INDIANAPOLIS — Members of the Indiana State Poultry Association donated more than 25 tons, or 50,000 pounds, of Indiana poultry products for local distribution to food pantries across the state. These products will provide thousands of highly nutritious meals for Hoosiers during the holidays.

Ted McKinney, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, accepted the donation and was joined by ISPA Executive Vice President Paul Brennan, CEO John Elliott of Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana and ISPA representatives during a ceremony at the Indiana Statehouse.

Gleaners, which distributes food to hungry Hoosiers, was selected by Gov. Mike Pence to receive the poultry products displayed during the ceremony.

“For those who are struggling with food insecurity, the holiday season can be a challenging time,” McKinney said. “I commend the Indiana State Poultry Association for coming together and supporting those less fortunate. This kind of generosity is especially appreciated during the holidays and will go a long way to assist Hoosiers in need.”

This year marks the 69th ISPA poultry donation, a tradition that highlights the generosity of the association, as well as its members.

Although a larger donation is made every year during the holidays, it represents only a small portion of the total amount that the poultry industry donates statewide.

This year alone, more than 1.2 million eggs and 470 tons, or 940,000 pounds, of poultry meat and egg products were donated to Hoosier food pantries.

“While this year began with a tough challenge for the Indiana poultry industry, the swift cooperation of numerous, state, federal and local agencies allowed producers to swiftly return to the work of producing high-quality, protein-rich poultry products,” Brennan said.

“The experience made all of us realize how much we have to be thankful for. It’s in that spirit that we wanted to share a small token of our appreciation and give back to those who might need a little help this holiday season.”

Established in 1875, ISPA is one of the oldest poultry organizations in the nation, and its members are responsible for more than 95 percent of the chicken, duck, turkey and eggs produced in Indiana. The industry contributes more than $4.25 billion annually to Indiana’s economy and accounts for more than 7,000 jobs.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, Indiana nationally ranks No. 1 in duck production, No. 3 in total eggs produced and egg layers inventory and No. 4 in turkeys raised.

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