich chains saw a decrease in demand due to COVID-19, Iowa’s turkey farmers saw a direct impact to their markets. This program helps fill the void that was caused by the lack of demand during the pandemic.

“From family farms to the grocery store shelves, to the dinner table, our entire food supply chain has been impacted by COVID-19,” said Gov. Reynolds. “Iowa’s turkey industry is playing a critical role in bringing high quality, nutritious protein to families in need of food security. I want to thank all of our producers and generous members of the community who have continued to step up to help Iowans in need.”

“These turkey deliveries represent another way in which the Feeding Iowans Task Force has been able to team up with Iowa agriculture producers and food banks to benefit both sides,” said Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg. “This homegrown Iowa turkey will keep Iowa's food banks stocked with quality protein, and the partnership with the state will help Iowa's turkey producers impacted by COVID-19.”

“When the pandemic hit, COVID-19-related disruptions at meat processing facilities and restaurant closures left Iowa’s turkey farmers with limited markets to sell their protein,” said Secretary Naig. “This food security initiative is a win for everyone. It helps fill the demand at Iowa food banks, helps feed Iowa families, and provides a market for Iowa’s turkey farmers.”

“The Turkey to Table program is an example of public and private partnerships working together to ensure Iowa-farmed products are utilized and made available to feed Iowans in need of food,” stated Linda Gorkow, Executive Director of the Iowa Food Bank Association. “The pandemic has impacted the lives of many Iowans due to job losses and increased the need for food 30 to 100 percent across the state. The Turkey to Table program ensures protein is made available to food insecure Iowans. This is a great collaboration in the work to fight against hunger in Iowa.”

More than 1,200 partner agencies, including food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and schools are a part of the Iowa Food Bank’s partner agency network, all operating under one of six food banks within the state which covers all 99 counties in Iowa.

This program is an initiative of Gov. Reynolds’ Feeding Iowans Task Force led by Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg. In addition to the turkey purchases that have been completed, Secretary Naig and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship have administered other Feeding Iowans Task Force initiatives, including Pass the Pork, Beef Up Iowa, and Pack the Pantry, all of which help connect Iowa farmers with food bank feeding programs.

More than 37,000 pounds of Iowa-grown turkey bologna was delivered to three northeast Iowa food banks today.

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About the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

Led by Secretary Mike Naig, the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship serves the rural and urban residents that call Iowa home. Through its 14 diverse bureaus, the Department ensures animal health, food safety and consumer protection. It also promotes conservation efforts to preserve our land and enhance water quality for the next generation. Learn more at iowaagriculture.gov.

Media Contact:
Keely Coppess
Communications Director
(515) 326-1616           
Keely.Coppess@IowaAgriculture.gov