State leaders took a break from their official work, and unofficial Thanksgiving preparations, to applaud Indiana poultry producers Monday for donating nearly 100 tons — or 200,000 pounds — of poultry products to Hoosiers in need over the past year.
During a Statehouse ceremony, Gov. Eric Holcomb, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and Bruce Kettler, director of the State Department of Agriculture, thanked the state's poultry industry for sharing its bounty with food pantries across Indiana.
"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."
Indiana is one of the top poultry producing states in the country. Federal data show Indiana ranks No. 1 in duck production, No. 2 in egg production, No. 4 in turkey production, and the state also is home to high-quality broiler chicken production.
Altogether, the poultry industry is responsible for more than $12 billion in annual economic activity in Indiana and the 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 donate food to their local communities throughout the year, including an incredible 7 million eggs over the last 12 months.
"This event is a testament to the character, generosity and strength of our industry," ISPA President Becky 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."