Find the recipe for these delicious pesto pork and veggie kabobs at the bottom of this page! (Photos: Iowa Soybean Association)
Iowa soybean farmers celebrate “Meat on the Table Month”
April 28, 2021
By Darcy Maulsby, ISA Communications contributor
It started when Colorado Gov. Jared Polis declared “MeatOut Day” in March to encourage Coloradans to experience a plant-based diet. In response, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts declared “Meat on the Menu Day.”
Then Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds elevated the discussion to a whole new level by proclaiming April “Meat on the Table Month.”
“I support this proclamation 100%,” says Jeff Jorgenson (pictured on the right), a Sidney-area farmer and president of the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA). “I’m a row-crop farmer and a cattle producer, and my goal is to produce affordable, wholesome food.”
“Meat on the Table Month” honors Iowa livestock producers who provide nutritious food that feeds the state, the nation and the world. Reynolds didn’t mince words in her proclamation:
WHEREAS, producers are under constant scrutiny from ill-informed politicians and social media influencers, who diminish the brand of everyday food, mislead consumers, and disregard sound research supporting the quality and safety of animal agriculture;
WHEREAS, now, more than ever, it is imperative that agricultural leaders unite and stand up for our industry, the products, and the people who produce the meat and animal protein products that feed an ever-growing global population.
“I call upon the people of Iowa to purchase and eat pork, beef, lamb, poultry, eggs, fish, or another kind of meat from one of Iowa’s many meat and poultry processors or retailers,” says Reynolds’ proclamation.
Sometimes farmers question why ISA spends so much effort promoting the ties between Iowa livestock production and soybean production, Jorgenson says.
“This connection is obvious to farmers, but it’s not always clear to consumers,” he says. “It’s important that we keep reminding consumers about this.”
Soy feeds homegrown synergies
You might hear ISA leaders joke that “some of our biggest consumers are real pigs.” For Iowa soybean farmers, the state’s 24 million pigs are critical to their livelihood.
“As soybean farmers, we know how vital consistent demand is right here at home,” Jorgenson says. “When global trade uncertainties impact our ability to sell overseas, Iowa’s hogs remain a tried-and-true market for soybeans.”
Iowa ranks first in the nation in pork production, with more than 5,400 hog farms. Iowa’s hog herd generates quite the appetite for homegrown soybeans. In 2019, 115 million bushels of soybeans — about 23% of all Iowa soybean acres — went to swine feed consumption.
While this synergy is celebrated during October Pork Month, the roots of the soybean/livestock connection run deep throughout the year. Using natural resources responsibly, for example, is a hallmark of soybean growers and livestock farmers, as they embrace eco-friendly ways to farm.
Manure generated by livestock herds provides valuable, organic fertilizer that boosts soil health and crop’s yield potential. Jorgensen also seeds cover crops to improve soil health, control erosion and provide nutritious forage for his family’s 200-head cow-calf operation.
“As livestock and crop farmers, we look for opportunities to make things better every year,” says Jorgenson, a third-generation producer who has been farming full-time for 24 years.
Making things better also means serving people around the world. While most Iowa-grown soybeans feed livestock in Iowa, a sizeable percent are exported overseas.
“Putting meat on the table is a global focus,” Jorgenson says. “We work really hard to grow markets for Iowa-grown ag products, including soybeans, around the world.”
When Jorgenson participated in an ISA ag trade mission to Pakistan and Bangladesh in February 2020, he saw how Iowa soymeal can help those nations grow their poultry and egg industries.
“Iowa’s soybean producers want to help build a thriving animal agriculture economy in Iowa and beyond,” he says. “We’re proud to partner with the pork, poultry, aquaculture and cattle industries at home and around the world to contribute to the success of all these ag sectors. That’s how we move forward.”
Put meat on your table year-round with these delicious recipes from the Iowa Food & Family Project!