Iowa State Department of Animal Science teams up with Cactus Cares to donate meat to local communities

September 18, 2020

Cactus Feeders is an employee owned beef and pork production company with locations in Iowa, Texas, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Cactus Cares, the non-profit foundation of Cactus Feeders and Cactus Family Farms, is committed to feeding the world and helping those in their local communities. They provide donations of beef and pork to those in need, support local food pantries and also provide scholarships to youth.

The Meat Laboratory in the Iowa State Department of Animal Science has recently teamed up with Cactus Cares to donate meat products to food insecure Iowans across the state.

“Our partnership with Cactus Cares is a relationship that is beneficial for everyone involved. The meat science students are gaining hands on learning opportunities while processing high quality protein products for those in need through Cactus Cares’ donations. We are very humbled by the generosity of Cactus Cares and are excited to be involved,” said Matt Wenger, Program Coordinator in the ISU Meats Laboratory.

As of September 2020, there has been a grand total of 2,155 pounds of ground pork and ground beef sourced from the Iowa State Meat Lab to be donated to local food pantries in Iowa through Cactus Cares. 423 pounds of ground meat was donated to the Bethesda Food Bank that serves Story County and 1,732 pounds was donated to Linn County following the derecho storm. They are already planning an additional donation to Bethesda in October.

“We at Cactus Cares are very excited to partner with Iowa State University to help provide high quality protein to those in need within our local Iowa communities. We are particularly thrilled with this partnership as it allows us to team up with a top tier university in helping to fund both agricultural education and feeding those in need. We look forward to expanding this relationship and cannot wait to see what the future holds,” stated Shelby Padgett, Assistant Director of Cactus Cares.  

Cactus Cares also made a generous donation to the ‘Pass The Pork’ program through the Feeding Iowans Task Force to help connect Iowa pig farmers with food insecure Iowans. The meat for this program is also being processed at the Iowa State Meat Laboratory.

In addition to their support of local food pantries, Cactus Cares provides scholarships to employees and students with parents working in the Cactus businesses. They expanded their scholarship program into Iowa in 2016 and five Iowa State University students received a scholarship through this program for the 2020-2021 academic year. 

Check out the following video to learn more about several recent Iowa State scholarship recipients:

Cactus Cares boxes Cactus Cares, staff loading ground meat Cactus Cares, students packaging Cactus Cares ground pork