Meat cases in some Iowa grocery stores are emptying out as the closures of large pork processing plants take a toll on supplies of products like ham, bacon and pork chops.

Iowa Pork Producers Association president Greg Hora says the COVID-19 outbreaks in meatpacking facilities are creating the supply chain issues we’re already seeing in Iowa and across the country.

“The conference call that I was just on with the National Pork Board referred to a number of these supply chain problems at our local stores,” Hora says. “There’s going to be some supply chain constraints because we’re not harvesting 30- to 40-percent of the pigs in Iowa that we normally would.”

Earlier this week, President Trump signed an executive order requiring all U.S. meatpacking plants to continue operating, declaring them critical infrastructure. Until the closed plants in Iowa are all back online, pork producers are sending some of their livestock to help those who are food insecure.

“Pass The Pork is a cooperating program with Iowa Pork Producers taking some of these excess pigs and we’ve worked out cooperating programs with our local butchers throughout the state,” Hora says. “They are helping process those pigs and giving that pork to local food pantries.”

The Pass The Pork program is part of Governor Kim Reynolds’ Feeding Iowans initiative. Learn more at

(By Rob Jones, KFVD, Fort Dodge)