"Giving back to our communities is an important part of who we are," said David Newman, president of the National Pork Board and a pig farmer representing Arkansas. "Our Hams Across America program gives me and other pig farmers another way to live out the We Care ethical principles, but my favorite part is getting to share our love of the food we produce with our neighbors in need."
The Hams Across America program is dedicated to helping overcome food insecurity, especially in the rural areas where pig farmers farm and live. In November, the Oklahoma Pork Council kicked off the #GiveAHam challenge, a grassroots effort that encourages farmers to not only pay-it-forward with pork donations to their local food pantry, but also to challenge their colleagues and others in their community to do the same. This challenge was supported by a record number of participants, with more than 200 individuals and businesses contributing time, resources and pork to the nationwide effort.
In its fourth year, the Hams Across American campaign also received strong support from Smithfield Foods, Prairie Fresh® Pork and JBS USA Pork, which made significant donations to Feeding Missouri, Food Bank of the Rockies, Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and the Kansas Food Bank. In total, these companies provided more than 170,000 pounds of pork to families in need over the holiday season.
During the campaign, the National Pork Board partnered with nine YouTube creators who paid it forward with pork by donating over 25,000 servings to their communities. The YouTube campaign engaged nearly 6 million viewers.
"It was amazing to see how these creators paid it forward with pork and shared stories of pig farmers' commitments to our communities," said Newman. "Partnering with influencers to share our pork story has been an important piece of our digital strategy. This is especially important since YouTube reaches 95% of Gen Z, a demographic with whom we need to start building relationships now."
The Hams Across America campaign is a nationwide effort organized and managed by the National Pork Board, the National Pork Producers Council, state pork associations and U.S. pig farmers. For more information on pig farmers' commitment to giving back to their communities visit porkcares.org.
About the National Pork Board The National Pork Board has responsibility for Checkoff-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. Through a legislative national Pork Checkoff, pork producers invest $0.40 for each $100 value of hogs sold. Importers of pork products contribute a like amount, based on a formula. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programs in advertising, consumer information, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, science and technology, swine health, pork safety and sustainability and environmental management. For information on Checkoff-funded programs, pork producers can call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675 or check the Internet at www.pork.org.