The shutdown of pork processing plants has left pork producers with a backlog of market-ready pigs. Meanwhile, food banks around the state are running short of pork. Enter First Farmers Bank and Trust with the “Pigs, Pork, and People” program.
The bank will buy hogs from producers, pay for processing at local processors, and then donate the ground pork to food banks in rural communities in Indiana and Illinois. Jeff Rodibaugh, with First Farmers Bank, says the hard part was lining up the local processors.
“These operations are really in the eye of a firestorm right now, and most are booked up until later this year or next. But, when we talked to some owners and explained we were willing to pay for processing to donate the product to their local community, a few had employees who were willing to work an extra shift and make this happen.”
While pork producers are really struggling right now, Rodibaugh says here, too, a community-minded spirit has been evident.
“We had more than a few call back and say ‘I will just donate those pigs.’ They just wanted to make a difference in their local area.”
In the end, it is local people in need who are benefiting. “We are working with a great organization, Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry, and we are targeting food banks in rural areas that sometimes get overlooked,” said Rodibaugh.
Tade Powell, with First Farmers Bank, admits this is a relatively small program right now, but they hope it can grow. “We hope this will serve as a model for other areas,” said Powell.
In these times of crisis, Powell says it is time for local financial institutions to take the lead and make a difference.
“We feel it is our inherent responsibility to be in tune with what the needs of our communities are. This is an opportunity for us to demonstrate what community banking is all about. In our service areas, we are here to do the greater good.”
This is just one of several community programs in which the bank is involved. You may get more details at their web site, https://www.ffbt.com/growinggood.