Poultry donation

Pictured are, from left, CEO of Gleaners Food Bank John Elliott, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Gov. Eric J. Holcomb, Indiana State Poultry Association President Becky Joniskan and Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Bruce Kettler.

INDIANAPOLIS — Miller Poultry of Orland was once again part of a statewide effort to deliver literally tons of poultry products to those in need during the Thanksgiving holiday.

On Nov. 22, Gov. Eric Holcomb, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Bruce Kettler recognized the generosity of Indiana’s poultry producers at the 74th annual Indiana state poultry recognition event hosted at the Indiana Statehouse. Over the past year, Indiana poultry farmers have donated nearly 100 tons or 200,000 pounds of poultry products to Hoosiers in need.

“We will also be doing several other donations over the next month as we usually do in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio,” Kevin Diehl, chief operations officer at Miller, said.

Miller plays a significant role in helping area food pantries keep protein on tables during the holiday months.

Miller’s donations in the tri-state area last year included bagged chicken thighs, bagged chicken drumsticks, whole chickens, chicken sausage and ground chicken.

Rachel Sanborn, Miller’s director of marketing, said there were 103,620 pounds donated in Indiana, 59,220 pounds in Michigan and 14,500 pounds in Ohio.

The Indiana donation was counted in the annual donation noted by the Poultry Association.

“Indiana’s agriculture industry is making strong economic impacts across the state, nationally and across the globe and that is due in part to Hoosier poultry producers,” Holcomb said. “As we enter the holiday season, let us all recognize the contributions Hoosier farmers make in ensuring our plates are full of a variety of nutritious foods, and, of course, all of our favorite seasonal treats.”

For decades, Indiana’s poultry producers have been working to address food insecurity in their local communities by providing protein to food banks across the state. Some of the main products that were donated over the course of this year include eggs, chicken, duck and turkey.

The strength of Indiana’s poultry sector was also recognized during the ceremony as Indiana is one of the top poultry producing states in the country. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agriculture Statistics Service, Indiana ranks No. 1 in duck production, No. 2 in egg production, No. 4 in turkey production and is home to high quality broiler chicken production as well.

The poultry industry is a substantial economic driver for the state contributing more than $12 billion in total economic activity. Additionally, this sector employs more than 12,000 Hoosiers.

“Each year I look forward to celebrating and honoring the generosity of our Hoosier poultry producers,” Crouch said. “There is nothing more heartwarming than Hoosiers helping Hoosiers, especially around the holiday season.”

Indiana State Poultry Association members continually give back to their local communities throughout the year. Association President Becky Joniskan said over the last 12 months members have contributed over 7 million eggs to their local communities.

“This event is a testament to the character, generosity and strength of our industry,” Joniskan said. “I am so grateful to work alongside such exceptional poultry farmers and processors who keep the wholesomeness of their products and their responsibilities to their communities top of mind.”

Nov. 22’s ceremony marked an annual tradition that dates to the late 1940s. Organized by the Poultry Association, one of the oldest poultry organizations in the nation, it was designed to recognize the strength of Indiana’s poultry industry, as well as the annual donations made by its members, who are responsible for more than 95% of the chicken, duck, turkey and eggs produced in Indiana.

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