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Feeding Wyoming a top priority

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For the very first time, Wyoming beef producers will be able to assist in feeding those in need through a collaboration between First Lady Jennie Gordon, Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA), Wyoming Custom Meats, Wyoming Department of Agriculture (WDA) and the Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies. 

“This collaboration exemplifies the partnership between related industries all committed to utilizing Wyoming products to care for Wyoming people,” Gordon noted in a press release. 

“To be affiliated with the First Lady of Wyoming’s Hunger Initiative is an honor,” says WDA Director Doug Miyamoto. “The employees of the Wyoming Department of Agriculture wanted to help Wyoming families during the COVID-19 pandemic in a way that also illustrated the critical importance of agriculture in the food supply chain.” 

He continues, “Within a day, we surpassed our initial goal of raising sufficient funds to pay for the processing of a steer and were able to raise enough funds to process two steers. WDA and its employees are proud to be a partner in helping our First Lady tackle hunger in Wyoming.”

Wyoming Custom Meats President Jared Hamilton notes the First Lady reached out to them to be a part and they were happy to make room in their schedule to process the donated animals. 

“I think this is just the beginning and we plan on working with the First Lady and the Food Bank of the Rockies in the future,” says Hamilton.

Logistics 

According to a press release by Wyoming Hunger Initiative, “For the very first time, three beef cattle have been donated by Wyoming producers to be processed by Wyoming Custom Meats Inc. in Hudson, and will be donated to Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies to be distributed throughout the state as a vital source of protein.” 

The release continues, “Employees of the Wyoming Department of Agriculture have donated the processing fees for the cattle donated by L-T Livestock and Hellyer Limited Partnership. The third was donated by Rich and Kay Pingetzer and Jess and Tim Sullivan of Shoshoni, with processing donated by WSGA members Jeff and Susan Sussman and Reg and Aline Phillips of Dubois.” 

Additional processing dates have been scheduled for later this month to accommodate donations from local producers.

Goals

“Being a producer myself, my initial vision for Wyoming Hunger Initiative was to encompass a component of agriculture that would be part of the solution to food insecurity in our state. I am beyond excited about the immediate partnership between so many entities working together to ensure longevity of the program,” said Gordon.

According to Wyoming Hunger Initiative, the ultimate goal of Food from the Farm + Ranch is to utilize Wyoming products to combat food insecurity. 

“There is no better time to recognize Wyoming producers while meeting the increase in needs across the state,” says Wyoming Hunger Initiative. “Ultimately, the end goal is to reach a point beyond COVID-19 where families and pantries can purchase meat from local producers instead of seeking an out-of-state supplier.” 

They continue, “Furthermore, while farmers and ranchers are supporting the food bank during this time through the donation of livestock and processing fees, the hope is residents will support Wyoming producers now and in the future.”

“Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies is honored to be a part of this program. Our entire team is proud to be able to distribute Wyoming’s food products to Wyoming households in need,” shared Tony Woodell, director of the Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies.

“Wyoming Stock Growers Association appreciates this opportunity to partner with the First Lady to meet the food needs of our Wyoming neighbors,” commented Jim Magagna, executive vice president of the Association. “We urge cattle producers across the state to generously step up by contacting us to donate cattle for Food from the Farm + Ranch.” 

Wyoming Hunger Initiative 

Launched in October 2019, the Wyoming Hunger Initiative is the work of First Lady Jennie Gordon, whose mission was to end childhood hunger across the state. 

“We believe childhood hunger in Wyoming is a problem that can be solved,” the website notes. “We work to prevent food insecurity by increasing awareness and support for the work of local anti-hunger organizations statewide and by advocating for a future where no child faces the school day on an empty stomach.”

​ Nourished kids, healthy families and thriving communities is the goal of Wyoming Hunger Initiative.

According to Wyoming Hunger Initiative, 71,000 residents annually face food insecurity. 

In response to COVID-19, Wyoming Hunger Initiative has listed resources for each county and continues to support its mission of mitigating hunger across the state.

Those interested in donating livestock to this cause, please contact Wyoming Hunger Initiative or Wyoming Stock Growers Association at wysga.org.

Information in this article was compiled from nohungerwyo.org.

Callie Hanson is the managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to roundup@wylr.net.

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