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Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Department of Agriculture launches resource center

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ISU Extension and Outreach
ISU Extension and Outreach
ISU Extension and Outreach reliable information about agriculture, 4H programs, food and nutrition, and family sciences. ISU Extension and Outreach has an office in Muscatine.

By Keely Coppess–Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

DES MOINES, Iowa – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has formed a Resource Coordination Center to support Iowa livestock producers affected by the COVID-19 supply chain disruptions. COVID-19 outbreaks in the workforce are causing many meat processing facilities to run below normal operating capacity. That is creating challenges for producers who are trying to convert livestock to food products.

“COVID-19 has disrupted every aspect of our lives, including our food supply chain,” said Secretary Naig: “This is creating numerous challenges for producers and forcing them to make unimaginable decisions. We want producers to know they’re not alone. We have assembled a team of people who are here to connect producers with information and resources as they work through this difficult time.”

The Department is collaborating with public and private partners to operate the RCC, including the Iowa Pork Producers Association, the Iowa Pork Industry Center and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach: “We have pulled together some of the best resources in the state to help those Iowa pig farmers working through difficult circumstances. Decisions that will be made in the coming weeks must be the solution that can work best for individual farm situations. We encourage those farmers to call in with questions or go to the website to look at the resources available,” said Mike Paustian, IPPA president and a pig farmer from Walcott.

“The creation of the RCC will allow both public and private organizations to mobilize their resources efficiently and effectively to help pork producers make well-informed decisions during this extremely difficult time,” said Jay Harmon, associate dean for extension and outreach for ISU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director for agriculture and natural resources extension and outreach at Iowa State.

Through the RCC, livestock industry experts, state agencies, and technical specialists will help producers explore every option to harvest livestock and meet the protein needs of Iowans. The RCC will also connect producers with technical resources as they work through difficult and emotional decisions, including animal welfare, euthanasia, and disposal.

Iowa livestock producers can call the RCC at 515-725-1005, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., or fill out a help form anytime at iowafarmerhelp.com.

COVID-19 has caused supply chain disruptions that are forcing producers to make emotional and stressful decisions. If producers are feeling overwhelmed, they can call the Iowa Concern Hotline at 800-447-1985 to get free, confidential support, 24/7.

About the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

Led by Secretary Mike Naig, the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship serves the rural and urban residents that call Iowa home. Through its 12 diverse bureaus, the department ensures animal health, food safety, and consumer protection. It also promotes conservation efforts to preserve our land for the next generation. Learn more at iowaagriculture.gov.

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