Feeding Families, Meating Needs

The North Dakota Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers have come up with a program called “Feeding Families, Meating Needs.” In essence, they are arranging for donations of livestock or wildlife (or even money to cover the processing costs!), to be processed and distributed through the Great Plains Food Bank and Community Action’s Sportmen Against Hunger. What a GREAT program!

With the deer issues that we had this spring, we are looking at changing some of our management plans. We realize we need to handle our hay differently, we need to be more proactive and we need to be creative with our solutions. And so we shall.

Step one, I’m going to promote this program fully. How many people apply for a deer license and intend only to shoot a trophy deer, not concerned about the meat, because they don’t want to go through the hassle? How many pounds of venison is wasted every year? How many families could that feed? Let’s change that!

Here’s the scoop (and pay attention, because this is important stuff!):

Livestock – If you want to donate livestock, you need to contact Ann Pollert at Community Action, Sportsmen Against Hunger, to make arrangements. Processing will be done by approved facilities, and (if donated locally) meat will be distributed back to the region it came from. To contact Ann, call (701) 232-2452 or email annp@sendcaa.org .

Wildlife – You will need to contact the nearest approved processor on the Sportsmen Against Hunger list to verify that there are funds or vouchers available to cover the processing.

Money – This whole idea won’t go far without monetary donations to cover the cost of processing. Just to give you an idea, the processing charge for deer is estimated at somewhere between $50-55, beef is generally estimated at $40 per head plus 45 cents per pound on hanging weight, and then an additional 20 cents to grind. It all adds up quickly, and monetary donations will ensure the food banks receive these meat donations.

This food drive started in April, and will run through January 13, 2012. I am urging you to consider contributing, either through your successful hunting endeavors, an animal donation, or money to cover the costs of processing.

I’m going to bringing this up from time to time, especially as the deadline nears for deer license applications in North Dakota. Instead of applying for buck only, why not apply for buck first choice, doe second? Then, if you don’t get your coveted buck tag, you can still shoot a doe, prove your hunting prowess, get some exercise and target practice in, and donate the meat to a good cause?!? Win-win all the way around! (If you’re wondering about my hunting preferences, I normally apply for a gratis tag, which allows me to shoot either buck or doe, as long as it is on our land. In the last four years, I have shot one spike buck and three does…which made some very tasty sausage!)

If you need more information, shoot me a message, or contact Katie Heger (who’s heading up the program for the NDFB Young Farmers and Ranchers). You can get a hold of Katie at skheger6@gmail.com.

And stay tuned for some other ideas that we’ve come up with. We’re not going to go down in this battle with the wildlife without a fight! 🙂