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Iowa pork farmers find relief at Iowa State University Meat Lab

The ISU lab helps to process extra pigs that farmers aren't able to harvest at local meat lockers.

AMES, Iowa — As the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact pork farmers' way of life, fortunately there is a bit of relief that can be found in central Iowa. 

Iowa State University is stepping in to help out these farmers with their own Meat Lab. It's part of the "Pass the Pork" initiative in Iowa.  

"They are booked up right now through fall of 2021 and some are even booking into fall of 2022. People are looking that far out on harvesting their animals," said Matt Wenger, a program coordinator at the university. 

Before work can get started in the Meat Lab, students and professors make sure that everything is clean. 

"The coronavirus pandemic really out to educate folks about our food supply and the vulnerability in our food supply and we really do have a great system when it works," said Terry Houser, an ISU professor and meat specialist. 

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The money for this program, a whopping $100,000 for pork and beef each, comes from the CARES Act.

This time of year is usually fair season, meaning that fair-showers are usually displaying their product to be sold.

That's why it's important to get the excess livestock processed. 

Starting in August, ISU students will process about 30 pigs a week and then distribute them to six different food banks in the state.

A total of 451 pigs have been donated so far, and they hope to reach 500.

"It is a great feeling knowing that we are truly helping people. And, specifically, helping Iowans."

Farmers that are wanting to donate their pigs to this program can contact Emma Lasco at 515-225-7675. 

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