Bill Luckey created Nebraska Pork Cares
By Diego Flammini
A Nebraska hog farmer has created a campaign to help food banks remain stocked and help producers facing processing challenges.
Bill Luckey, who raises 740 nursery pigs and 1,400 finisher hogs in addition to operating a 2,000-head custom feeding unit and raising cash crops and cattle, started the Nebraska Pork Cares initiative.
The Columbus, Neb. producer, like many during the pandemic, found himself with hogs to process but without any opportunities because of reduced operations at packing plants.
“I had pigs that I couldn’t get into a packing plant, so I put on Facebook that I had some pigs for sale,” he told the Midwest Messenger. “Several friends and family members said they were either too far away to buy a pig from me or didn’t need meat right now. However, many of them said they’d like to pay for one and donate it to a family in need.”
As of August, the donation campaign has provided 10,000 pounds of pork to Nebraska families.
The Nebraska Pork Producers Association and the Loeffel Meat Lab at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln worked together to get the facility up and running and prepared to process hogs.
In addition, local companies donated resources to help with hog transportation and processing.
“It’s a big win for all the groups involved,” Dr. Gary Sullivan, an associate professor of meat science at the university, told the Midwest Messenger. “We were able to take animals that were going to be euthanized and do the processing here at the meat lab. The food bank was the ultimate beneficiary and we were happy to help provide the service to them. It’s an impactful amount.”
Farms.com has reached out to Luckey and industry groups for comment.