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4-H’ers donate meat from annual deer hunt to help Wyoming youths

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            The Wyoming 4-H Program, in partnership with the Solitude Ranch of northeast Wyoming, provides an annual opportunity for youths to harvest their first deer and helps provide food for Wyoming youths who may be facing food insecurity.

This year, five deer from the Oct. 31-Nov. 1 hunt on the Solitude Ranch were donated to the Wyoming Hunger Initiative’s (WHI) Food from the Field Program. WHI was started by First Lady Jennie Gordon to prevent food insecurity for Wyoming children.

  Food from the Field is a collaborative effort between WHI, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Wyoming Department of Agriculture, Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies and participating meat processors, as well as Wyoming hunters who donate game meat. 

Donated meat is processed by partner meat processors in the state, then provided to food pantries, which offer the game meat to their patrons.

Processors include the Star Valley Meat Block and Cold Storage, LLC in Thayne and Dan’s Meat Processing in Evansville. Hunters are invited to make a financial contribution to cover the cost of processing if able, and WHI covers the remaining cost.

Meat is then shared with the Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies, which distributes it to local food pantries. All donated game meat from this program undergoes Chronic Wasting Disease testing to ensure it is safe before donated for public consumption.

  “This contribution from Wyoming 4-H was significant and meaningful,” said Trista Ostrom, chief of staff for Gordon. “The meat donated from these five deer will provide protein for over 100 people packaged in two-pound packages for the food bank system here in Wyoming.”

Ostrom said while the total amount of game meat donated to date is unknown, so far this season donations exceed over 2,500 pounds.

Another program in the College of Agriculture is also assisting WHI. The Cent$ible Nutrition Program (CNP) is partnering with WHI to provide game meat recipe booklets. The booklet, titled Cooking Game Meat, includes 15 recipes. CNP educators around the state are planning tastings, as COVID-19 safety procedures allow. The recipe booklet is available at food pantries.

For more information about Wyoming 4-H, visit uwyo.edu/4-h/index.html. For more information about WHI, visit nohungerwyo.org.

This article was written by University of Wyoming Extension Senior Editor Dr. Steve Miller and is courtesy of the University of Wyoming. Miller can be reached at slmiller@uwyo.edu. For more information, visit uwagnews.com.

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